That is “Dots,” VolleyballMag.com’s weekly take a look at 10 issues in membership volleyball, previous or current, that curiosity me and hopefully will curiosity you. Search for Dots each Tuesday by way of Junior Nationals this summer time.
• We open at the moment’s Dots with tragic information.
The horrific mass slaying of seven members of the family in Joliet, Illinois on January 21 claimed a member of our volleyball household.
Alonnah Nance, a 16-year-old excessive schooler from Joliet West HS, was among the many victims of the crime allegedly perpetrated by her older brother.
The killing spree additionally took the lives of Alonnah’s two sisters, a brother, her mom and aunt and uncle. The suspect, Romeo Nance, shot himself to loss of life at some point later after being confronted by police in Texas.
Alonnah was a member this season of the UNO Volleyball Membership, a distinguished membership located in Chicago’s West Suburbs.
“Alonnah was the epitome of perseverance,” UNO membership director Terri Baranski informed Phil Brozinski of IllPrepVB.com. “She was an exceptional teammate and labored so onerous for every thing, not simply in volleyball.”
UNO additionally launched this assertion on its Instagram account:
“Phrases can not start to precise the ache and sorrow our Uno household is feeling after studying of the tragic passing of considered one of our personal, Uno Women 16 Elite participant Alonnah Nance.
Whereas it’s unimaginable to grasp how one thing like this might occur and painful to enter the fitness center figuring out she gained’t be there, not a day will go by the place we gained’t honor her, play for her, and discover the love and pleasure within the recreation like she did. Alonnah’s ardour, genuineness and spirit will reside on and she’s going to certainly by no means be forgotten. We play for you #31 and miss you greater than you might ever know.”
Relaxation in peace, Alonnah, however might your presence and spirit be felt by those that knew and beloved you for all of the years to return.
• There have been two nationwide qualifiers final weekend, one for 18s in Ft. Lauderdale and one for 15s, 17s and 18s in Minneapolis.
We begin first with Florida Fest and the 18 Open division, which noticed Triangle 18 Black, Madfrog 18’s Nationwide Inexperienced and Mintonette m.81 punch their Open tickets to Baltimore.
Triangle’s run to the title included a revenge win over Metro 18 Journey in Gold pool play, Gold play wins over two previously-qualified groups, Rockwood Thunder 18 Elite and OT 18 O Roberto, and a finals sweep of Madfrog.
“Florida Fest was an incredible alternative for our staff to compete for a bid and win a qualifier,” mentioned Triangle coach Tonya Holmes. “Our motto for the weekend rapidly grew to become. ‘Hold going,’ in each scenario. Being seeded fourth in our Gold pool on Championship Day solely fueled our will to remain locked in.”
The staff from North Carolina’s Analysis Triangle obtained excellent play from setter Avery Scoggins. She pursued each ball together with her arms and gave 18 Black an opportunity to remain aggressive on the web. RS Ryan Hunter, a junior dedicated to Nebraska, was a distinction maker on a pin. The staff additionally acquired sparks on the offensive and defensive finish from Ashlyn Philpot within the center and each Asia Thigpen and Laynie Smith used their explosive arms to threaten the protection.
“It was actually a staff win, pushing by way of and trusting each other to easily preserve the ball off the bottom on protection and make the sensible play within the huge second!” Holmes mentioned. “I’m so happy with these ladies actually urgent the difficulty all weekend and grinding their strategy to a first- place end.”
• Madfrog was undefeated earlier than the championship match however confirmed nice resilience by profitable 4 of its closing 5 matches earlier than the ultimate in three units.
The weekend earlier than, at Lone Star, Nicky Bramschreiber’s squad discovered itself on the unsuitable finish of a Day 2, three-way 2-1 tie.
“Madfrog 18 Nationwide Inexperienced earned the bid to Nationals as a result of they didn’t desire a repeat of the weekend earlier than at Lone Star,” Bramschreiber mentioned. “The staff was very motivated to depart with the bid. I believe we improved our serve obtain recreation and concerned our middles extra offensively, which allowed for extra one-on-one conditions for the pins. I additionally suppose we utilized extra stress in our serving recreation and with out-of-system play. We didn’t take sufficient dangers and performed it protected at Lone Star, whereas this weekend the ladies had been taking greater swings and trusting their teammates. Nice staff efficiency, tremendous happy with their composure.”
Mintonette snagged the third and closing bid by being on the correct finish of a three-way 1-2 tie for second in considered one of Sunday’s Gold swimming pools. The Ohio squad started its run in Ft. Lauderdale with seven straight sweeps, then misplaced consecutive Gold pool matches to OT 18 T Tony and the Frogs. However due to Mintonette’s dominating sweep of Tribe 18 Cardinal and lengthening OT and Madfrog to 3 of their losses, m.81 was in a position to come out of Gold Pool 1 second. The third-place match for the ultimate bid was pointless as a result of Rockwood already had a bid and the bid would have trickled to Mintonette even within the occasion of a loss.
Mintonette didn’t touch upon its achievement in Florida earlier than we posted.
• Different qualifiers at Florida Fest included A5 18-1 Boba, TVA 18 Smack Katie and Rockwood Thunder 18 Navy within the 18 USA division, MAVS 18-2 and Gainesville Juniors 18 Bailey within the 18 Liberty division and Ocala Energy United 17/18 Adidas within the 18 American division.
OPU, led by our previous good friend, Jeff Reavis, was unbeaten heading into the 18 American closing, however needed to regroup after dropping its first set of the event to Downstate 18 Black within the championship match. Ocala rallied to dominate the subsequent two units to seize the division’s lone bid.
“We now have a staff with excellent ball management and protection and gained the serve and go battle loads,” Reavis famous. “We’re on the small facet however very quick and athletic. We now have nice opponents who know the right way to win. It was enjoyable to observe them compete and play at a excessive stage persistently.”
• In Minneapolis, Northern Lights held a nationwide qualifier final weekend for 17s and 18s, because it has the final weekend in January for a couple of years now. However it additionally performed, for the primary time, a January qualifier within the 15s divisions. This, despite the fact that the event they had been qualifying for remained greater than 5 months away.
Within the 20-team 15 Open division, two certified: Nebraska Elite 151 and Houston Skyline 15 Royal. Each misplaced twice over the three-day event, however did sufficient to achieve the championship match and earn bids.
“I used to be proud to see how resilient our staff was,” mentioned Nebraska Elite coach Dr. Andrew Wehrli. “We began sluggish in a number of matches however fought again and completed matches towards some nice groups!”
Standouts for the victors included OH Kayla Brown, setter Kherington Snider and OH Nora Herian. Herian, who stands 6-1, had 83 kills within the event is a future big-time recruit.
Houston Skyline began off 5-0, then gained robust Gold Pool matches on Sunday towards KC Energy 15-1 and Peak 15 Black Bryar, from Fort Value; to achieve the championship match.
“15 Royal got here able to go and took care of enterprise each Day 1 and Day 2, with strong contributions from just about everybody on the staff,” mentioned coach Amy Burk. “We sided out at a excessive stage, utilized stress from the service line, and attacked aggressively.”
The staff performed its finest throughout Sunday’s Gold swimming pools, led by setter Tinsley Welker distributing the ball extraordinarily nicely, lefty RS Aspen Brown attacking with nice effectivity, OH Jordan Morrow exhibiting off her heavy arm and middles Arayah Watson, Jacey Carroll and Gracie Hobin getting concerned in transition. Skyline additionally had very strong defensive play from Pearson Noone and Caylee Younger.
“General, I’m extraordinarily happy with the efforts and modifications our staff made at a excessive stage this early within the yr,” Burk mentioned. “We’re undoubtedly a staff to observe and can solely go up from right here, particularly with a bid in our again pocket!”
Word: PVA 15 Elite cut up matches with Nebraska Elite and defeated Houston Skyline, nevertheless it misplaced two different instances, together with to Kairos 15 Alpha on Day 3 to knock itself from bid place.
• Within the membership divisions, Premier Nebraska 15 Black, OK Cost 15 UA and Arete Navy 15 Telos captured bids in 15 USA, Iowa Energy Plex 15U Henkleman and MAVS KC 15-1 took dwelling bids in 15 Liberty and MN North 15-1 Navy snagged the lone 15 American bid. Kairos 15 Gamma went undefeated to win the division, however declined the bid as a result of the membership didn’t need to be taking part in in mid-July. It should attend AAU Nationals as a substitute.
Premier Nebraska dropped one match on every of the primary two days in 15 USA, however went 3-0 when it mattered most to take dwelling the trophy.
“I want I might pinpoint what we did nicely, nevertheless it was actually every thing,” mentioned coach Josh Adams, who coached a qualifier winner for the primary time. “Every recreation had totally different line ups to go nose to nose with groups who confirmed totally different strengths. The ladies purchased into our recreation plans, and proved they will every present up when known as upon. All 11 athletes performed in each recreation, contributed in numerous methods to took what was theirs.”
“Our motto all weekend was ‘our recreation, our bid.’” Adams added. “After we secured the bid, we determined… ‘our recreation our gold ball’ had a cute ring to it.
We noticed lots of nice competitors over the weekend, even misplaced 2 video games, however what acquired us to the rostrum with gold medals round our necks was that we had been essentially the most balanced and disciplined staff on that court docket.”
Within the finals, OK Cost had two huge hitters that Adams known as, “frankly unstoppable.”
“They confirmed off within the heat up crushing 10 foot line after 10 foot line, actually placing dents into the ground,” Adams defined. “We huddled up, regrouped, and I defined to them, win or lose, we’re right here for one another, with one another. That sure they could be greater, sure they could hit tougher, and sure they could shock us with some explosive kills, however the staff that’s going to win this, is the staff that stays collectively. By means of the great, the unhealthy, and the ugly. The staff that places their coronary heart on the road, and performs for the group round them, is the staff that may prevail.”
Premier Nebraska gained as a result of it served robust to get Cost out of system and stayed in system itself and was in a position to benefit from its attacking prowess from all factors on the court docket.
“In huge moments, good groups have huge gamers step up,” Adams mentioned. “However right here with Premier 15 Black, we had the most important TEAM step up.”
• As this was Premier Nebraska’s first journey tourney, the staff tried to get to know its coach higher by asking him what he did for enjoyable exterior of teaching. He informed them “underwater basket weaving,” that well-known school course all of the jocks took within the ‘80s and ‘90s.
“Most of them believed me,” Adams mentioned. “I’m fairly convincing. I informed them if we met on the pool I’d present them. Effectively none of them confirmed up as we had been all busy, so a mother ran to Goal and picked me up a basket. I introduced it the subsequent day to indicate off my superb expertise. Crammed with goodies and snacks, they nonetheless suppose my secret expertise is weaving baskets beneath water!”
• Houston Skyline 17 Royal led the best way within the 36-team 17 Open division, with ID Crush 17 Bower and Milwaukee Sting 17 Gold additionally incomes Open bids.
Skyline misplaced to Sting on Day 2, however rallied from behind to win the rematch within the semifinals, then outpointed Crush, 25-19, 25-19, for the title.
Houston Skyline got here to Northern Lights aiming to grasp the primary contact, each passing and from the service line; and to be a robust defensive staff, combining getting touches on the web and good protection to increase rallies and provides setter Kassie O’Brien choices again and again.
The Day 2 loss to Sting motivated Skyline, coach Alex Edwards mentioned, as a result of it knew the robust highway that lay forward.
Houston Skyline began off Sunday with a detailed sweep of the general prime seed, 1st Alliance 17 Gold. After defeating Membership V 17 Ren Reed to clinch a spot within the semifinals, Houston Skyline secured its bid by taking out Sting in a “redemption match.”
“These two matches [Alliance and Sting] pushed us to that subsequent stage of play, leading to us being in system and dominate offensively towards a bodily Idaho Crush staff,” Edwards mentioned.
O’Brien, a Kentucky recruit, managed the offense from begin to end for the victors. She led a dynamic offense that noticed OH Bailey Warren and middles Bayleigh Minor and MacKenzie Collins flourish. Rebekah Pfefferkorn and Ella Lewis had been nice complementary gamers on the offensive finish, whereas libero Morgan Madison did a pleasant job patrolling the again row.
“Reflecting on the entire weekend, Houston Skyline 17 Royal progressively continued to enhance within the particulars and facets we have now been specializing in within the fitness center,” Edwards defined. “The staff has all the time impressed me with their work ethic and want to win, however I used to be most impressed with our execution of our recreation plan on Day 3.”
Milwaukee Sting was seeded tenth beginning the event and completed in bid place, making for a enjoyable weekend for Coach Alex Wagner and her staff, which gave a most group effort.
Powerful but constant serving, a disciplined block and scrappy defenders contributed mightily to the trigger.
“We now have three excellent liberos, Olivia Durst (MSU commit), Kati Berezowitz (Vanderbilt commit), and Natalie Powers (who somebody wants to select up rapidly),” Wagner mentioned. “I’ve all of them in so long as my substitutions enable. Balls weren’t hitting the ground whether or not they had been huge swings or cagey pictures. They stole factors from hitters and allowed our hitters extra alternatives to attain.”
OH Madison Quest, one of many elite gamers within the 2025 class, benefited by the again row by pounding in-system units in addition to manufactured kills entrance row and again.
ID Crush didn’t touch upon its achievement in Minnesota earlier than we posted. Different 17s qualifiers included Jacksonville Skyline 17 Royal, Iowa Energy Plex 17U Mendieta and PVA 17 Elite in 17 USA, Puget Sound 17 Legacy and Colorado Springs Altitude 17 Navy in 17 Liberty and Northern Lights 17-R in 17 American.
• The 17-team 18 Open area featured previously-qualified groups KC Energy 181 and Premier Nebraska 18 Gold. Energy, winners on the KC MLK qualifier, gained once more, regardless of dropping one match on every of the primary two days.
“This qualifier was tougher for a few causes,” mentioned Energy head coach Dave Johnson. “We had been a participant brief this weekend, with Rachel Van Gorp at dwelling sick. We needed to shuffle our line up a bit bit, which is horrifying typically. These girls dealt with it splendidly. Janelle Inexperienced and Mya Bolton had been on level with ball management and distribution, We moved Jillian Huckabey (FIU) to the left this event and she or he was extraordinarily terminal all weekend. Zoe McDonald (Butler) spent many of the weekend in addition to Tatum Tindle (Kansas State) on the correct. Alea Goolsby (Iowa State ‘25) continues to grasp her craft as an elite 6-rotation hitter. Our middles, Cy Rae Campbell and Julia Headley did an excellent job transitioning and getting concerned, however they had been actually good at policing the web. Felicia Wu (NYU) got here up huge behind the stripe for us quite a few instances all through the weekend.
“These younger girls actually take pleasure in taking part in collectively which could be very obvious after they take the ground collectively. I’m humbled by the eagerness and willpower each apply. It has been one hell of a journey to date this season.”
A5 18-Marc and Milwaukee Sting 18 Gold certified on Saturday by going 2-1 of their respective Day 2 swimming pools to qualify for Sunday’s four-team Gold Pool with two already-qualified groups.
The journey was something however simple for second-place finisher A5.
“It was mainly a survive and advance mindset and battling in every match with 5 of our 9 matches going to 3 units,” mentioned coach Marc Jones.
A5 gained its pool on Day 1, regardless of a three-way tie for first. The .09 share benefit in factors proved the tiebreaker distinction. KC Energy, defeating VC Nebraska 18 Elite, 16-14, in a tiebreaking set to remain alive.
A5 was paced by setters Isa Boyd and Cooper Abney, OH Hannah Benjamin, libero Maddie Burrough and MB Courtney Graham.
Sting certified third, getting robust play from 6-4 center Olivia Wyma and 6-0 RS Sophia Wendick. Longtime 18 Gold head coach Scott Blackmon known as Wendlick the most effective proper facet attacker and blocker he’s ever had and mentioned that Wyma, in comparison with final yr, “is simply totally different this season.”
“She has labored actually onerous at merely being higher,” Blackmon added.
The staff as an entire misplaced solely to KC Energy earlier than securing its bid.
“We’re battling hitting that energy button and leaving it on all day,” Blackmon mentioned. “The children stepped up this weekend after they wanted to.”
The ultimate Open bid went to MN Choose 18-1. It was an unconventional run. Choose, which narrowly missed qualifying in Kansas Metropolis, went 4-0 in its Day 1 pool, however solely 1-2 on Day 2. The staff wanted a Silver Bracket run on Sunday to seize that closing bid, of the trickle down selection, and acquired previous VC United 181 Elite and FC Elite 18 Elite to get it achieved.
“We’re very happy with the gritty effort this staff displayed all weekend,” mentioned Choose assistant coach Phong Luong. “Taking part in scrappy ball with a give attention to protection has been a relentless theme for us all season. When it mattered most, that’s what acquired us to the end line. After dropping the primary set to FC Elite within the closing match, the gamers didn’t again down or let the second overwhelm them. They knew they wanted to clamp down on protection and have higher first ball contact, and that’s precisely what they did. It was a complete staff effort within the closing two units – and admittedly all weekend.”
Northern Lights 18-1 gained 18 USA however declined the bid. Premier Nebraska 18 Black and TAV Houston 18 Adidas accepted their bids. Texas Tornados 18 Mizuno and PVA 18 Elite certified in 18 Liberty. Cedar Rapids Surge U18 gained the lone bid in 18 American.
• Ignite 16s Crimson American, an Ohio staff, rallied again to win Sport 2, 33-31, to drive a 3rd set within the semifinals of a event at Elite Sports activities on January 21. This occurred after that staff overcame excessive situations of condensation on the flooring, making it slippery, and operating out of subs, which required defenders to remain in and play all the best way round. The staff handily gained the third set to make the finals and introduced the identical vitality in profitable the championship in its season opener.
The staff acquired excellent work from OH Lauren Handschumacher and MB Ali Forgach up entrance and libero Cheyenne Welsh within the again row and behind the service line.
Of word: “Test Your Footwear” grew to become the motto of the day due to the slippery situations.
Colorado Juniors 17Kevin competed within the High-Flight Division of the Rocky Mountain Area over the weekend. The division pits the highest 16 groups within the area no matter age. CJ gained the title behind nice play from MB Erika Sayer, RS Anna Blamires and S Chloe Elarton.