Nationals are around the corner or getting started for many of the #TINation teams down in Orlando! We know that all of our teams will compete at their highest level over their four days and represent our club well.
Just this weekend, our Elite 16 Molten (Riptide) team was featured in a preview for the 16 Premier division from PrepVolleyball.com! You can read the original article here, but we wanted to share it with everyone! Way to go, Riptide, and good luck!
The 16s division is unique for all Nationals this year because if a team were to attend both AAU and USAV Nationals, teams only have two days of rest and/or travel between the two events. So, many JVA teams are cashing in on some USAV teams not attending, and teams who play in both must make a choice. A few teams, however, are trying their hand at both tournaments. What’s eight-out-of-ten days playing high-level volleyball when you’re 16?
The 16 Premier division, which begins June 25, holds 108 teams. The schedules have not been released at the time of this article. We’ve sent out forms and e-mails, and we’ve managed to put together some of our favorites, as well as contenders, and a darkhorse.
Favorites (in alphabetical order)
A5 16-2 Scott – Self-proclaimed as “the most physical ‘2-team’ in the club,” A5’s front line houses 6-3 right-side Lucy Ferry, 6-2 outside Ali Schreiber, as well as a slew of defenders who do not quit. No. 48 A5 qualified in USA at Big South but barely missed out on an Open bid as well.
LVA 16 Elite – Possibly the No. 1 ranked team (by AES power rankings) in 16 Premier, PrepVolleyball.com has LVA as No. 51 in all of 16s. LVA has won nearly every regional tournament and finished 2nd at MEQ and 4th at Disney (16 USA). middles Mikaela Schults and Clara Flint keep the blockers guessing while Jenna McNamara and Hope Matschner hold it down on the outside. From the teams in the division, it has just one loss to Top Select 16 Elite. With LVA’s last six AAU and USAV Nationals finishing in the gold bracket, we think, why should 2018 be any different?
Tri-State Elite 16 White – Playing a mix of Open and Premier over the course of the season, TSE White has picked up wins against Open contenders KiVA 16 Red and its own “1-team,” TSE 16 Blue. Kenley Way and outside Bailey Venard lead TSE’s offense.
Asics Munciana Lycan – Lycan took first early in the season at Central Zone (16 Premier) and has finished nothing but top-10 in other JVA and Power League events.
CJV 16 Wade – Finishing 2nd at LoneStar Qualifier in 16 USA, CJV has some quality wins, such as 1-1 against Top Select and sits 1-2 against Upward Stars. Outside hitter and Virginia Tech commit Cierra Huntley will keep her team accelerated to the end.
Club Fusion 16 Red – Fusion has been competing in Open-level JVA tournaments and has done well. It will bank on its terrific ball control, as No. 63 Fusion isn’t as physical as some of the other top teams in the field. Only four players returned from the 15 Premier championship team in 2017 like libero Grace Hinchman and outside Anna Calcagno. Middles Kaileigh Ammons and Alyssa Whitney have joined to add some much-needed size.
Mintonette Sports m.62 – We hear a lot about the m.61 team’s success, and that must mean that the m.62 team is good too… yup! A 1st-place finish at both JVA Rock ‘n Rumble and Summerfest (16 Club) and 5th at Windy City (16 USA), Kassie Bowmar and Brooke Little will keep m.62’s front line in check.
MN Select 16-2 – MN Select has been playing against strong Open teams to prepare for AAUs with the goal of finishing top-20. Olivia Johnson is setting well and the pair of 6-1 middles, Lily Emlong and Kate
MVA 16 National Black – Finishing 3rd at MEQ for the bid (16 USA), MVA competed in Open for most of the season. It took 1st at the JVA MKE Jamboree and 7th at the SPVB NJC recently (16 Open).
OT 16 T. Jason – This is a super-athletic bunch with high-flying pins Cody Murray and Birdie Frierson along with steady libero Haile Gould in the back-row. Another team that has done well regionally and will be fun to watch what they can do on a bigger stage.
***Team Indiana Elite 16 Molten – After digging a hole for itself in the Mideast Power League, TI moved to the top of the pack and ended with four top-five tournament finishes. It feels like it has some momentum now heading into AAUs. With DS/liberos Lizzie Pyne and Jen Springer leading TI’s scrappy defensive way of playing, setter Katie Kirkendol gets middle Jamie Brown in the game easily. With truly half of all volleyball games played out-of-system, TI believes it’s gotten a handle on their own balance between being aggressive and staying in play. Pins Cami Kelsay, Erika Wujek, and Laine Webster will surely take a bulk of the swings over the four days.***
Top Select 16 Elite – Earned a reallocation bid to USAVs but finished all of its regional tournaments top-five, even in the Open field. It has at least one win against each team entered from the FL Region except LVA.
VA Juniors 16 Elite – This East Coast team plays with the kind of ball control a team in the Midwest typically has. That allows setter/right-side Hannah Prendergast to dish to middles Savanah Cockrill and Olivia Womble, as well as outside Yanira Lopez. If VA Jrs. can be consistent from Day 1 all the way through, they’ll have success. It has finished top-10 and second in the region.
M o t i o n VB 16 Blue – AAU champion Fusion’s only loss in 2017 was to M o t i o n. We don’t know much about them other than they will surprise even a very good team and finished 2nd at the JVA World Challenge (16 Premier) with losses to Tri-State White and MKE Sting White.
Others to Watch (not enough information)
- 1st Alliance Black
- Capital 16 Adidas
- Carolina UVC 16 Premier
- ECJVC 16 Black – Finished 3rd in 2017
- Kairos Elite 16 Adidas
- Mizuno Northern Lights 16-2
- OT 16 S. TJ – 2017 15 Premier Runner-up
- Pearland Jrs. 16 Maroon
- SPVB 16 C-Fed
- Surfside 16 PV Legends
- Topeka Impact 16-1
- Upward Stars 16 Andrew
- WD Nation 16 Adidas
- Woodlands Revolution 16 Premier
Who Makes it to Gold?
My top-8: A5, CJV, LVA, M o t i o n, MVA, SPVB, Surfside, and Tri-State.
Are some of the top teams reserving their energy at AAUs before heading to USAVs? You just can’t if you want to win 16 Premier. I choose Tri-Stateto defeat the top-seed, LVA in the final.