The 17s have entered the nationals chat. The Northern Lights Qualifier is upon us and some of the top teams in the country are heading to Minneapolis to grab an early bid. With the season still early, this is a…
The 17s have entered the nationals chat. The Northern Lights Qualifier is upon us and some of the top teams in the country are heading to Minneapolis to grab an early bid. With the season still early, this is a great measuring stick for everyone. Besides the bids at stake, these teams are looking to build momentum heading into Presidents Day where many of these teams will be heading to the NIT Triple Crown in Kansas City in a few weeks. Here is a little bit of a study guide heading into NLQ and what to watch in Minneapolis this weekend.
The seeding with the top teams are pretty much spot on. A5 17 Jing and Dynasty are definitely the front runners. The core of these players have been playing together for a few years. They are always playing in three day gold matches, and go into every event looking to be on top of the podium. A5 has eight D1 commits already, with the likes of Hannah Benjamin (Kentucky),(Michigan State), and (Georgia Tech) just to name a few. Dynasty won the national title at USAV 15 Open in 2021, were Triple Crown Champions, and final four finishers in 16 Open last July. Skylar Pierce (Nebraska), (Arizona), and (Purdue). They have quite the dynamic duo out of the middle in (UNLV) and (Wake Forest). The two to watch from the Class of 2025 that come at no surprise are and . Mullen spent time on the USA Youth National team, by far the youngest on the team. She is a six rotation right side who can do it all. is an absolute floor general where she is the maestro. She has such great command of the court and is an absolute playmaker.
Day Three Contenders
The next three seeds are Premier Nebraska 17 Gold, 1st Alliance 17 Gold, Metro VBC 17 Travel, and OT O 17 Felix. All of these teams are going to be in the conversation not only for open bids, but to be gold contenders at multiple qualifiers this year. Premier Nebraska 17 Gold has a lot of athleticism where they will have a full season with a healthy. The South Dakota commit and Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year was coming off a knee injury in the 2022 club season. She’s healthy, she’s ready to dominate. 1st Alliance 17 Gold is going to be one of the top ball control and pin heavy teams with (Penn State) and at libero and outside hitters (Kansas) and (Michigan). Metro VBC 17 Travel is still a stacked team even though they will not have Macaria Spears who was a stud on that team last year. Ohio State commit will be a key six rotation outside hitter on this team where she is a threat to score from anywhere. OT has a few power five athletes on their squad with Fallon Stewart (Cincinnati), Juleigh Urbina (Oklahoma), and Ila Demetus (Oklahoma).
Who Will Sneak Up?
There are a few teams who I think will be in the hunt that aren’t the top seeds in their pool. I recently saw FC Elite 17 Navy and MKE Sting 17 Gold have a huge battle at the Prep Dig Resolution. FC Elite came out on top 25-23, 28-26 with both teams going punch for punch. A lot of power between these two teams. Adversity being a three seed in Pool 6 could be a little dangerous. This team out of Chicagoland has a power packed 17s team that features some high powered commits.(Penn State) and (Indiana) as their pins will keep them in a lot of games and will be a tough team to beat whether they are in or out of system. Northern Lights 17-1 is a team that is extremely solid, they are always going to be well trained, fundamentally sound, and are a tough match up. Reese Ptacek will be a force in the middle for Lights, the Kansas commit is extremely dynamic.
Commits To Know About
– Northern Lights – Lipscomb
– Premier Nebraska – Oregon
“MK) – A5 17 Jing – Georgia
– Nebraska Elite 171 – Wayne State (NE)
– Rockwood Thunder 17 Elite – Ohio State
– MKE Sting 17 Gold – Notre Dame
– Metro 17 Travel – Colorado State
– FC Elite 17 Navy – Illinois State
– VCN 17 Elite – USC
Athletes To Have On The Radar
Martin moves really well, she knows how to take command of an offense. She will be key for the club out of the KC area this weekend.
Van Lannen is someone the other side always has to recognize, she is efficient in her movement, jump sets consistently, and is just a pure gamer. She also has a dirty serve that can score points as well.
Kwiatkowski has a really heavy arm and she can swing from both pins. This past weekend at the Prep Dig Resolution she really elevated her game. Sting 17 Gold has a few big time athletes that are still available in middleand outside just to name a couple.
Messenger is another fun athlete with a ton of spring who can play all the way around. She will be looked at to score points for VC in the front and backrow. I’ve seen her at the high school and club level – she is consistent with plenty of intangibles in her favor.
Long, athletic, and a big left handed swing. Roush has a high contact point on the right side and is a tough matchup for the other side of the net. She’s dynamic where she can hit a variety of tempos and will find a way to score points.
Dean is a pure gamer and is a three sport athlete. She’s competed at the state tournament, winning trophies in soccer and volleyball, while also being a key piece to her high school’s ranked basketball team. She has one speed and that’s all out. Her worth ethic and grit is an intangible that is tough to find.
Another big swing on the right side from a lefty. Kurpeikis played on this 17s last year with Pratt. She knows what high level open competition is all about. She will be a key piece to provide balance on this Adversity team where they could be a dangerous team in any qualifier they compete in.