As qualifying season is in full swing, this coming weekend presents more opportunities for U18 teams to earn their bids to the upcoming 2018 Girls Junior National Championships hosted by USA Volleyball. Northern Lights Volleyball has long been the host…
As qualifying season is in full swing, this coming weekend presents more opportunities for U18 teams to earn their bids to the upcoming 2018 Girls Junior National Championships hosted by USA Volleyball. Northern Lights Volleyball has long been the host club for the Northern Lights Qualifier. A well respected and consistently highly competitive, the U18 NLQ will take place at the Omaha Convention Center in Omaha, NE from January 26-28. Three divisions will be competing for bids in 18 Open, 18 USA and 18 American.
Breaking Down 18 Open
The North Country Region is well represented in 18 Open with four highly touted teams competing among 16 entries to the event. The Northern Lights 18-1 team is the second seed overall and the top-seeded team in pool 2 to start day one. Great competition awaits as NL 18 will have to face Nebraska Elite 18-1 MOAB, Dynasty 18 Black, and Iowa Power Plex 17U TPP. Also garnering a top seed in their pool is MN Select 18-1 leading pool 4 as the #4 seed entering the tournament. They will face off against west coast power Coast 18-1, Nebraska Elite 17-1, and WVA 18-Black. Two other North Country Region teams are set to compete with NL 18-2 the #3 team in pool 1, where they will face off against the event’s top seed in KC Power 18-1, CIA 18 Black, and Club One AZ 18Platinum. NL’s highly talented 17-1 team is the #2 seed in pool 3 and will get Milwaukee Sting 18 Gold, Illinois HPSTL 18 Elite, and A4 Volleyball 18 from Orange County, CA. Several of the teams competing this coming weekend earned results at the 2017 U18 GJNC 18 Open as KC Power is the reigning gold medalist. Other results from 2017 include A4 Volleyball 18 (5th place), Coast 18-1 (11th), CIA 18 Black (13th), MN Select 18-1 and Milwaukee Sting 18 Gold (17th-tie), and Club One AZ 18Platinum (31st).
Athletes to Watch
The 18 Open qualifying events present fans and college coaches a terrific opportunity to see some of the nation’s elite prep volleyball athletes competing against one another. These future college stars continue to provide some thrilling match play with their athleticism, great skills and power, and sheer competitiveness. Some of the athletes to keep any eye on in Omaha include the following:
- Brooke Andersen (OH) – Milwaukee Sting 18 Gold | College: Iowa State
- Lacey Angello (L/DS) – Dynasty 18-Black | College: Kansas
- Kayla Bair (MB) – MN Select 18-1 | College: Michigan
- Megan Cannon (S/RS) – WVA 18 Black | College Robert Morris
- Esther Grussing (S/R) – Northern Lights 18-2 | College: Ball State University
- Lexi Hadrych (OH) – Coast 18-1 | College: UCLA
- Taylor Kuper (L/DS/OH) – KC Power 18-1 | College: Illinois
- Gabrielle McCaa (MB/R) – Northern Lights 17-1 | College: University of Southern California
- Maggie Mullen (L) – Nebraska Elite 18 | College: Louisville
- Lauren Turner (MB/R) – Northern Lights 18-1 | College: University of San Diego
Format for the event includes round one pool play of which seeds into round two pools that separate teams into two divisions based upon record. Teams finishing first and second in their respective pools in Round 1 will remain in the hunt for a bid entering to Round 2 pools as part of two gold-level pools heading towards the final championship round. The remaining eight teams from Round 1 that finish in third and fourth place in their respective pools will advance to two consolation pools. The gold pool will consist of the top two finishing teams from the two gold-level Round 2 pools. On the line are a total of two bids to the 18 Open GJNC event. With a coveted prize up for grabs, expect the 18 Open event to present some very exciting competition. Tournament schedule and results can be found here, hosted by TM2Sign.