The Badger Region Qualifier (Ages 13-16) will be held at the Milwaukee Sting Center this weekend for the chance to qualify for USAV which will be held in Detroit this summer. How the bids work out is the winner of…
The Badger Region Qualifier (Ages 13-16) will be held at the Milwaukee Sting Center this weekend for the chance to qualify for USAV which will be held in Detroit this summer. How the bids work out is the winner of each division will receive a National Division Bid and the runner-up will receive an American bid. However, teams are able to always “better” their bid at other qualifiers. Other qualifiers in the next couple months will be the MidEast Qualifier in Indianapolis, Windy City in Chicago, and Northern Lights in Minneapolis where many Wisconsin teams will compete. Clubs such as Capital Volleyball Academy, Milwaukee Sting, Wisconsin Juniors, and Wisconsin Volleyball Academy do not play in these events because they will play AAU Nationals in Orlando which does not have a qualification process and is sponsored by JVA.
The two clear cut favorites will be FC Elite 15 Navy which features Cora Behnke (Oconto), the number two rated prospect out of the Class of 2021 along with middle Emma Mans (Fort Atkinson) and the other pin hitter Linnea Willer (Freedom). FC Elite 15 Navy has been at the B and C level bracket of the Great Lakes Power League all season. A team riding a lot of momentum is Midwest Penguins 15 Black with Alexis Boling (Waukesha West), powering out of the middle, and Jordan Berglin (Pewaukee), a terminator on the outside. The two teams met earlier this season at the Great Lakes Power League with FC Elite winning 2-0 (25-21, 25-16).
The FC Elite 16 Navy team will be looking to follow suit of the FC Elite 17s team, by earning their National bid to USAV Nationals in Detroit. The team is led by two solid outside hitters in Katie DiRaimondo (Manitowoc Lincoln) and Emily Bruckshen (Howards Grove). Rachael Bohlman of Green Bay Southwest runs the show as the setter and Katherine Walch (Notre Dame) is an absolute sparkplug as a libero.. However the teams seeded below FC Elite 16 Navy will be no slouches with a very balanced field. FDL Fusion made it to the Gold Bracket of the JVA Jamboree in Milwaukee last month and are in the same pool as FC Elite. This is a very wide open field where the bids are definitely up for grabs!
Milwaukee Sting To Ultra Ankle Blue Grass
Milwaukee Sting will be bringing quite a crew to Louisville this weekend to the Ultra Ankle Blue Grass Tournament that will feature some of the top teams in the Mideast and well as the nation. 12 Gold, 13 Gold, and on up to the 18s level along with the top two teams from Sting (Gold and Black) will be in competition. Last year the 14 Gold team won this prestigious event. This year as 15s, they have the number five overall seed with Sports Performance 15 Elite, the 2017 AAU Open Champions, in their Power Pool as a number 2 seed
Speaking of Power Pools….last weekend at the Mizuno Showcase was my first experience working an event with Power Pools. Power Pools are where you start off Day 1 of an event with the top teams all competing in the top 2 or 3 pools (could be more depending on the event). The advantage is the top teams will be tested right away, they better come to play from the get go instead of using pool play as a warm up. This will also attract college coaches to those courts right away in the tournament instead waiting for the finals. The team who finishes fourth in the pool and possibly goes 0-3 on the day still has a chance to play back into Gold Bracket play. Huge advantage right?
The disadvantage? Depending on the seeding, if you are just out of the power pool you have very little margin of error throughout the whole weekend. Getting into the Gold Bracket play can depend on losing just one match or in some cases with a tie, one set can be the difference (WIN YOUR CHALLENGE MATCH). This storyline will be interesting to monitor throughout the weekend. All the Sting teams 15 and up are in a power pool of their division besides 18 Black, which is playing in Open (and I have no doubt they will compete with the top teams). I am interested in seeing how their experience will be compared to others get to the gold bracket without being in a power pool. Sting players and coaches, would love to hear your thoughts of the power pool set up.