Sports Performance wins two national AAU 18’s championships; SPVB 18 Elite falls short

Sports Performance 18 Red defeated Southern Performance 17 National Shelbie, 25-22, 25-12, to win the 18 Club division.

Sports Performance Volleyball Club out of Aurora won two national championships at last weekend’s AAU 2019 18U Girls Nationals in Orlando, Florida.

But the big prize got away.

Sports Performance 18 Kahl (9-0) defeated Asics Munciana Quora, 25-20, 21-25, 15-11, in the title match to win the 18 Premier division, and Sports Performance 18 Red (8-0) stopped Southern Performance 17 National Shelbie, 25-22, 25-12, to win the 18 Club division.

But Sports Performance 18 Elite, the defending national champion and last year’s mythical national champion, finished in third place at 4-3, losing twice to eventual champion Legacy 18 Elite and to K2 18 Asics Iota, 34-32, 25-21.

Members of the national championship SPVB 18 Kahl team, coached by Amanda Gilb, included 5-6 junior libero Abbie Sprague of Naperville Central, 5-8 libero Alex VanWestrienen of Naperville Central, 6-foot outside hitter Ashley Zulauf of St. Francis, and 5-11 sophomore middle hitter Dominique Browder of Plainfield East.

Also, 6-1 junior outside hitter Gabriella Croll of Waubonsie Valley, 5-9 defensive specialist Jaime Samojedny of Metea Valley, 6-1 middle hitter Kristina Welter of Plainfield South, 5-11 junior setter Madeline Bourque of Yorkville, 6-foot junior outside hitter Madison Meyers of Glenbard North, and 6-foot junior setter Melissa Walden of Waubonsie Valley.

Walden and VanWestrienen were named to the all-tournament team, and Zulauf was named the tournament’s MVP.

Members of the national championship SPVB 18 Red team, coached by Kelly Stapleton, included 5-7 setter AnnaBelle Tomei of St. Francis, 5-4 junior defensive specialist Aubree Ricketts of Plainfield Central, 5-11 sophomore middle hitter Emily Day of Metea Valley, and 5-7 outside hitter Emily Holbrook of Joliet Catholic.

Also, 6-3 outside hitter Jillian Kuizenga of St. Charles North, 5-8 libero Katherine Shook of Plainfield Central, 6-foot junior middle hitter Kiley Mitchell of Oswego East, 6-foot outside hitter Maddy Boyer of Batavia, 6-foot junior setter Sarah Burau of Wheaton Warrenville South, and 5-5 libero Sarah Konovodoff of Rosary.

Shook and Tomei were named to the all-tournament team, and Holbrook was named the tournament’s MVP.

Sports Performance’s other entry in Orlando, SPVB 18 Navy, went 6-2 to finish fifth in the 18 Classic division behind all-tournament selection Kathryn Shuty, a 6-foot setter from Naperville North.

Setter McKenna Slavik of St. Charles East and 6-5 outside hitter Taylor Landfair of Plainfield Central were named to the 18 Open division all-tournament team for the Aurora-based club’s 18 Elite team, which had captured five of the last six AAU national titles prior to this year.

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