2018 Club Feature: FC Elite 17 Navy
The 2017 club season was a breakout year for FC Elite 16 Navy (which most of the same group will be competing for 17 Navy in 2018), winning the The Showcase in the Dells, finishing 2nd at Badger Region, and a strong showing at USAV Nationals in Minneapolis going undefeated in pool play in the National Division before falling in the quarterfinals of bracket play. The expectations will be extremely high for 17 Navy, but with a group that has a year of playing together under their belt, they will be ready to compete with a target on their back.
Location: Appleton Area (Fox Cities)
No Longer The New Kids
Liz Gregorski, Hannah VandenBerg, Maggie Cartwright, and Kasey Bell have been with FC Elite from early on in their club careers. Last year Addison Barnes, Kayla Kraus, and Caroline Dragani joined forces and provided some additional puzzle pieces that provided a lot of firepower, intensity, and depth to an already strong line up. In the ultra competitive Great Lakes Power League in Aurora, IL at Sports Performance, this crew had a consistent spot in the “A” Bracket where they top teams from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan play throughout the season.
For the 2018 club season, Gregorski, VandenBerg, and Cartwright are all approaching and touching 10 feet. Barnes, a two time 1st Team All State selection, is full of firepower on the outside. Kraus was Player of the Year in the Fox Valley Association as a libero and Dragani will run the offense that will have a plethora of options.
Official play will start for 17 Navy on January 6 when they are back at the Great Lakes Power League competing in the 17/18s Super Open Division where they have the top seed in their pool. Traditionally, this club has always gone the USAV route for Nationals in which the club must earn a bid to Nationals, which is held in Detroit this year. The question is, will they earn an “Open Bid” which will put them in contention to win an outright national title against the top teams in the nation. They will have a chance to earn that bid when they travel to the Mideast Qualifier in Indianapolis March 23 and then again at the end of April at the Northern Lights Qualifier in Minneapolis. Their play in the Great Lakes Power League against some of the top teams not only in the Midwest, but in the nation will also give them leverage for an at-large Open bid if they are unable to qualify through tournament play.
A Few Rivals
All through the competition at the Great Lakes Power League, this group was constantly looking across the net with jerseys that said “STING”. Milwaukee Sting is always a perennial power and last years 16 Gold team finished tied for third in the nation at the AAU National Championships in Orlando. Milwaukee Sting 16 Gold was able to defeat this group last year in the Badger Region championship. These two teams will be going head to head again at GLPL and at Badger Region.
Another rival for not only this team, but for the clubs in general would be Wisconsin Volleyball Academy. Athletes for both of these clubs will play together and against each other in the high school season. These two clubs with their healthy rivalry has been the biggest benefit for the high schools in the Fox Valley area with their athletes seeing high level competition year round.
Addison Barnes, Neenah, OH – Loyola
Kayla Kraus, Neenah, L – Loyola
Kasey Bell, Sheboygan North, MB – Loyola
Caroline Dragani, Catholic Memorial, S – Portland State
Liz Gregorski, Xavier, OH – Wisconsin
Maggie Cartwright, Kimberly, OH/RS – Arkansas
Hannah VandenBerg, Little Chute, OH/RS – Marquette
Keep and Eye On
Adrianne Hagen and Tiffany Paalman are middles over 6 feet tall that will provide some depth for this team this season. It’s no secret they have plenty of firepower at the pins, but this could be the key for this group to take the next step. For college coaches, it is always nice to have middle who are dynamic, quick, and can put up a huge block at well. There will be plenty of attention on their court all season long!