ORLANDO, FL – Nebraska’s sensational showing at the AAU Junior National Championships in 2015 came with an emphatic ending.
When Nebraska Elite 161 Vici rallied to knock off Club Fusion for the 16 Open championship on Friday, it brought about an end to what was certainly Nebraska’s best overall performance ever at the national championships.
A total of nine teams from Nebraska had top-10 finishes in their respective divisions with two more teams tying for 11th place. An Iowa team from Sioux City (MVP 18 Rick) won the 18 Classic title with the help of three key Nebraska high school players.
If the AAU championships were any indication, the strength of volleyball in Nebraska is as high as it has ever been – even at the very highest of levels.
In recent years, the AAU National Championships have become the marquee tournament, which makes this year’s accomplishments even more impressive. More than 2,100 teams compete – making it the largest volleyball tournament in the world. It also attracts the most college coaches and the highest talent level of teams.
Those high-level teams play in the Open division. A total of nine Nebraska teams played in Open at AAU a true national champion in Nebraska Elite 161 Vici (16 Open), a team that tied for 5th in Nebraska Juniors 171 Black (17 Open) and a team that finished 6th in Nebraska Juniors 181 Black (18 Open).
And while playing and doing well in lower divisions is a great accomplishment, the Open division is the true testing grounds for the success of a club and teams. Placing in the top 10 of an Open division solidifies your team as a top 10-20 team in the nation. Whereas placing in the top 10 of a lower division may not even mean the team would crack the top 50 or 60 in the nation.
For comparison, while nine Nebraska teams competed in Open at AAU with three finishing in the top six, there is just one Nebraska team playing in Open at the USAV championships.
Along with a tremendous amount of team success, several Nebraska players earned individual honors for their performance during the national championships as well.
In the 14 Club division, Megan Raszler of Nebraska Elite 142 Nexus was named to the all-tournament team for helping lead her team to a tie for 5th place. Meanwhile, in the 14 Premier division, Fallon Stutheit of Nebraska ONE 14 Titanium was named to the all-tournament team as her team also finished in a tie for 5th place.
In the 15 Club division, VCNebraska’s Jaela Zimmerman was named to the all-tournament team with her squad finishing in a tie for 5th place.
In 16 Open, Brooke Heyne, Allison Schomers and Sarah Swanson were each named all-tournament for helping lead Nebraska Elite 161 Vici to the national title. Swanson also earned MVP honors.
In 17 Club, Kelsey Beaudin of River City Juniors 171 was all-tournament after helping her team to a tie for 5th place.
In 17 Open, Nebraska Juniors 171 Black finished in a tie for 5th place and Elizabeth Loschen earned all-tournament honors.
In 18 Classic, Kearney Catholic’s Morgan Stute and North Platte’s Allison Kuenle were each all-tournament for their roles in helping MPV 18 Rick to the divisional championship. Josie Cox of North Platte also played on that team.
Nebraska Juniors 181 Black finished 6th in the 18 Open division and Brittany Witt was named to the all-tournament team. In the 18 Premier division, River City Juniors 181 finished in 2nd and Lauren Salerno was named to the all-tournament team.
Below are the final results for all Nebraska teams that competed in the AAU Junior National Championships. They are listed in order of age, difficulty of division and their finish.
Open Division (39 teams)
Nebraska Juniors 181 Black – 6th
Premier Division (50 teams)
River City Juniors 181 – 2nd
Nebraska Elite 181 Freak Show – 11th
Nebraska Juniors 182 Red – tied for 33rd
Club Division (60 teams)
River City Juniors 182 – tied for 25th
5-Star VBC Omaha – 54th
Classic Division (57 teams)
VCNebraska 18 Elite – tied for 9th
Open Division (60 teams)
Nebraska Juniors 171 Black – tied for 5th
Nebraska Elite 171 SWAT – 23rd
Premier Division (96 teams)
Nebraska Juniors 172 Red – 37th
Nebraska ONE 17 Crossfire – 38th
Club Division (117 teams)
River City Juniors 171 – tied for 5th
River City Juniors 172 – tied for 77th
Open Division (67 teams)
Nebraska Elite 161 Vici – 1st
Nebraska Juniors 161 Black – tied for 24th
Premier Division (102 teams)
Nebraska Juniors 162 Red – 85th
Club Division (158 teams)
VCNebraska 16 Elite – tied for 24th
Nebraska ONE 16 Heat – tied for 39th
River City Juniors 161 – tied for 39th
River City Juniors 162 – tied for 110th
Classic Division (152 teams)
Nebraska Elite 162 Pursuit – tied for 18th
Open Division (50 teams)
Nebraska Elite 151 Revolution – tied for 23rd
Nebraska Juniors 151 Black – tied for 33rd
Club Division (163 teams)
VCNebraska 15 Elite – tied for 5th
VCNebraska 15 Black – tied for 57th
River City Juniors 151 – tied for 112th
Open Division (32 teams)
Nebraska Elite 141 Havoc – tied for 17th
Premier Division (67 teams)
Nebraska ONE 14 Titanium – tied for 5th
Club Division (133 teams)
Nebraska Elite 142 Nexus – tied for 5th
Nebraska ONE 14 Platinum – tied for 67th
River City Juniors 141 – tied for 119th
Club Division (102 teams)
Nebraska Elite 131 Thunder – 31st
River City Juniors 131 – tied for 33rd
Classic Division (80 teams)
Nebraska Elite 132 Storm – tied for 11th
Open Division (26 teams)
Nebraska Elite 12 Velocity – tied for 15th
Club Division (61 teams)
River City Juniors 121 – tied for 50th
Classic Division (48 teams)
Nebraska Elite 122 Unify – tied for 23rd