The JVA World Challenge last weekend at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky, produced a motherload of medals for the local entries, including three teams that won their respective 18s divisions.
Balance 18 won the 18 Classic division despite losing two setters to ACL injuries this season, using a former libero to set and employing a former outside hitter as a libero. Balance finished 8-1 on the weekend, defeating Monsters 18-1 (Detroit, Michigan), 25-20, 25-20, in the championship match.
Balance 18 is 5-6 libero/defensive specialist Hannah Benes (Antioch), 5-5 libero/defensive specialist Margaret Bowes (Carmel), 5-8 outside hitter Katya Flaugher (Prairie Ridge) and 5-11 middle hitter Jaclyn Poirier (Jacobs).
Also, 5-8 junior setter Emma Stowasser (Crystal Lake South), 5-7 outside hitter Haylee Yelle (Prairie Ridge), and middle blocker Mya Bajramovic, Nicole Novak and Kaylie Freeland from Cary-Grove.
Not surprisingly, Michio Chicago VBA/Illprepvb.com top-ranked Sports Performance 18 Elite (31-1) ruled the 18 Open division, going 9-0 and defeating Rockwood Thunder 18 Elite (St. Louis, Missouri), 25-12, 25-15, in the championship match.
The Aurora crew did have to weather a huge semifinal challenge from Kairos 18 Adidas (Sioux Falls, South Dakota), a team it had beaten 25-19, 25-20 on day one, escaping with a 24-26, 25-23, 17-15 victory.
SPVB 18 Elite is 6-4 outside hitter Ella Wrobel (Plainfield North),6-3 middle hitter Audrey Rome (Sandwich), 5-7 libero/defensive specialist Maya Sands (Rock Falls), 5-10 junior outside hitter Alyssa Worden (South Elgin), 5-10 setter Darby Harris (Wheaton Warrenville South).
Also, 6-0 outside hitter Gwen Wolkow (Downers Grove North), 6-1 middle hitter Kara Oxenknecht (Naperville North) and 5-3 defensive specialist/libero Brenda Reynaga (Metea Valley).
Six-foot setter Kitty Sandt (Nazareth) joined Elite from SPVB 18 Kahl for the tournament, while 5-11 junior outside hitter/opposite Paige Lauterwasser (Naperville North) was elevated from SPVB 17 Marshall.
Sports Performance, which placed 16 of 29 entries in the top nine of their respective divisions including 10 in the top five, also brought home a championship plaque in the 18 Club division where SPVB 18 White defeated Impact 18 National (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin), 19-25, 25-22, 18-16 in the final.
SPVB 18 White, which finished 7-1 for the tournament, played six three-set matches over the weekend, winning five.
SPVB 18 White is 5-8 libero/defensive specialist Allie Wuestenfeld (Joliet Catholic), 6-0 junior outside/opposite Audrey Brcka (Wheaton North), 5-9 junior outside/opposite Eva Forrest (Plainfield North) and 5-5 libero Gianna Ptaszek (Neuqua Valley) and 5-10 outside/opposite Hannah Shaw (Wheaton Academy).
Also, 5-10 middle hitter Kendra Dziubinski (St. Charles East), 5-9 outside/opposite Kylie Loquercio (Rosary), 6-0 middle hitter Lilly LeFleur (St. Viator), 5-11 setter Samantha Horn (Joliet Catholic) and 5-9 junior setter Savina Trujillo (Oswego East).
Sports Performance also produced second-place finishes in the 17 Club (SPVB 17 C-Fed) and 18 Premier (SPVB 18 Red) divisions, and third-place finishes in the 16 Classic (SPVB 16 Blue) and 18 Classic (SPVB 18 Navy) divisions.
SPVB 18 Red is 6-1 middle hitter Bella Mosquera (St. Charles East), 6-1 junior middle hitter Chloe Anderson (Romeoville), 5-10 junior setter Elizabeth Fitzgerald (Plainfield North), 5-4 junior libero/defensive specialist Elizabeth Murray (Glenbard West) and 5-8 outside/opposite Janelle Pye-Blacknard (Yorkville).
Also, 5-9 outside/opposite Lexi Mines (Joliet Catholic), 5-8 junior libero Lia Schneider (St. Charles East), 5-9 junior outside/opposite Samantha Trujillo (Oswego East), 5-9 junior setter Vivian Campbell (Oswego East) and 5-11 junior outside/opposite Lilly King (Wheaton Warrenville South).
SPVB 17 C-Fed features 5-10 outside/opposite Ashlyn Hickey (Waubonsie Valley), 5-9 outside/opposite Bryanna Jones (Neuqua Valley), 5-7 libero Chloe Austin (Oswego East), 5-11 middle hitter Hailey West (Yorkville) and 5-10 outside/opposite Livia Adams (Neuqua Valley).
Also, 5-6 outside/opposite Luka Vetaite (Naperville Central), 5-11 setter Mia Kane (Geneva), 5-5 libero/defensive specialist Savannah Tan (Metea Valley) and 5-8 middle hitter Sydney Pavlik (Plainfield North).
Finishing in fifth place for the Aurora Club were SPVB 15 Elite (15 Open division), SPVB 15 Red (15 Premier division), SPVB 16 Elite (16 Open division) and SPVB 18 CTE (18 Classic division).
Club Fusion got in on the medal action in the 18 Premier division, where Fusion 18 Silver overcame all kinds of adversity to finish third, including missing a middle hitter on day one and losing an outside hitter (Batavia’s Kyra Taylor) to injury for the rest of the weekend.
Fusion 18 Silver finished 6-3 in the tournament, losing to eventual champion Revolution PGH 18 White (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), 25-23, 25-23, in the semifinals.
“The girls showed so much grit all weekend,” said coach Henry Graack. “ Going three games against the No. 1 seed in our pool on day one when we only had six players says everything about how much fight these girls have.
“Kyra is an important part of the team, and to be ranked 18th coming into the tournament and take third place without her is a big testament to how well the girls work as a team and how mentally tough they are,” Graack added.
Fusion 18 Silver is Saige Avery, Lauren Benson, Allison Clevenger, Madison Hankins, Riley Moreno, Addison Nava, Zoe Schuberth and Kyra Taylor.
Illini Elite Volleyball Club in Bloomington produced a pair of second-place finishers – Illini Elite 17 White in the 17 Classic division, and Illini Elite 16 White in the 16 Classic division.
Illini Elite 17 White is McKenna Crawford, Matea Cunningham, Ali Davis, Joselyn Gale, Kortney Harms, Erin Henkel, Jeeya Patel, Madyson Salisbury, Avaleena Stewart and Kaitlyn Taylor.
Illini Elite 16 White features Erin Brandt, Klementine Davis, Braylynn Humphrey, Reagan Kelley, Jozey Lee, Maggye Smith, Emma Whitcomb, Kindle Williams and Emma Witte.
Illini Elite also produced a fifth-place finish in the 18 Open division, where Illini Elite 18 Cardinal won a key crossover match, 25-19, 25-22, over Capital 18 Adidas on Saturday to reach the Gold bracket.
Illini Elite 18 Cardinal was eliminated from further contention by SPVB 18 Elite, 25-18, 25-21, in the quarterfinals.
Illini Elite 18 Cardinal is 5-8 libero Colleen Hege (St. Thomas More), 5-11 setter Caroline Kerr (St. Thomas More), 6-3 middle blocker Kathryn Dean (Tuscola), 6-2 outside hitter Averie Hernandez (Normal West) and 5-7 libero Isabelle McCormick (Normal Community).
Also, 6-0 outside hitter Emma Bleecher (Tolono Unity), 5-11 opposite Valerie Nutakor (St. Teresa) and 6-1 middle blocker Sophie Zerrouki (Mahomet-Seymour).
Central Illinois also produced a couple of fifth-place finishers out of the Peoria area. CI Elite 18 Elite (Central Illinois Elite) finished fifth in the 18 Classic division, as did CI Elite 17 Elite in the 17 Classic division.
CI Elite 18 Elite features Sophie Adams, Emily Cronkhite, Chandler Fassett, Emma Langan, Gillian McDaniel, Emma Robben, Alana Robertson, Sami Schulte, Molly Warner and Ava White.
CI Elite 17 Elite is Amelia Baldoni, Dejah Foster, Teriana Jones, Cami Mcculla, Madeline Mooney, Kendra Nachtrieb, Alayna Rudebeck and Elizabeth Short.
Eich’s Volleyball Club out of Plainfield produced a ninth-place finisher in the 18 Classic division with EVC 18 Elite, which features Sophie Cato, Brooke Clanton, Taylor French, Emily Fuller, Paige Johnnic, Kylie Kany, Cailyn Miller, Jaylee Mills and Adrienne Rodriguez,
Adversity VBC’s top finishers was Adversity G16 Purple Adidas, which finished ninth in the 16 Premier division. Representing Purple were Janae Coglianese, Reilly Garrity, Marie Golden, Madeline Halter, Maggie Kachmarik, Lydia Pelen, Julia Son, Olivia Van Kooten, Jolie Vukic and Josilyn Wadas.
In addition to Fusion 18 Silver, Club Fusion also produced another winner in Fusion 16 Cardinal, which placed fifth in the 16 Classic division behind Ivy Black, Sela Illg, Gianna Jensen, Morgan Marziani-Radomski, Sydney Nielsen, Emma Pedres, Giavanna Rotger, Kyra Treanor, Veronica Urbasek and Maggie White.
Michio Chicago Volleyball Academy had three teams place fifth in their respective divisions – Michio Chicago 16 National (16 Open division), Michio Chicago 17 National (17 Open division) and Michio Chicago 17 Premier (17 Premier division).
Michio Chicago 17 National is 5-11 middle hitter Emilia Batus (Marist), 5-2 libero/defensive specialist Sophia Davidson (Marist), 5-11 outside/rightside hitter Delaney Grevengoed (Chicago Christian), 5-10 outside/rightside hitter Ryann Jasica (St. Laurence) and 5-5 setter Olivia Klapp (Mother McAuley).
Also, 6-0 middle hitter Mia Mattingly (Lincoln-Way Central), 5-8 outside hitter Mila Popovic (Marian Catholic), 5-10 outside/rightside hitter Lauren Wallace (Munster, Indiana), 5-10 middle hitter Ufuoma Oneme (Marist) and setter Katie Cusick (Andrean, Indiana).
Michio Chicago 16 National features 5-8 setter Lainey Green (Lockport), outside hitter Bri Hill (Marist), middle hitter Hannah Hosty (Marist), defensive specialist Taylor Schroer (Munster, Indiana), setter Steph Theis (Mother McAuley) and 6-1 rightside/outside hitter Ella Woltman (St. Laurence).
Also, defensive specialist Ava Fritz, 5-10 outside/rightside hitter Ava Grevengoed (Joliet West) , defensive specialist Katelyn Jones (Beecher), middle/rightside hitter Lianna Payton (Neuqua Valley) and middle hitter Julianna Valdez (Marist).
Michio Chicago 17 Premier features Carolynne Blum, Madeline Carroll, Kelley Colyer, Kendall Finley, Amber Gahse, Samantha Gorton, Brooke Haggerty, Mary Hannon, Jillian Moonan, Maeve Moonan and Mary Zielinski.
New WAVE VBC swamped many of its competitors in the 15 Classic and 15 Club divisions. New WAVE 15 Hurricane finished fifth in the 15 Classic division while New WAVE 15 Tsumani took fifth place in the 15 Club division.
New WAVE 15 Hurricane is Noemi Arredondo, Abigail Brent, Katarina Damis, Ella Gerami, Cameron Heil, Maria Iurchenko, Sylvia Masiulionis, Caitlyn Peterson, Emery Reid, Sarah Sanders and Josephine Sutor.
New WAVE 15 Tsunami features Alexandra Barcenas, Jenny Buehler, Alexandra Fedinec, Abby Gross, Alice Joergenrud, Kirsten Kirby, Hannah Loughlin, Elyssa Park, Lucy Rooney and Sarah Rutkowski.
Sky High Volleyball Club in Crystal Lake had a busy weekend with two teams finishing in the top five in their respective divisions.
Sky High Adidas 18-1 placed third in the 18 Club division behind Leanna Coleman, Kendal Crawford, Megan Grampo, Vanessa Holtz, Ella Luoma, Simona Masalskis, Milan Moore-Jones, Aspen O’Brien, Anna Taylor and Makayla Vos.
Meanwhile, Sky High Adidas 17 Elite took fifth in the 17 Open division with 6-1 outside hitter/opposite Keira Kasten (Libertyville), 5-6 libero/defensive specialist Ella Wicker (Woodstock), 5-4 setter Maggie Duyos (Huntley) and 6-2 middle blocker Tricia Kennedy (Cary-Grove).
Also, 5-8 libero Abigail Kuliga (Glenbrook South), 6-0 outside/middle hitter Allyson Panzloff (Huntley), 5-11 outside hitter Chelsea Williams (Lake Zurich), 6-2 middle blocker Avary DeBlieck (Huntley), 6-4 outside hitter Campbell Paris (Barrington), 5-5 libero Alexes Koenig (Cary-Grove) and 6-1 outside hitter/middle blocker Lillian Mueller (Genoa-Kingston).
Windy City Power League champion Sky High Adidas 18 Elite reached the Gold bracket in the 18 Open division before its tournament run was ended by CUVC 18 Premier (Carolina Union Volleyball Club, Charlotte, North Carolina).
Sky High Adidas 18 Elite is 6-0 setter Rian Baker (Fremd), 5-10 outside hitter Lauren Foerster (Westosha Central, Salem, Wis.), 5-10 outside hitter Jessica Proszenyak (Crystal Lake South), 5-10 outside hitter Makena Wesol (Dundee-Crown) and 6-0 middle hitter Claudia Wala (Fremd).
Also, 5-11 outside hitter Amanda Holsen (Stevenson), 6-0 middle blocker Maddie Moan (Woodstock), 5-4 libero Maddie Konopka (Glenbrook North) and 5-10 outside hitter/libero Amanda Cleary (Barrington).
UNO Girls 18 National finished third in the 18 Classic division behind Morgan Beaudry, Grace Carlson, Ashley Currier, Haley Currier, Taylor Graf, Carley Hood, Rachel Karceski, Carly Martin, Erica Pubentz and Mia Rodriguez.
VC United Volleyball Club in Rockford produced two fifth-place finishers in VC United 171 Elite (17 Open division) and VC United 172 Elite (17 Premier division).
VC United 171 Elite is 5-8 setter Kylie Schulze (Woodstock North), 5-11 outside hitter Lucy Arndt (Freeport Aquin), 5-2 libero Molly Littlefield (Hononegah), 6-0 middle hitter Kailey Porter (DeKalb) and 5-6 libero Abigail Schlueter (Dakota).
Also, 5-9 leftside hitter Delaney Lemay (Wauconda), 6-0 outside hitter Cordelia Kearns (Oconomowoc, Wisconsin), 6-4 middle hitter Rowan Schreiber (Madison Memorial, Wisconsin) and 6-2 middle blocker Gwen Crull (McFarland, Wisconsin).
VC United 172 Elite features Asha Billstrand, Makenzie Buss, Kirsten Fish, Isabel Floryance, Lillian Hagg, Brian Johnston, Alexis Kammerer, Sydney Kidd, Thalia Mackey and Kayla Spangler.