The 17s division of the Badger Region Qualifier was tight. Some of the best teams in the state battled to qualify for nationals. This is very early in the qualifier season for all age divisions but 18s, so these bids…
The 17s division of the Badger Region Qualifier was tight. Some of the best teams in the state battled to qualify for nationals. This is very early in the qualifier season for all age divisions but 18s, so these bids were key to lock down. While some teams are expected to earn higher bids at big qualifiers, this tournament showed just how deep and competitive the 17s age division is.
Milwaukee Sting 17 Gold – National Bid
This Sting Gold team is simply elite. Every aspect of their game is high-level and dominant. No one got more than 15 points on them throughout the two-day qualifier. It is safe to say they took care of BIDness. They are led by setter, and recent North Dakota State commit Emily Bruss Emily Bruss 5'9" | S Pulaski | 2024 State WI . She is fast, smart, and seems to have an insane amount of endurance.
The defenders on this team are crucial to the team’s success. Claire Luoma Claire Luoma 5'8" | DS/L Franklin | 2024 State #77 Nation WI (Clemson) and Jae Fitting Jae Fitting 5'8" | DS/L Cedarburg | 2024 State WI (Loyola-Chicago) have been dominant performers on this team for years and both add value every point they are on the court. This team is stacked with dynamic pins including Sophia Wendlick Sophia Wendlick 6'0" | OH DSHA | 2024 State WI (Creighton), Melia Johnson Melia Johnson 6'2" | OH Slinger | 2024 State WI , Kendall Heger Kendall Heger 6'0" | RS Muskego | 2024 State WI , and Olivia Kwiatkowski Olivia Kwiatkowski 6'0" | OH Oconomowoc | 2024 State WI . Each pin can play all six rotations and has a lot of experience on the court.
This list hasn’t even included their explosive middles Anna Bjork Anna Bjork 6'3" | MB Oconomowoc | 2024 State #48 Nation WI (Notre Dame) and Rylea Alvin Rylea Alvin 6'2" | MB Randolph | 2024 State WI (Northern Illinois). Olivia Wyma Olivia Wyma 6'4" | MB Arrowhead | 2024 State WI is another dynamic athlete who can play out of the middle and on the right side. They will be looking to upgrade their bid and are talented enough to do so.
FC Elite 17 Navy – American Bid
FC Elite walked away from the qualifier with an American Bid. After an electric point-for-point battle with Sting 17 Black, they fell to 17 Gold in the championship match. This team won the National Division of USAV Girl’s Junior National Championships last year and return many key players. This is another team that will be in the hunt to earn a higher bid at upcoming qualifiers.
Pin hitter Annalise Patchett Annalise Patchett 6'0" | OH Fox Valley Lutheran | 2024 State WI was simply unstoppable at the tournament. She seems to fly higher and hit harder every time I see her play. Annalise is incredibly well-rounded and is a huge impact player in all six rotations. Setter Emerson Van Lannen Emerson Van Lannen 5'10" | S Appleton North | 2024 State WI (Kansas State) runs the court like a pro. She is physical and athletic on the court and will hustle on every play. Elle Kennedy Elle Kennedy 5'5" | DS/L Howards Grove | 2024 State WI was quick and fearless on defense. She is a high-level first contact for this team.
Olivia Baierl Olivia Baierl 5'8" | DS/L Howards Grove | 2024 State WI (Illinois State) was playing on the pin at the qualifier, and she impressed me with her low-error and gritty performance on both offense and defense. Emma Nilson Emma Nilson 6'1" | MB Fox Valley Lutheran | 2024 State WI (Middle Tennessee State) also really impressed me with her blocking and engagement on offense. Other key players included right sides Madison York Madison York 6'1" | RS Manitowoc Lincoln | 2024 State WI and Madison Daley Madison Daley 5'10" | RS Xavier | 2025 State WI and middle hitter Olivia Neumann Olivia Neumann 6'3" | MB Xavier | 2024 State WI (UW-Green Bay).
Sting 17 Black – American Bid
Sting 17 Black showed their versatility and competitiveness at the Badger Qualifier. They went head to head in a thriller match with FC Elite 17 Navy. One thing I love about this team is they all battle together throughout matches and clearly play for each other on the court. No single person carries the team; every athlete is critical to their success.
Let’s start with the defenders. Georgia Koscielak Georgia Koscielak 5'6" | DS/L Whitefish Bay | 2024 State WI and Alexandra Prange Alexandra Prange 5'3" | DS/L Brookfield Academy | 2024 State WI are lights-out athletes. They are both gritty, fearless, and scrappy on defense. The pins on this team are very dynamic and can play well across the front row. Ellie Schumacher Ellie Schumacher 5'9" | OH Lake Country Lutheran | 2024 State WI , Peri Subat Peri Subat 6'0" | OH Sheboygan Falls | 2024 State WI , Briana Binagi Briana Binagi 5'10" | OH Kettle Moraine | 2024 State WI , and Gabby Wold Gabby Wold 6'0" | OH Arrowhead | 2024 State WI are all impactful athletes that can play all six rotations and on either pin.
In the middle, Ella Skogman Ella Skogman 6'2" | MB Waukesha West | 2024 State WI was relentless as a blocker. She pushed pin to pin and was nearly impenetrable at the qualifier. Natalia Farrugia Natalia Farrugia 6'0" | MB Mukwonago | 2024 State WI was dynamic on offense. Both Ella and Natalia were engaged on offense and earned momentum-changing points. Both setters, Jordan Bauer Jordan Bauer 5'10" | S New Berlin West | 2024 State WI and Greta Pleuss Greta Pleuss 5'9" | S St. Mary's Springs Academy | 2024 State WI ran the offense effectively.
Madtown 17-1 – Freedom Bid
Madtown really impressed me. It put several athletes on my radar that hadn’t previously been. Morgan Van Wie Morgan Van Wie 6'0" | S Waunakee Community | 2024 State WI was key to Madtown’s success. She ran a 5-1 and was a consistent force on the court. Morgan hustled on every play and was relentless in her pursuit of the ball. She is very athletic and definitely impressed throughout the tournament. Right side Emily Hansen was explosive on the pin. She earned points and was disciplined in her block.
Libero Emerson Hackbart Emerson Hackbart 5'6" | DS/L Madison Memorial | 2024 State WI was scrappy and has a clean platform. She is always covering and ready for anything that comes over the net. Middle hitter, Anneka Cassel Anneka Cassel 5'10" | MB Waunakee | 2024 State WI , impressed me with her power on offense and discipline on defense. On the pin, Summer Grigg Summer Grigg 5'8" | OH Waunakee | 2024 State WI was offensive and scrappy. She is explosive on the pin and gritty in her play. This team really caught my eye at the Qualifier, and I am excited to watch them play the rest of the season.
FC Elite 17 Blue – Freedom Bid
FC Elite 17 Blue played very tough throughout the tournament. They battled against some of the top teams in the state and walked away with a bid to nationals. Setter Leia Kersten Leia Kersten S Neenah | 2024 WI kept the ball moving for her team. She has soft hands and works hard for her team. Libero Lily Berrens Lily Berrens DS/L Hortonville | 2024 State WI impressed me with her grit and consistency.
Pin hitter Hailey Kobussen Hailey Kobussen 5'9" | OH Kaukauna | 2025 WI was impactful across the court. She took big swings out of the back row and earned points for her team throughout the tournament. Middle blocker, Alivia James Alivia James MB Fond du Lac | 2024 WI , was a key player on the court for FC. She was always calling for the ball and put up a solid block.