Mizuno Showcase Recruiting Observations, Rivalries Established
The Wisconsin Dells Mizuno Showcase was full of talent spread out all over the Dells area with games being played at the Wisconsin Dells Center (The Bubble), Just A Game Fieldhouse, and The HoChunk Wellness Center Gym. Although it wasn’t always ideal for seeing all the games in one area, it still provided a lot of the best teams in one area that are among some of the best in the country. Seeing some of the best from Illinois and Minnesota converge to play against the best in Wisconsin is always a treat. Sprinkle in some Iowa teams and you have quite the event. Here is a recap of some storylines that developed throughout the weekend, a look at recruiting, and teams who really stepped up. We will have a more of a player prospect breakdown throughout the week.
Missouri Valley Conference Recruiting
The Missouri Valley Conference was a recruiting battle ground at The Wisconsin Dells Mizuno Showcase on Saturday. Illinois State was there watching three of their incoming recruits. Marissa Stockman is an extremely physical middle from River Falls High School and Korkoro VB Club that is touching an athletic 10 foot that is strong and can move very quickly along the net. Two courts over was Taylor Lynch or Six Pack Volleyball Club out of Cedar Falls, Iowa. Lynch is a six foot outside attacker that approaches with authority! Her take off is near the ten foot line and is a lethal point scorer. Her Cedar Falls High School won a Class 5A Title while having a setter in Tayah Mahi who will set for UNI and Grace Berken who will play at former MVC member in Wichita State. There was one more Illinois State commit in 2019 Libero from MN Select, Kaitlyn Weimerskirsch who is club and high school teammates with Izzy Ashburn who has given her verbal commit to Wisconsin. Another Missouri Valley recruit who had a solid weekend was Maizy Jackson from MN Select 17-1 who is verbally committed to UNI. Kat Barr of Balance 18-1 was also playing and is committed to UNI in the Class of 2018 recruiting class.
Panthers Have Eyes on Tayler Alden
Speaking of the Missouri Valley Conference, UNI was on Tayler Alden’s Court for VC United 18-1. Alden is the top prospect out of the Class of 2020 for Wisconsin and has not given her verbal yet. I’ll admit, I’m from Iowa and come from a family who all went to UNI so I’m very familiar with the tradition of their volleyball program. They do not have the name of a Power Five Conference (Big Ten, PAC 12, etc), but they did beat Nebraska, USC, and made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament. UNI also has a reputation of All Conference and All American, 5-1 setters that are physical and offensive. Kristin Belzung, who is currently the head coach for Stony Brook was a two time All MVC Setter in 2006 and 2007 and Bre Payton, who is an assistant at Iowa was a left handed, very offensive setter for the Panthers that was a three time All American. Alden has plenty of options, but a school with a reputation of solid offensive setters, a tradition of competing in the NCAA tournament, conference championships, and potentially playing in the same conference as her sister Lexi (tranferring to Loyola) could be a great fit.
Wi Juniors Step Up
Wisconsin Juniors 16-1 was without Setter Karlee Lois this weekend who is recovering from a concussion, but adjusted by having Cenie Frieson run the show. Juniors didn’t skip a beat, finishing in a tie for 5th, winning all three matches to get to Gold Bracket Play on Sunday.
The Wisconsin Juniors 15-1 team started out as a 12 seed, went 7-1 and upset 5 seeded Milwaukee Sting 15 Black. This will give Juniors great momentum heading into Badger Region in a few weeks.
VC United Gaining Momentum – Heading To China
VC United 18-1 is a new club out of Rockford and their 18-1 team was able to go 7-1, finishing a tie for 3rd with the majority of the team being from the Class of 2019. They advanced to the semifinals before falling to Fusion Black 17-15 in the third set. This team will actually be taking a trip to China. It is not uncommon for clubs to travel intentionally, besides visiting and being in a different culture, it is also a different style and more of an all around game. Look for this team and club to continue their momentum.
Mn Select vs. Illini Elite – A Rivalry Established in Wisconsin
In early February, MN Select 16-1 played Illini Elite 16 Cardinal in the JVA Jamboree with Illini Elite winning in three sets, with set two going 27-25. This weekend MN Select 16-1 got the best of Illini Elite winning in three sets with the final set ending in plenty of extra points 23-21.
One of the last matches to be played Saturday night in power pool play for 17s was MN Select and Illini Elite. Enjoyable to just sit back and watch. Illini Elite 17 Cardinal is physical, strong, and athletic while MN Select has an offense with lots of tempo and speed. MN Select came out on top with a sweep with the second set going 30-28.
The MN Select 18s have locked up an Open Bid for USAV Nationals in Anaheim while Illini Elite 18 Cardinal will go the JVA route to AAU Nationals. This Illini Elite team won a national title at the AAU Open Championships last year. Safe to say they are two of the top teams in the nation (and I haven’t even mentioned Sports Performance who won three of the four divisions this weekend). Illini Elite 18 Cardinal defeated MN Select 18-1 Saturday, but MN Select returned the favor in Bracket play defeated Illini Elite Sunday morning.