This weekend marks the start of the tournament schedule in the USAV Great Plains Region. Although it is a very light schedule, the 9-team Mizuno Premier Showcase 17/18 Gold Division Tournament at The Courts in Southwest Omaha will feature some…
This weekend marks the start of the tournament schedule in the USAV Great Plains Region. Although it is a very light schedule, the 9-team Mizuno Premier Showcase 17/18 Gold Division Tournament at The Courts in Southwest Omaha will feature some of the state’s top teams.
The tournament is slated to start with pool play at 8 a.m. with tournament play beginning at roughly 11-11:30 a.m. The Courts is located at 8930 S. 137th Circle in Omaha. Admission is $5 for those 18 and older, $3 for ages 12-17 and those under 12 are free.
The nine teams are divided into three pools of three for round-robin play. The top two teams from each pool will advance to the single-elimination championship tournament while the third-place teams in each pool will play in a consolation round-robin against each other.
Here is a look at how each of the pools breakdown.
Pool A: Nebraska Elite 181 MOAB, Performance 17 NIKE, Premier 15 Gold.
Match to Watch: Elite 181 MOAB vs. Premier 15 Gold. This has the potential to be a really fun and competitive match. In a lot of ways, it’s the old guard against the new guard. MOAB is basically the Omaha Marian state-championship team with Creighton recruit Emily Bressman, Iowa recruit Sarah Wing, et al, along with vastly underrated players like Omaha recruit Rylee Marshall of Fort Calhoun, Omaha North’s Kamryn Pullen and Millard West’s Sydney Daniels.
Meanwhile, Premier 15 Gold is going to bring some of the top young talent in the state to the court, led by Nebraska recruit Lindsay Krause of Skutt Catholic. She and setter Phyona Schrader of Ankeny, Iowa, can hang with anyone in the gym. Add to that some undersized but very effective attackers in Papillion-LaVista’s Norah Sis and Skutt’s Cameron Cartwright and a backrow led by Skutt’s Olivia Rouw and Lincoln Northeast’s Holly Oschner and you’ve got a team that could easily push Elite 18 MOAB on opening weekend.
Pool B: Premier 18 Gold, Premier 18 Black, Action Motion 17 Chaos.
Match to Watch: Premier 18 Gold vs. Premier 18 Black.
Few things are more interesting in tournaments than when teams from the same age division from the same club meet on the court. Obviously, on paper, it’s a match Premier 18 Gold should win, but it’s early in the season and strange things happen in matches like this. If 18 Black can get off to a strong start and create both physical and mental stress on 18 Gold, it could get interesting.
When you have players like Taliyah Flores of Papillion-LaVista South, Delaney Saucier of Skutt Catholic, Sydney Fitzgibbons of Papillion-LaVista and Brooke Frederickson of North Bend – as Premier 18 Gold does – it’s going to be difficult for anyone to beat you. But, 18 Black has some intriguing players that could cause problems for 18 Gold, like Millard West’s Jada Key, Millard South’s Claire Larson and Omaha Roncalli’s Ava Macke.
Pool C: Premier 17 Gold, Banzai 181, Premier 16 Gold.
Match to Watch: Premier 17 Gold vs. Premier 16 Gold.
Sometimes the best rivalries in club volleyball are between teams from the same club. While it may be a friendly rivalry, the players that make up the Premier 16 and 17 Gold teams have been battling each other for many years now and this should be a fantastic match for early bragging rights between the two teams. Premier 17 Gold will be as solid as anyone in the state at libero with Iowa State recruit Jaiden Centeno of Millard West, setter with Omaha recruit Sami Clarkson of Omaha Concordia and on the outside with Wyoming recruit Hailey Zuroske of Omaha Marian and Megan Skovsende of Skutt Catholic.
For Premier 16 Gold, you won’t find another team in Nebraska – and few in the Midwest – with two setters on its roster the caliber of Brooklyn Schram of Papillion-LaVista and Izzy Lukens of Millard North. Kenedy Schaecher of Gretna is a rising star in the libero ranks and Millard North’s McKenna Ruch is as versatile at the net as anyone. As is the case nearly all the time, this match will likely come down serve and pass because both of the teams are going to be incredibly difficult to stop if they are in system.
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