Nebraska Teams Continue to Find Success in Orlando
ORLANDO, FL – As the AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships roll into its second week, the number of Nebraska teams having high levels of success continue to roll on as well.
Before competition began Monday, Nebraska already had five top-10 finishes to its credit, and today it added another and put itself in a position to add even more on Tuesday.
In the 18 Classic division, VCNebraska 18 Elite had its season come to an end in the first round of the championship bracket with a 17-25, 25-19, 15-10 loss to Mizuno Sports Performance 18 Navy to finish in a tie for 9th place. That showing made VCNebraska 18 Elite the sixth team from Nebraska to finish in the top 10 of its division.
Also, in the 18 Classic division, MVP 18 Rick defeated Mizuno Sports Performance 18 Wave 27-29, 25-12, 15-9 to win the division championship. And while MVP 18 Rick is from Sioux City, Iowa, its team has three Nebraskans as a centerpiece for its success in the North Platte duo of Allison Kuenle, Josie Cox and Kearney Catholic’s Morgan Stute.
The real story of the day, though, came in 17 Open where a Nebraska Juniors 171 Black team reached the championship quarterfinals. Nebraska Juniors, which came into the 60-team field as the #16 seed, reached the round of eight with a 16-25, 27-25, 15-8 win over Asics KIVA Red out of Louisville. PrepVolleyball.com ranks KIVA #13 in the nation.
In the quarterfinals tomorrow, Nebraska Juniors will face City Beach 171, which is ranked #35 in the nation. To get to that match, however, required a gutty come-from-behind win against one of the tournament favorites in KIVA.
After Brianna Boender opened the match with an ace serve for the Nebraska Juniors, KIVA owned the remainder of the first set, building a quick 4-1 lead. The 1-0 advantage was the only time Nebraska Juniors led and KIVA used a 9-2 run to stretch a 13-9 lead to 22-11 en route to the first-set win.
In the second set, it was Nebraska Juniors, which got off to a quick start and took a 3-1 lead on kills by Kiley Hixson and Cassidy Loberg. KIVA bounced back quickly, however, and tied the set at 8-8.
From that point on, the match was tied at 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21 before a Hixson kill and KIVA hitting error put Nebraska Juniors up 23-21. A dump from setter Callie Alberico got Nebraska Juniors to a 24-22 lead, but KIVA rattled off two straight to tie it at 24-24. Then, with the score at 25-25, Sophia Terwilleger got a kill and Loberg followed with another to produce a 26-24 win for Nebraska Juniors.
After KIVA scored the first two points of the third set, a combo block by Terwilleger and Loberg got Nebraska Juniors on the board and Loberg followed with four consecutive kills to put the Juniors up 5-2. A pair of kills by Elizabeth Loschen and one each from Lauren Hinrichs and Hixson got the Nebraska Juniors lead to 9-5.
KIVA then rattled off three straight to get within 9-8, but Nebraska Juniors then scored the next six with Boender, Alberico, Hinrichs and Terwilleger each getting kills to secure the win and advance the team to the championship quarterfinals.
Hinrichs and Loberg each had a team-high 11 kills and libero Amanda Young made several outstanding plays defensively throughout the match.
While Nebraska Juniors 171 Black secured itself a top-10 finish in the Open division, River City Juniors 171 was doing the same thing in the Club division. River City scored four straight-set wins today to improve its pool-play record to 9-1 and advance to tomorrow’s championship bracket.
River City will take on High Impact in the bracket’s first round tomorrow morning. High Impact also comes into the match with a pool-play record of 9-1.
While tomorrow marks the end of competition in the 17s division, it also is the start of competition in the 16s divisions, which eight more teams from Nebraska will be taking part in.