The 17 Open division at AAU Volleyball Nationals 2018 starts is just a few days away! The pools are set and play will begin bright and early on Thursday morning down in Orlando. PrepVolleyball.com wrote an article previewing the 17 Open division featuring our Elite 17 team, picking them to make it out of their pool on day one and to continue on the path toward a championship. You can read the original article here.
AAU Nationals 17 Open affords 54 teams to compete for the final gold medal! Well, it’s the final for some. For others, they have the opportunity to compete for two medals within just over a week of each event, from the South to the North, in Orlando and then Detroit.
The seeding committee for AAU Nationals bases each team’s seed and resulting pools on the following: results throughout the year; results against other teams in the field; AES national ranking engine (“power rankings”); final standing at the previous year’s National Championship; and seeding information submitted to AAU. Of course, we should always say that we don’t root for or against any teams. I love that anything can happen come Nationals time and should you prove me wrong, I’ll be happy for your team. The first serve in 17 Open is on June 21, so let’s get to it!
The dish: Top Select coach Blake Rawlins already has one National Championship under his belt this year in 18s. His 17s have won two qualifiers and came in second in the other it competed in. Setter Naomi Cabello spreads a fast offense and libero Mallory Downing heads up the backrow known for its discipline and strong serving. Its only losses to a team at AAUs is A5 and a 3-1 record against intra-state rival OT Danny. Top Select is physical with Lauren Davis able to attack from both pins and Cabello adjusting her offense to save arms for both National events. Outsides Rebekah Rath and high-flying Rajina Fitzmaurice ask for the ball fast outside while Burgandy Walters targets her blocking assignments.
TI Elite is 95% healthy with plenty of depth on its 12-team roster. Good thing because TI has had interchangeable players on the disabled list all season. If TI can stay fresh, it will have a fighting chance with liberos Lauren Latka and Anna Murphy playing determined defense and Reagan Hopp and Megan Sheridan swinging.
Who advances? Top Select is rolling, so they’ll convincingly take the pool. TI will struggle because of consistency in lineup but get the job done to take second, followed by Rogue.
Good luck to our Elite 17s team as they get started! Make sure you follow along with #TINationals2018, send us pics and updates, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter!