Photo courtesy of MN Volleyball Hub.
Of the final 4, teams only one 18’s team is still alive, as Wisconsin Ice 18 National took on Southwest Minnesota Volleyball Club 17-1 and M1 17-1 battled Crossfire 16-1 in the other semi. Both semifinals showcased evenly matched teams as the matches had to be played into a decisive third set. In the end, Crossfire 16-1 and Wisconsin Ice 18 National emerged the winners and advanced to the Championship match.
Crossfire’s offensive power proved too much for Wisconsin Ice they overtook the 18’s team in two sets to win the 17/18 Division of the Molten Cup.
Here are standouts from the 17/18 Division Semifinal and Championship matches:
#1 Jenna Rombalski – Wisconsin Ice 18 National, Outside Hitter. With a high touch on her ball contact, Jenna is able to play with excellent range and shot selection over and around defenders.
#11 Erica Jones – SWMNVB 17-1, Outside Hitter. Erica is an undersized outside hitter, but is very crafty in how she finds ways to score. She sees the court well to find space to score, as well as provides an consistent anchor in serve receive.
#10 Madison Guetter – SWMNVB 17-1, Outside Hitter. Top point scorer for the team. She provides power in her attacking and is the go to player in translation.
#4 Ellie Thein – SWMNVB 17-1, Libero. Ellie showed excellent discipline in her defensive responsibilities and provided solid ball control for her team. She covers a large amount of court in serve receive not just to get touches, but to pass the ball in system for her setter.
#9 Izzy Ashburn – Crossfire 16-1, Setter. Most teams wouldn’t think of their setter as a top point scorer, but Izzy is a reliable offensive option for her team. She showed excellent vision in picking apart M1 17-1’s defense with off speed shots, two handed pushes to the corner, or jumping and attacking. She found a way to do this at the moments to grab momentum or provide her team with a quick side out.
#11 Kaitlyn Weimerskirch – Crossfire 16-1, Libero. The most consistent serve receive passer for Crossfire. Stayed in plays with her defense and coverage the provided critical touches to keep her team alive during the play.
#17 Emma Schmidt – Crossfire 16-1, Outside Hitter. Emma had 12 kills for her team, the most of any player in this semi, in the three-set semifinal win over M1. She hit with power and great shot selection from both the outside and right side pins.
#5 Elizabeth Junke – M1 17-1, Outside Hitter. Elizabeth attacked for 11 kills in the match and hit with power from the front and back row. A dynamic hitter who can score at will.
#11 Sydney Case – M1 17-1, Setter. Sydney did an impressive job of running the offense for a team where Junke would be an easy player to set majority of balls in and out of system. She established her middle early and often, which created space for her outsides to terminate.
#12 Summer Ballard, M1 17-1 – Middle Blocker. Provided the hot hand when setter Sydney Case was able to set her in transition. Summer worked to be in and available in transition and attacked for 7 kills. She has a fast arm and a high contact point for her attack. Also provided a consistent, aggressive block to shut down Crossfire’s outsides.
#7 Morgan Wardall – Wisconsin Ice 18 National, Middle Blocker. Morgan hits with an equal amount of power and confidence on the gap in front and the slide behind the setter. She was difficult for Crossfire to contain in the Championship match when she was set in transition.
#1 Alexie Pryd – Crossfire 16-1, Outside/Opposite. Alexie took big swings from both pins during the Championship match. Many of her kills came at critical times when her team needed a sideout or needed to extend a run in a successful rotation.
#21 Sami Hilley – Crossfire 16-1, Middle Blocker. Setter Izzy Ashburn showed her confidence in Sami during the Championship match by feeding her the ball often. Sami worked hard to be an option in transition and scored consistently around well formed blocks in front of her.