Congrats to the teams that earned bids to the Junior Olympic Volleyball Championships taking place June 24 to July 3 in Reno, NV. at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.
Here’s a quick recap of what I saw: the entire 15s bids tournament and caught pool play for the 16s bids.
Headed into the tournament, the teams talked about most were the El Paso APAC, Española Northern Elite 151 and NM Jrs 15 – Russ.
NM Jrs 15 – Russ had a good showing at the Lone Star Classic, and they obviously carried that momentum going into the regional. The Russ squad looked confident and matched that confidence with their high level of play.
APAC looked strong throughout the pool play, not seeing too much of a challenge from RapidFire 15 Kaepa, Guns Up 151 and Artesia Elite 151. In the semifinal game against Northern Elite 151, APAC looked like the team to beat.
Unfortunately, APAC picked a bad time to have a flat game. Russ was able to stymie APAC in most all aspects of the game. The APAC back row, normally money on defense, looked perplexed.
Offensively, APAC struggled as well, and I suspect the size and athleticism of the Russ front line may have gotten into their heads. The Jrs team saw equally strong play from Lexi Grady, Alexandria Biondi, Samantha McCants, Andrea Lowe, Autumn Gilbert. What did get through was picked up by Russ’ back row; some crisp ball control from Haley Ng, Delaina Tafoya and Danielle Ortiz rounded out their performance.
The same front line defending the net was equally adept on offense as well. Middle Lauren Roveto had a great game, and as a fellow fan noted, she’ll be someone to keep an eye on.
I’m least familiar with the Española Northern Elite and don’t have their roster, but they played some good ball. They had a nice pair of outside hitters, and their setter played a consistent tournament.
Really no surprise the NM Jrs 16 – Marc earned the bid. As mentioned before, this is a complete team; so much so that PrepVolleyball.com recognized them with an “Honorable Mention” in their April 2010 National 16s Club Ranking.
In addition to Brandi Torr’s and Julia Warren’s wicked talents, the rest of the group helps make it happen as well. Rachael Bradley continues to show great hustle and hitters Karia Lujan and Stephanie Wilson also look dangerous.
I did get to watch some of the other clubs, but got the best looks at the El Paso Heat and Net Force teams. Already a tough team, I think if the Heat found some consistency, they’d be much more dangerous. OH Arielle Bond is steadily turning into a “go to” hitter, and look forward to seeing her play in the future.
Net Force 16s have played some good volleyball. The hitters I mentioned earlier, Amber Massey and Jackie Bautista, gave the competition a good game.
The Wildfire, lead by Al Rosen continues to dominate the 17s. In spite of injuries and the recent loss of a hitter, the El Paso squad continues to excel at the high level they’re accustomed to. A sweep of the formidable NM Jrs 17-Geoff team (with hitters Mackenzie Clark and Jayla Trombley), put to rest any doubts about Rosen’s team.
With some of the best 18s in El Paso, it’d be surprising if the Sunspots didn’t make the championship.
I caught the championship game with the ‘Spots facing the Guns Up club, and the Sunspot’s big guns were just too much. Ashley Newcomb and Jillian Davis were dominating.