Though Morgan Hentz hasn’t ripped a kill, made a block, nor even served a single ball, she simply may be the Most Invaluable Participant via the primary three weeks of Athletes Limitless’s volleyball season.
Hentz unquestionably has been the largest winner, undefeated in her 9 matches, victorious in 24 out of 27 units.
After going 3-0 within the opening week as a member of captain Leah Edmond’s squad, the 5-foot-9 libero is 6-0 because the captain of her personal groups throughout Weeks 2 and three of competitors at Legacy Park in Mesa, Arizona.
Hentz not solely has been the inspirational flooring chief for her squads, she has proved to be an impeccable choose of expertise in AU’s weekly drafts. Standing at No. 2 on the leaderboard, due in no small half to the league-best 1,500 “win factors” accrued by her groups, the previous Stanford All-American will get a 3rd alternative to reveal her captain’s acumen this week.
The opposite captains choosing in Week 4’s draft on Tuesday shall be Leah Edmond, Alli Linnehan and Sydney Hilley.
The exclamation level to Group Hentz’s dominating Week 3, throughout which it took eight of 9 units, got here within the finale on Monday night time when it walloped Group Edmond in a showdown between squads that had gained their first two matches. Hentz’s bunch put Edmond’s shellshocked crew within the rear-view mirror by double digits after a near-flawless opening set, and one other hitting-on-all-cylinders stanza made the margin 25 factors on the finish of two. The 75-47 mixture victory (25-14, 25-11, 25-22) was wrapped up with the primary level Group Hentz notched within the third set and marked the second-fewest factors allowed in AU historical past.
With an epic efficiency on Monday night time, center hitter Molly McCage punctuated a massively productive week that noticed her soar to No. 6 within the standings. The 6-foot-3 veteran hit .823 (that’s not a typo) with a career-high 14 kills on 17 errorless swings, and chipped in two solo blocks, a few block assists and 4 digs for good measure. McCage, 29, was voted the match’s first MVP, which got here on the heels of one other MVP1 on Sunday and an MVP3 on Friday.
Outdoors hitter Linnehan was the second MVP on Monday after cracking 14 kills on 33 swings with zero errors. She additionally was MVP 2 on Sunday. Linnehan’s 500 “win factors” (60 for every mixture victory and 40 for claiming eight of 9 units), 437 “stat factors” and 80 “MVP factors” moved her No. 3 within the standings and a captain’s spot for the second time in 4 weeks.
“There’s a lot belief on this courtroom,” McCage mentioned on Sunday after Group Hentz dropped a nip-and-tuck first set, however stepped up within the final two to high Group Rosenthal (75-60 mixture, 23-25, 25-15, 25-20). “At any time when a mistake occurs, it simply rolls off as a result of we’ve got confidence in one another.”
McCage lavished credit score on captain Hentz, who had 32 digs and 9 assists over three matches, which solely scratched the floor of her total contributions.
“One, Morgan is an incredible athlete,” Molly mentioned. “You’ve seen her dig, you’ve seen her play. Two, she overcommunicates on everyone’s job. All people’s place, she’s ready for it. She prepares so properly. She’s a pupil of the sport. Her management exudes on the courtroom and she or he’s great to play with.”
Added setter Taylor Bruns Tegenrot, who was used situationally as a blocking sub for the smaller Nootsara Tomkom: “Morgan leads so properly. She has such a relaxed confidence and it’s contagious.”
McCage, Linnehan and center hitter Ali Bastianelli persistently feasted on the choices from slick veteran Tomkom. The middles have been notably efficient — McCabe hit .588 in three matches, Bastianelli .400 — and that set the desk for the pins.
“My favourite factor to do is be up by way of each single ball in transition, as a result of that (may give Linnehan) a no-block,” McCabe mentioned on Sunday. “What number of instances did Alli have a no block (scenario) tonight? That fuels my soul. So whether or not I’m getting set or not, it provides that choice for our outdoors hitter.”
In a sweep (75-55 total, 25-19, 25-21, 25-15) on Friday by Group Hentz over Group Hilley, Bastianelli hit .500 (6-for-12 with no errors), and was credited with six blocks and three digs. The previous Illinois star supplied perception on why she and Tomkom clicked so successfully.
“That is our seventh week collectively between our final two seasons in AU, so it appears our connection is barely getting stronger,” Bastianelli mentioned.
Till it ran right into a buzzsaw in Group Hentz on Monday, Group Edmond had a enjoyable week. Edmond regained the No. 1 spot on the leaderboard by including 877 factors, together with 537 particular person stat factors. She was MVP1 of her crew’s 72-60 victory (22-25, 25-15, 25-20) over Group Hilley on Sunday, compiling 18 kills on .454 hitting with 10 digs.
Veteran center Tori Dixon loomed giant on the internet for Group Edmond throughout a extremely aggressive victory (71-68 mixture, 25-22, 21-25, 25-21) over Group Hilley on Friday. Dixon was accorded MVP1 honors after posting a career-high 5 blocks, three coming at key moments of the decisive third set.
“Our crew is well-rounded at each place,” setter Natalia Valentin-Anderson mentioned on Sunday after quarterbacking the “W” for Edmond’s crew and digging 15 balls. “The ladies got here able to play and have been aggressive. It makes it straightforward for the setter when all of your hitters are in time, all of them need the ball, they usually’re all assured and aggressive.”
Within the opener on Monday, Group Hilley went to 1-2 on the week with a 72-59 victory (25-20, 22-25, 25-14) over Group Rosenthal, which fell to 0-3. In her first vital taking part in time since Week 1, rookie center hitter Karis Watson was a difference-maker for Hilley’s squad with eight kills on .428 effectivity, two blocks and a block help.
“We’ve been Jonesin’ for a win, and we’ve had a variety of controversy this week, so it felt actually good to lastly come collectively and gel. We had nice power on the courtroom,” mentioned Watson, a former Clemson standout.
Getting the decision when Danielle Hart (concussion signs) was unavailable, Watson wound up being voted MVP2.
“All people on the bench here’s a star participant, so it’s only a matter of contributing how I can after I can when my time comes,” she mentioned. “I attempt to put together the identical approach each time regardless.”
Looking forward to the draft on Tuesday, famous person outdoors hitter Bethania De La Cruz is eligible to be chosen. She was gone for Week 3 after being recalled by the Dominican Republic’s nationwide crew for the Pan American Video games and won’t be accessible for the upcoming match on Friday.