Photo courtesy of the Pioneer Press
Day one of the Twin Cities Molten Cup left the top seed in the 32-team field unblemished. M1 17-1, the overall 1 seed, finished their pool 3-0 and didn’t drop a set during their first day of pool play. M1 18-1, the overall 2 seed, fell to SWMNVB 17-1 in straight sets to finish second in their pool, but still advances into the Gold Bracket for Day 2. In the other 6 pools, the top seeds continued on to the Gold Bracket in the top spots. Only 6 of the top 16 teams heading into Day 2 are 18’s teams, showing the talent of the 16’s and 17’s teams in the field.
#2 Kayla Nye – M1 16-1, Outside/Opposite. A physical, dynamic attacker who attacks with range on both pins. An imposing block who sets the block consistently against opponents’ outsides.
#5 Grace Legris – M1 16-1, Outside. A fast arm who attacked with range and mixed up shot selection in a win over Crossfire 17-2.
#6 Alena Moldan – M1 16-1, Libero. Excellent platform, quick eye work and reading in defense. Her ability to stay in the play with coverage and communication helped lead her team to a 2-1 finish in Pool 3.
#7 Haley Rohwer – High Voltage 17-1, Middle Blocker. A terminal Middle blocker with a quick arm swing and works hard to be available in transition.
#7 Abigail Volkk – Kandi Elite 17-1, Opposite. Excellent blocker who consistently shut down Crossfire 17-1’s Outsides, forcing them to tip and off-speed attack around her.
#14 Taylor Vargason – Kandi Elite 17-1, Middle Blocker. Taylor is a dynamic blocker and physical attacker who is quick to close blocks on defense but also scores points in transition. Had the set winning block kill to force a Set 3 vs. Crossfire 17-1.
#6 Gabrielle Hahn – Kandi Elite 17-1, Outside Hitter. A solid 6-rotation Outside Hitter who does it all. She was the go-to attacker in the front and back court when a kill was needed for her team.
#19 Emily Althoff – M1 17-2, Outside Hitter. Emily is a smaller outside who plays above her height. In a 6-rotation role she scored in the front and back row in and out of system.
#15 Mikala Henderson – Crossfire 16-1, Outside Hitter. One of the more dynamic attackers in the gym, she hit with range attacking with power and also scoring with off-speed. On a skilled offensive team, she stood out as a go-to attacker.
#17 Emma Schmidt – Crossfire 16-1, Outside Hitter. Emma attacked on both pins and occasionally set in serve receive and transition for the 16-1 team from Crossfire who didn’t drop a set during Day 1 Pool Play.
#6 Lexi Wade – Black Ice 17-1, Outside Hitter. Aggressive, go-to attacker in the front and back court.
#18 Victoria Johnson – Black Ice 17-1, MB. Attacks with range in front of and behind the setter. Great eye sequencing to put herself in a position to close blocks.
#5 Kayla DeMartini – Tonka 18-1, Outside Hitter. Excellent timing on the fast tempo set to the pin. Her speed and power combined with the speed of the set was not able to be stopped in a 3 set win over M1 17-2.
#21 Kalista Jager – Tonka 18-1, Setter. Ran a fast tempo offense on excellent and challenging passes to keep her attackers in system.
#31 Sophie Hathaway – Vital 17-1, Outside Hitter. A dynamic, high touching pin hitter who attacks with pace and range at both pins. Reads the block well to create opportunities to score. Had the match winning kill to defeat Iowa Heart and finish first in their pool on Day 1.
#15 Bailey Harms – Vital 17-1, Middle Blocker. Bailey is terminal on the slide attack and challenged opponent attackers with her well-formed, early block.
#14 Elaina Wanous – MN Select 18-3, Middle Blocker. When available in transition, she runs the gap even on off passes. She scores a high percentage on this route due to her commitment to be available.
#28 Emily Higley – MN Select 18-3, Outside Hitter. A smaller pin attacker, Emily is crafty and scores around and through well formed, large blocks in front of her. She is a consistent 6-rotation passer who keeps her team in system. Had the final 2 kills to win set 1 vs Kairos 18 Beta as well as the match winning kill in set 2 to seal their first place finish in Pool 8.