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:
• If you were looking for meaningful action this past weekend, plus one day, you could find it in Las Vegas, as the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Division I basketball brackets were disclosed, spurring fierce wagering.
If you were looking for meaningful girls volleyball action this past weekend, plus one day, you could find it ONLY in Las Vegas, as the 18s, 17 and 16s played in Session 2 of the Red Rock Classic national qualifier at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center Saturday through Monday.
Because Red Rock was the only big national event on the docket, it attracted more teams than just the usual crowd from the SCVA, making the divisions deep and deeply contested.
• The 18 Open division at Red Rock consisted of 34 teams, 11 of which had previously qualified in Open for the USAV 18s Junior National Championship at the end of next month in Columbus.
Why so many qualified teams? Red Rock is the 13th 18 Open national qualifier played this season, with only three 18 Open events remaining: MEQ in Indy and PNQ in Spokane this weekend and next, respectively; and the re-scheduled, re-located, weather-affected Sierra NQ in Sacramento. By the way, the weather is awful in Sac-town today — winds, atmospheric river … you name it — but should be much improved by Friday when the tourney commences.
When a national qualifier is contested near the end of the qualifier season, it is usually the case that the Open fields are either small, as teams with bids withdraw; or overflowing with qualified teams.
Red Rock went the overflow way.
• Of the 11 previously-qualified Open teams, all 11 finished among the top 14 at Red Rock. That left three bid-seeking teams in the top 14. One, TAV 18 Black, parlayed a 15-13 Game 3 win over Coast 18-1 on Day 1 into an eventual T-5 for an Open bid. After finishing in a tie for first on Day 1, TAV went 0-2 in its Sunday pool, only to remain in contention thanks to a crossover win over Idaho Crush 18 Bower. That landed the Dallas team in a 3-team Gold pool where none of the members had a bid. Imagine that. The other three, three-team pools had every team with bids, but this pool was bereft. TAV got its bid when it swept a Houston Juniors 18 Elite team that needed one win to punch its…
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