You could hear “Mr. Cub,” Ernie Banks, yelling down from the heavens, “Let’s play two … and while we’re at it, let’s win ‘em both.”
So Sports Performance’s top two 16s teams heeded Mr. Cub’s advice.
SPVB 16 Elite defeated top-seeded A5 Mizuno 161 Gabe (Georgia) to rule the 16 Open division and SPVB 16 C-Fed claimed the 16 Premier division title over Laguna Beach 16Q (California) Friday at the 46th AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships in Orlando, Florida.
In the 16 Open championship match against A5, SPVB 16 Elite squandered leads of 9-6 and 11-7 in the third set as the girls from Tyrone, Georgia, reeled off 6 unanswered points to take a 13-11 lead. But SPVB fought back with 3 straight points to grab a 14-13 lead.
A5 fought off three championship points – at 14-13, 15-14 and 16-15 — before the ladies from Aurora finally closed out the girls from the Peachtree Volleyball Center, 21-25, 25-22, 17-15, on a kill by 6-foot setter Breelyn Borum (Sterling).
Six-foot-2 outside hitter Emily Wilson (Joliet Catholic) led SPVB 16 Elite with 12 kills and 5 blocks. Libero Lexi Rodriguez (Sterling) had 26 digs and passed a 2.5. Five-foot-10 middle hitter Ariel Amaya (Plainfield North) had 7 blocks in the match.
“I’m so proud of this team and how we handled adversity in the championship match,” said SPVB 16 Elite coach Erik Vogt. “Emily Wilson really stepped up for us when we needed her the most.
“Our defense was unbelievable, and our fighting spirit really showed when our backs were against the wall,” Vogt added.
Wilson led SPVB 16 Elite with 29 kills in its three matches Friday. Six-foot-outside hitter Brooklyn Borum (Sterling) added 27 kills, Breelyn Borum had 50 assists and 6-1 setter Zayna Meyer (Wheaton Warrenville South) had 48 assists and 13 kills.
Other SPVB 16 Elite team members are: Abbey Clarke, a 5-6 outside/rightside hitter from Oswego East; 5-11 middle hitter Ellie Hall from Naperville North; and 5-6 libero/defensive specialist Leah Bylut from Shepard.
SVPVB 16 Elite, which finished 12-0 in the tournament, reached the championship match by defeating MiElite 16 Mizuno (Michigan), 25-17, 25-15, in the quarterfinals, and OT 16 O. Roberto (Florida), 25-20, 25-20, in the semifinals.
Elsewhere in the 16 Open championship bracket, 1st Alliance 16 Silver and Sky High Adidas 16 Black both lost in the quarterfinals early Friday. Sky High fell to A5 Mizuno 161 Gabe (Georgia), 25-22, 26-28, 15-8, while 1st Alliance was ousted by OT 16 O. Roberto (Florida), 25-16, 25-14.
1st Alliance finished 10-1, while Sky High’s tournament run ended at 8-3. The teams tied for fifth place in the final standings.
In the 16 Premier division, Sports Performance 16 C-Fed, which lost to Tri-State Elite 16 White, 17-25, 29-27, 15-8, to fall to 2-1 after Day One, completed its improbable run to the championship Friday.
SPVB 16 C-Fed defeated WD Nation 16 Adidas (Louisiana), 25-23, 25-23, and Livewire 16 Adidas (Arizona), 25-15, 23-25, 15-9, to advance to the championship match, where it defeated Laguna Beach 16Q (California), 25-12, 25-18.
SPVB 16 C-Fed finished 12-1, dropping only two sets while winning its last 10 matches.
SPVB 16 C-Fed team members are: 5-7 setter Anna Jaworski from Naperville North; 5-4 defensive specialist Caroline Hughes from Naperville Central; 6-1 middle hitter Ellie Watson from Sandburg; 5-11 middle hitter Emily Surin from Joliet Catholic; and 5-10 outside hitter Giorgia Cavalleri from Naperville Central.
Also, 5-11 libero Caroline Barnes from Benet; 5-11 outside hitter Kerrigan Candra from Plainfield Central; 5-11 outside hitter Lana Czlaplinski from Plainfield South; 5-8 defensive specialist Lluvya Barajas from Oswego East; and 5-8 outside hitter Maya Sands from Rock Falls.
In the 16 Club division, Club Fusion 16 Silver advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to Legacy 16 National (Michigan), 25-14, 25-19, while Pipeline 16 Nike was ousted in the first round of championship bracket play by VCNebraska 16 Black (Nebraska), 25-14, 28-26.
Club Fusion 16 Silver finished 10-2 in the tournament, tied for fifth place, while Pipeline 16 Nike exited at 9-2, tied for 13th.
In the 16 Classic division, Illini Elite 16 White advanced to the championship match by defeating Top Flight 16 Theta (Illinois), 25-15, 25-12, Valencianas 16u (Puerto Rico), 22-25, 25-17, 15-7, and U. San Martin (Florida), 13-25, 25-23, 15-8.
In the finals, Illini Elite defeated FarOut 16 Red (Michigan), 25-18, 17-25, 21-19, to take home the big prize to Bloomington.
Members of Illini Elite 16 White are: defensive specialist Mary Claire Coddington from Normal U-High; outside hitter Kaitlyn Dean from Olympia; outside hitter Kamryn Kearfott from Roanoke-Benson; and outside hitters Emma Buckner and Kendra Marshall from Normal Community.
Also, middle hitter Caroline Carr from Bloomington; setter Riley Owens from Tri-Valley; middle hitter Alaina Bradburn from Hartsburg-Emden; setter Olivia Pippin from Morton; and outside hitter Summer Sheley from Tri-Valley.
In the 16 Aspire division, Club 1 16 Skronkstrong and New WAVE 16 Tsunami advanced to the championship bracket where Club 1 fell to Asics Munciana Grizzlies (Indiana), 22-25, 25-23, 15-10, and New WAVE was ousted by Southern Performance 16 National Julie (Alabama), 25-17, 25-23.
At the USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana, the 15s age division got underway Friday with No. 17 seed Sky High Adidas 15 Black winning its first three matches in the USA division.
Sky High defeated 305 VBC 15 National (Florida), 25-21, 25-12, Areté 15 Navy Telos (Texas), 25-22, 25-23, and W Revolution 15 Premier (Texas), 25-22, 25-20.
“We need to continue to serve aggressively, push the ball faster for our offense to operate efficiently, and continue with high energy and high communication,” said Sky High Adidas 15 black coach Jill Rokosik.
“Even though we started off well, I do think there’s still room for improvement and for us to play the kind of game we know we can play,” she added.
Thursday, June 27
Sports Performance 16 Elite rallied from down set point in the first set to beat TPV 16 Alpha (Tennessee) and 1st Alliance 16 Silver beat A5 South 161 Jason (Georgia) in three sets Thursday to advance to the championship bracket of the 16 Open division at the 46th AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships in Orlando, Florida.
Both teams will carry 9-0 records into Friday’s championship bracket. The two Illinois teams could meet in the semifinals with top-seeded A5 South 161 Gabe looming in the upper half of the bracket.
SPVB 16 Elite advanced by defeating TPV 16 Alpha, 28-26, 25-12, Nebraska Juniors 16 Black (Nebraska), 25-10, 25-15, and Encore 16 Goldhahn (California), 25-16, 25-17.
“We had a great day as a team,” said Sports Performance 16 Elite coach Erik Vogt. “Our first contact skills are looking very clean and both (Joliet Catholic’s) Emily Wilson (20 kills) and (Sterling’s) Brooklyn Borum (21 kills) are terminating.”
Libero Lexi Rodriguez (Sterling) added 37 digs while passing a 2.65, and her Sterling teammate Breelyn Borum contributed 14 kills while hitting .375.
“We look to carry that positive momentum into Friday’s matches,” Vogt said.
1st Alliance 16 Silver will play Hive 16 Gold (Utah) in its championship bracket opener after defeating Rage Westside 16 Gabe (California), 25-22, 25-20, Lexington United 16 Adidas (Kentucky), 26-24, 27-25, and A5 South 161 Jason (Georgia), 22-25, 25-21, 15-13, in pool play Thursday.
“(Fenwick’s 6-2 junior middle hitter) Beau Vandelaan played well, and we got consistent play from our passers and other attackers,” said 1st Alliance 16 Silver assistant coach Susan Keck. “(Downers Grove North’s 5-5 junior libero) Maddi Cuchran controlled the back row for us.”
SPVB 16 Elite and 1st Alliance 16 Silver will be joined in the championship bracket by Sky High Adidas 16 Black (7-2), which defeated Club V 16 Ren Andrew (Utah), 25-17, 25-21, in a crossover match after going 1-1 in pool play Thursday.
Sky High Adidas 16 Black will play Tri State 16 Blue, a team it beat, 25-21, 22-25, 15-12, in pool play Thursday, in its championship bracket opener Friday with the winner drawing top-seeded A5 South 161 Gabe in the second round.
Elsewhere, in the 16 Premier division, Sports Performance 16 C-Fed, 5-1 after two rounds, went 3-0 in pool play Thursday by defeating Capital 16 Adidas (Wisconsin), 25-11, 25-18, Dynasty 16 Blue (Kansas), 25-22, 25-10, and ECP Storm 16 Battle (Pennsylvania), 25-16, 25-11.
SPVB 16 C-Fed then defeated OP2 16-1 (Oklahoma), 22-25, 25-21, 15-9 in the challenge round to advance to Friday’s championship bracket where it will face WD Nation 16 Adidas (Louisiana) in a quarterfinal match.
Club Fusion 16 Red, which sat at 6-0 after two days, went 2-1 in pool play Thursday, beating ECJVC 16 Black (North Carolina), 25-23, 25-23, and A5 Mizuno 162 Liang (Georgia), 18-25, 25-16, 16-14, and dropping a 25-20, 27-25 decision to Elite VBTC 16 Blue (Ohio).
Club Fusion 16 Red was then relegated to the Ruby bracket after losing a challenge match to ECJVC 16 Black, 25-16.
Also in the Premier division, Wildcat Jrs. 16 Black, which was 5-1 after the first two rounds of play, dropped all three of its pool matches Thursday to fall out of championship contention.
In the 16 Club division, Pipeline 16 Nike (9-1) advanced to Friday’s championship bracket, beating Milwaukee Sting 16 White, 25-12, 25-23, NOLA Ray/Lauren (Louisiana), 21-25, 25-17, 20-18, and ALJRS 16 National (Alabama), 25-19, 17-25, 15-10, in pool play, and ousting Inside Out 16 Mizuno Black (Michigan), 25-17, 25-19, in a challenge match.
Chicago Elite 16 Elite, 6-0 after its first two rounds, went 2-1 in pool play Thursday then defeated WI Juniors 16-1’s, 25-17, in a crossover match. However, Chicago Elite was bumped to the consolation bracket after losing a challenge match to Mizuno Northern Lights 16 Blue, 25-14, 25-21.
Sports Performance 16 Red , 6-0 after two days, went 3-0 in pool play Thursday, defeating Asics Munciana Wolfpack (Indiana), 24-26. 25-18, 15-10, Mililani 16s (Hawaii), 25-14, 25-19, and Legacy 16 Elite (California), 25-19, 25-16.
However, SPVB 16 Red was bumped into the consolation bracket after losing a challenge match to Club Fusion 16 Silver, 25-20, 25-21. Club Fusion 16 Silver (9-1) will meet A5 Mizuno 163 Stephen (Georgia) in the championship bracket Friday.
Wednesday, June 25
Sports Performance 16 Elite survived a scare from Illini Elite 16 Cardinal and 1st Alliance 16 Silver outlasted OT 16 C. Jason Wednesday during the second round of 16s age division competition at the 46th AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships in Orlando, Florida.
SPVB 16 Elite squandered a 23-19 lead in Game 1, but rallied to defeat Illini Elite, 23-25, 25-20, 15-10, in both teams’ finale of 16 Open division play Wednesday.
“Illini Elite really played well against us,” said SPVB 16 Elite coach Erik Vogt.
The win over their neighbors from Bloomington allowed SPVB 16 Elite to remain unbeaten at 6-0 heading into Thursday’s third round. Earlier Wednesday, SPVB 16 Elite defeated Tribe 16 Elite Brett (Florida), 25-18, 25-18, and Hive 16 Gold (Utah), 25-22, 25-15.
Brooklyn Borum (Sterling) led SPVB 16 Elite Wednesday with 32 kills and a 2.28 passing efficiency, while Joliet Catholic’s Emily Wilson added 17 kills and passed a 2.39.
The loss dropped Illini Elite 16 Cardinal to 2-4 overall after the Central Illinois girls went 0-3 on Wednesday.
Elsewhere in the 16 Open division, 1st Alliance 16 Silver remained perfect at 6-0 after defeating Woodlands Revolution 16 Premier (Texas), 25-17, 25-8, MiElite 16 Elite East (Michigan), 27-25, 25-12, and OT 16 C. Jason (Florida), 25-19, 17-25, 15-7.
“We achieved our goal of surviving and advancing by playing consistent volleyball,” said 1st Alliance assistant coach Susan Keck.
1st Alliance 16 Silver and SPVB 16 Elite are two of only nine teams in the field of 68 entries that are unbeaten through the first two rounds of 16 Open division play.
Meanwhile, Sky High Adidas 16 Black became one of seven teams sitting at 5-1 in the 16 Open division after dropping its second match Wednesday to Dunes 16 Black (Indiana), 25-20, 21-25, 15-13.
Elsewhere, in the 16 Premier division, Club Fusion 16 Red moved to 6-0 by defeating Kali Beach (Puerto Rico), 25-22, 29-27, CHAVC 16 Black (North Carolina), 25-21, 25-17, and Capital 16 Adidas (Wisconsin), 25-17, 25-23
SPVB 16 C-Fed bounced back Tuesday’s loss to sweep its three matches Wednesday and improve to 5-1. C-Fed defeated CRU U16 Baden (Washington), 25-11, 25-15, Pittsburgh Elite 16 Elite (Pennsylvania), 25-16, 25-23, and Revolution PGH 16 White (Pennsylvania), 25-23, 27-25.
Wildcats Jrs. 16 Black also sits at 5-1 after dropping its second match Wednesday to TCVA 16 Royal, 25-22, 15-25, 16-14. The loss was sandwiched between a pair of wins over 417 Net Results 16U (Missouri), 25-16, 25-18, and Union 16-2 Asics (Kentucky), 25-19, 22-25, 15-13.
In the 16 Club division, Sports Performance 16 Red, Chicago Elite 16 Elite and Pipeline 16 Nike all sit at 6-0 after the first two rounds of play. Pipeline 16 Nike knocked Illini Elite 16 Black (5-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten, 25-16, 20-25, 15-8.
Sports Performance 16 Red defeated 1W 16 National (Wisconsin), 25-19, 25-23, Nebraska Elite 16 Black Ice (Nebraska), 25-21, 25-18, and Pittsburgh Elite 16 Premier (Pennsylvania), 25-15, 25-15.
“We went 3-0 today, although we struggled with serve receive,” said SPVB 16 Red coach Jesse Aquino.
SPVB 16 Red was powered by outside hitters Eva Hartung from Naperville North and Daria Rodriguez from Benet, who combined for 47 kills, while middle hitter Anita Prybell from St. Charles East added 11 kills while hitting .450. Libero Katlyn Sipes from St. Francis added 36 digs.
Balance 16’s lost its finale Wednesday to Dunes 16 Teal, 25-19, 25-15, to fall to 5-1 in the tournament, while Lions 16-1 improved to 5-1 by sweeping Arsel Jose Luis 16u (Puerto Rico), Genuine 16 Elite (California) and Aftershock 16U Black (Georgia).
Sky High Adidas 16 Red, which was 2-1 after Tuesday’s pool play, lost its finale Wednesday to A5Mizuno 163 Stephen, 25-20, 20-25, 15-10, to slip to 4-2.
Tuesday, June 24
The 16s age division at the 46th AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships, the final age division to be contested, got underway Tuesday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports and Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
In the 16 Open division, Sports Performance 16 Elite, Sky High Adidas 16 Black and 1st Alliance 16 Silver all won their pools by going 3-0.
SPVB 16 Elite defeated Asics Willowbrook 16 Gold (25-17, 25-15), VA Elite 16s (25-14, 25-12) and NORCO 16 Black (25-18, 25-19).
“We had a solid start on Day 1,” said SPVB 16 Elite coach Erik Vogt. “Zayna Meyer (Wheaton Warrenville South) had a great start to the tournament with 14 kills while hitting .417 and adding 36 assists. Brooklyn Borum (Sterling) lead the team with 20 kills and hit .417.
“Overall, it was a good start,” he added. “We made some unforced mistakes that we will correct going into tomorrow’s matches.”
Sky High defeated MiElite 16 Elite East (25-16, 25-15), K2 16 Adidas (25-14, 25-11) and Tribe 16 Elite Brett (25-15, 25-19). 1st Alliance 16 Silver also won its first three matches in straight sets, defeating Temecula Viper 16-Rafu (25-15, 25-18), Club V 16 Ren Matt (26-24, 25-12) and Dunes 16 Black (29-27, 25-15).
In the 16 Club division, advancing to Wednesday’s second round with unblemished 3-0 records were SPVB 16 Red, Prime Time 16 Blue, Chicago Elite 16 Elite, Balance 16’s, Lions 16-1 and Illini Elite 16 Black.
SPVB 16 Red defeated Ethos 16 Adidas Elite (25-9, 25-19), Ho’opa Hawaii VBC 16 Black (25-11, 25-4) and Epic 16 Steve (25-20, 25-20).
“Both my outsides (Eva Hartung from Naperville North and Daria Rodriguez from Benet) hit better than .400 with 43 combined kills, and my libero (Katyln Sipes from St. Francis) passed 2.11 and had 22 digs,” said SPVB 18 Red coach Jesse Aquino.
In play already completed, SPVB 18 White went 12-0 to win the 18 Pinnacle division, defeating Redline 18 Elite, 25-20, 32-30, in the championship match June 20. Rolling Thunder 18 Blue, which lost to Redline, 25-17, 20-25, 15-6, in the semifinals, finished third.
Members of SPVB 18 White coached by Steve Justice, are graduated seniors: Elizabeth Ford, a 5-foot-7 libero from Geneva; Grace Brock, a 5-10 setter from Plainfield Central; Isabelle Todd, a 5-9 libero from Plainfield Central; and Sarah Kuchcik, a 5-9 outside hitter from Naperville North.
Also, Anita Prybell, a 6-0 junior-to-be middle hitter from St. Charles East; Darlene Zediker, a 6-0 senior middle hitter from St. Francis; Naperville Central’s 5-10 senior outside hitter Kayla Closset; Neuqua Valley’s 5-5 senior libero Lauren Conroy; and Bolingbrook’s 5-7 senior outside hitter Taylor Coley.
New WAVE 17 Tsunami, coached by Joseph Lencioni, finished second in the 17 Aspire division, falling to OT (Orlando/Tampa) 17 P. Dave, 30-28, 25-18 in the championship match played June 24.
Members of New WAVE are: Francesca Capannari, a 5-4 senior libero from IC Catholic Prep; Lea Gaetto, a 5-2 senior defensive specialist from Lemont; Jayla Hampton, a 5-8 senior rightside hitter from Downers Grove South; and Jessica Juerke, a 5-11 senior middle hitter from Downers Grove South.
Also, Nicole Komendant, a 5-7 senior outside hitter from Lemont; Montini’s 5-5 senior rightside hitter Julia Marciniak; Glenbard South’s 5-4 senior outside hitter Kathleen Millett; Tess Noonan, a 5-10 senior setter from Montini; and Allison Surowiec, a 5-7 senior outside hitter from Nazareth.
1st Alliance 17 Elite finished fifth in the 17 Aspire division.
Springfield (Illinois) Shock 17 Elite, coached by Dalton Tucker, went 11-1, losing to ETA1 17 Black out of Texas, 25-16, 25-23, in the championship match June 24 to finish second in the 17 Classic division.
Members of Shock 17 Elite include: Malena Bixby, a 5-10 junior outside hitter from New Berlin; Erin Borntreger, a 5-10 junior middle hitter from Springfield Lutheran; Mary Gegen, a 6-0 senior outside hitter from Rochester; Brooke Goldhammer, a 5-9 senior setter/opposite hitter from Riverton; and Emilie King, a 5-8 senior outside hitter from New Berlin.
Also, Cora Lee, a 5-9 senior outside hitter from New Berlin; Caroline Lendy, a 6-0 senior middle hitter from Athens; Emily Roberts, a 5-5 senior libero from Williamsville; Madi Watret, a 5-4 senior defensive specialist from Waverly; and Jayden Sortor, a 5-10 senior middle hitter from Williamsville.
D1 Elite G17 Green and SPVB 17 Pre tied for third place in the 17 Classic division, while Club Fusion 17 Crimson finished fifth.
In the 17 Club division, 1st Alliance 17 White and Club 1 17 Skronkstrong both finished fifth, while SPVB 17 C-Fed finished fifth in the 17 Premier division.
In the 15 Open division, SPVB 15 Elite and VC United 151 Elite both reached the Gold bracket quarterfinals before falling to tie for fifth place.
Club Fusion 15 Black was the highest Illinois finisher in the 15 Aspire division, going 10-2 and grabbing third place after losing to eventual champion TAV 15 Blue out of Texas in the semifinals June 24.
Members of Club Fusion 15 Black, coached by Pookie Gonzalez, are: defensive specialist Alexis Bania, middle blocker Isabelle Dlabal, outside hitter Trinity Hays, middle blocker Abbie Honkala, outside hitter Julia O’Brien, setter Aspen O’Brien, setter Emily Scholl, and outside hitter Emily Willis.