SPVB B16 Elite, 630 17-1 roll; wheels come off others at JVA Showdown in Motown

Plagued by injuries and inconsistency, SPVB B18 Elite and setter Trevor Powell (far right) finished fourth at the JVA Showdown in Motown last weekend. (Photo by Dave Ruggles)

Detroit, Michigan – When everyone does their job, good things happen.

SPVB B16 Elite crushed the 16 Open field at the JVA Showdown in Motown at Huntington Place (formerly the TCF Center) in Detroit, Michigan last weekend, wrapping up a near-perfect effort with a 25-19, 25-16 victory over HPSTL B16 Royal in the championship match.

“The guys did a much better job of understanding that there’s a job to do on every point and everybody has an assignment,” said SPVB B16 Elite coach Stephen Hewitt. “They figured out what opponents were trying to do, and then they stayed disciplined.

“Before, we were just playing with opponents,” he added. “This weekend, we focused on doing a job. We definitely did a better job of looking at the other side, figuring out what they were going to do, and applying pressure point by point, every point.”

SPVB B16 Elite did not drop a set while defeating Durham Attack Venom (Whitby, Ontario, Canada), 25-14, 25-21; Cinci Attack 16 Red (Ohio), 25-11, 25-15; A2 16 Red (Lewis Center, Ohio), 25-22, 25-15; Adversity 16 Adidas, 25-17, 25-17; and finally HPSTL B16 Royal (St. Louis).  

Hewitt said his team’s three pin hitters – 6-6 Jack Mally (Geneva), 6-4 Jake Schreiner (Wheaton North) and 6-7 opposite Kaden Saurer (Elgin Academy) – were instrumental in his team’s success.  

“The big key was that we had three pins who were constantly pulling pressure away from one another,” he said. “All three pins were terminating at a really, really high rate.

“As soon as opponents tried to focus on one guy, another would start firing from the back row or from the other pin. They did a really, really good job of making it hard for opponents to focus on any one hitter.”

Rounding out the SPVB B16 Elite (5-0, 21-5 overall) roster are 6-6 middle hitter Christopher Mactal (Plainfield North), 6-4 middle hitter Eric Lu (Waubonsie Valley), 6-4 middle hitter Harrison Moran (Oswego East), 5-7 libero Jordan Tan (Downers Grove South).

Also, 6-4 setter Kyle Zediker (St. Francis), 5-10 libero/defensive specialist Nathan Stone (Plainfield East) and 6-0 backup setter Zachary Brown (York).    

“We tried out a lot of things at the Point Series (this fall at Wintrust Sports Complex in Bedford Park),” Hewitt said. “We experimented with different things, tested some different lineups, different rotations, trying to see what sort of tempo we could run.

“The series was really good for us,” he added.

Also in the 16 Open division, MOD Elite B16 Blue defeated Adversity 16 Adidas, 25-20, 25-15, for third place, and 630 Volleyball 16-1 defeated Phoenix 16 Gold, 16-25, 25-23, 15-11, for fifth place.

MOD Elite B16 Blue is Kristofer Blumberg, Nathan Chi, Mathew Enksaikhan, Munkh-Orgil Enksaikhan, Jaki Erdene, Stefans Kins, Alex Ford, Dillon Malow-Williams, Hudson Nachtwey, Benjamin Trapp and David Wolff.

The roster for Adversity B16 Adidas features Max Adkisson, Sarthak Agrawal, Justin Arrowood, Ethan Blakeslee, Quinn Bozarth, Anthony Kim, Gavin Rohlwing, Erik Stover and Franklin Zoloto.

Injuries and inconsistency made for an unpleasant weekend for 18 Open division No. 1 seed SPVB B18 Elite (2-3, 16-9 overall), which lost its final three matches of the weekend but still topped all Illinois entries with a fourth-place finish.

After opening with wins over HPSTL B18 Orange (25-16, 25-20) and Academy 18 Adidas (22-25, 25-14, 15-11), the locals lost to Vegas United B18 Navy (26-24, 28-26), Niagara Frontier 17 Gold (17-25, 25-16, 15-13) and HPSTL B18 Royal (25-19, 12-25, 15-8).

“We struggled quite a bit in a bunch of different areas,” said SPVB B18 Elite coach Troy Gilb. “We didn’t play at a consistently high level. When we hit well, our serving wasn’t good. When we served and blocked well, we didn’t hit well.

“We’ve just got to find that level of consistency in order to get better finishes,” he added. “We make errors at crucial times. Right now, we’re a high error team. That’s something we’ve got to get corrected.”

SPVB B18 Elite was also dealing with injuries to two key players – 6-7 middle hitter AJ Robateau (Oak Park-River Forest) and 6-6 opposite Matthew Molnar (Downers Grove South) – forcing Gilb to juggle his lineup.

Robateau has been bothered by nagging back tightness while Molnar suffered an ankle sprain in SPVB B18 Elite’s second match and sat the rest of the weekend.

“AJ has been doing some rehab and we’re taking a break now before the Winter Volleyball Championships (at McCormick Place in January), so Matt should be ready to go by then,” Gilb said.

“We’ve been going pretty hard since September, so it will be good to take some time off before we go back into the gym and start training again.”

Also in the 18 Open division, 630 Volleyball 18-1 (4-1) lost to Niagara Frontier in a Gold bracket quarterfinal and finished fifth, SPVB B18 Lenny (3-2) took sixth and MOD Elite B18 Blue (4-2) finished eighth.

Adversity 18 Adidas (4-1), which had been seeded fifth entering the tournament, lost to SPVB B18 Lenny, 25-20, 25-23, in pool play on Saturday and finished seventh.  

“Lenny played well this weekend,” Gilb said. “Probably the best I’ve seen them play this season.”

In the 17 Open division, top-seeded 630 Volleyball 17-1 (5-0, 22-4) defeated No. 6 Cinci Attack 17 Black, 25-21, 25-19, to win the championship. 630 reached the title match by getting by No. 5 HPSTL B17 Royal, 25-22, 19-25, 15-13, in the semifinal round.

630 Volleyball 17-1 is Aidan Cupps (Plainfield North), Ethan Du (Hinsdale Central), Nathan Grutza (Plainfield East), Mason Kolar, Jakobi Lange (Hinsdale Central), Sam Levinson (Lyons), Parker Moorhead (Glenbard West) and Peter Zurawski (Oak Park-River Forest).