This is “Dots,” VolleyballMag.com’s weekly look at 10 things in club volleyball, past or present, that interest me and hopefully will interest you. Look for Dots every Tuesday through Junior Nationals this summer:
- I blinked and qualifier season is upon us.Yes, the 18s qualifiers have been here since MLK weekend (with approximately 25 teams qualified already in 18 Open), and Northern Lights continued to mix things up with a 17 Open qualifier in January, five weeks before any other national qualifier in this age group.
Wednesday is March 1 and for 20+ years I have associated the month of March with the start of qualifier season. In that spirit, I am thrilled to inform you that the Northeast Qualifier gets underway with 17s this weekend while the Sunshine Classic in Orlando has both 16s and 17s.
NEQ’s 23-team 17 Open field is headed byRockwood Thunder 17 Elite, which is a top 15 team nationally.Houston Skyline 17 Royal and Metro 17 Travel are two other highly-regarded teams that could make serious noise in Philly.
Down south at Sunshine, the fields are fuller for Open, with 39 teams in 17 Open and 40 in 16 Open. Both fields are robustly talented. A5 17-Jing, TAV 17 Black, OT T 17 Aaron and Triangle 17 Black, all top 10-type teams, are in 17 Open, while Triple Crown runner up Houston Skyline 16 Royal headlines the 16 Open field, which also includes OT T 16 JP, tough Michigan Elite 16 Mizuno and resurgent A5 16 Gabe.
• Before last weekend, there were only three teams qualified in Open for Junior Nationals in Chicago: A5, Dynasty 17 Black and Premier Nebraska 17 Gold, all from that January Northern Lights qualifier.
Well, they have company this week, because the Sunshine Classic held its qualifier last weekend for the 13-15s age groups. Now the middle school divisions are too young for us, but we cover 15s…
And the three teams to qualify are:
1. Mintonette m. 51
2. Tribe 15 Elite Cardinal
3. Austin Skyline 15 Royal
Mintonette, which went 5-4 at Triple Crown the weekend before, redeemed itself with a 10-0 showing at Sunshine, including a win over an Austin Skyline team that beat it in Kansas City. Max Miller’s team defeated Tribe 15 Elite Cardinal, the best South Florida team in many years, in the championship match.
Miller said that the team that showed up in Orlando is more like the team that won 14 Open at Junior Nationals last summer than the team that went 5-4 at Triple Crown.
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