Saturday, 13 April 2024

International Volleyball

Tawa’s Girls Club Dots: Stormy weather in Florida; 3 more qualify in Boston

Tawa’s Girls Club Dots: Stormy weather in Florida; 3 more qualify in Boston

This is “Dots,” VolleyballMag’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.

• Another 18s qualifier happened this past weekend. Three more teams locked themselves into the Open division for 18s Junior Nationals in Baltimore at the end of April.

The three that got it done were Dallas Skyline 18 Royal, Pohaku 18.1 and Circle City 18 Purple. They finished 1-3-5 in the Open Division at the Boston Volleyball Festival. Previous qualifiers 1st Alliance 18 Gold and Rockwood Thunder 18 Elite placed second and tied for third, respectively.

Skyline went undefeated over the three-day event. That same team went 5-3 at Triple Crown, with four of its wins in three sets. On any given weekend…Volleyball can be like that. That’s why a team, or a player for that matter, should not determine self-worth in the sport based on a single snapshot. There’s always next weekend. And the weekend after that.

The play of OHs Brianna Watson and Lauren Perry carried the day for Skyline in Boston. Libero McKenna Brand also was excellent.

“She amazes me each and every tournament,” said coach Robert Brown. “She took it up a notch to help us secure our bid.”

• Pohaku went 7-2 to qualify. The Kansas City club lost only once, to a club from Long Island, before falling to Skyline in a Gold Pool. Key to qualifying was a 3-1 record in three-set matches, which had been a bane for this team in previous tournaments.

Coach Conan Salanoa said that Boston was “do or die” for his club, which was committed to Open or nothing for Junior Nationals. Boston was its last legitimate chance to get to the dance, as it will go to PNQ in two weeks with a depleted roster.

There were times on Day 1 when it felt like die was much more likely than do. The team was 1-1 after two matches, with that hiccup (15-13 in the third) to CALI, which stands for Club Ace Long Island. Pohaku needed a win over Legacy 18-1 Adidas to stay in contention and got it in straight sets, behind RS Nela Misipeka, who was on fire.

The win actually put Pohaku in the first position in a three-way 2-1 tie, but it came at a price. The team lost Misipeka (ankle) and one of its liberos, Riley Ourth (finger) to injury.

Pohaku took care of business on the second day, looked down a spot in the Gold Pools with two wins out of the gate, then outlasted previously-qualified MN…

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