With Girls Junior National Championships completed in Detroit, here’s our quick recap of all of the top 17s and 16s teams and their respective college commitments.
As the #3 overall seed, much was expected of Northern Lights 17-1. What they didn’t expect was dropping two matches on day two in pool play, nearly eliminating their opportunity to keep their seed and almost missing out on podium time.
“This tournament was not quite what we expected,” said 6-2 MB/OH and 2019 Iowa commit Blythe Rients. “After day two, we didn’t lose a set. We realized we really needed to step up and play together as a team.”
Indeed. Day 3 opened with wins over Team PowerPlex (Iowa, #7 seed), A5 Mizuno 17-1 (Georgia, #13) and Asics MAVS 17-1 (Kansas, #19). Day 4 got their revenge against Momentous (California, #27), one of the teams they lost to on day 2, in the first round of the gold bracket. NL knocked off Texas Image (#8 seed) in the semifinals, and beat up a tired Top Select (Florida, #6) team, 25-14, 25-16, in the final.
Leading the individual podium honors for Northern Lights was MVP Kennedi Orr, 6-foot setter and 2021 Nebraska commit. Also seeing All-American honors were 6-3 OH/RS Kyndra Hansen (2019 Iowa commit) and libero Marissa Hinkle (2019 UCLA commit).
TAV 17 Blue (Texas, #2 seed overall) took home top honors in 17 USA with a three-set win over LAVA West 17 adidas (California, #9) in the final. Texas Advantage dropped only four sets in their 11-match onslaught of the competition, with MVP Logan Smith, a 2019 commit to Division II Harding. Also on the All-Tournament team from TAV 17 Blue are Samantha Rodgers (Sam Houston State commit) and Libby Hinton (Harding commit).
Michio Chicago 17 National (#3 seed overall) knocked off Adrenaline 17 Rox (Iowa, #6 seed) in straight sets to take the 17 National title with a 9-2 record in Detroit. It was Michio’s 2nd Iowa team in a row they had to defeat, putting away the Iowa Rockets 17R squad in straight sets in the semifinal. Tournament MVP Temitayo Thomas-Ailara will be attending Northwestern University in 2019. Michio Chicago 17 National also placed Charlotte Cronister (Northwestern University, 2019) and Caitlyn McKee (uncommitted) on the All-Tournament team.
UNO Girls 17 Elite (Illinois, #2 overall seed) went 10-1 in the tournament, with a straight-sets win over Bonneville (Idaho, #7 seed) in the final. Marissa Guisti, middle blocker for UNO and 2019 LaSalle commit, was named the tournament MVP. UNO Girls 17 Elite also placed Regan Trueblood (IUPUI, 2019) and Bella Zeman (Wofford, 2019) on the All-Tournament team.
TeamD 17-Red (#1 overall seed), a club program located suburban Detroit, felt right at home with a straight-sets victory over Orange County 17Blue (California, #3 seed). TeamD dropped only a single set, in the semifinals against Seattle Juniors (#4 seed).
Asics MAVS 16-1 (Kansas) took their #6 overall seed and went undefeated during their stay in Detroit, going 11-0 in the process. They knocked off Coast 16-1 (California) in a three-set grind, 25-27, 25-13, 15-9, in the final. Tournament MVP Kendra Wait of Asics MAVS is a 2021 commit to Creighton. Other commitments in the finals were Madison Allen (BYU, 2020), Madi Endsley (2020, Nebraska) and Lindsey Miller (Notre Dame, 2020), all three of which are on Coast 16-1.
A5 Mizuno 16-2 Scott (Georgia), the #3 overall seed in 16 USA, went 10-1 in the tournament to take home top honors in a quick win over Instinct 16 Tigers (Texas). MVP honors went to Kailin Taggart, a 6-3 outside who currently stands as uncommitted, according to the A5 website. She was joined on the All-Tournament team by teammate Hayden McGee, who is a 2020 commit to UT Chattanooga.
Six Pack (Iowa) avenged an earlier loss to fellow Iowa Region club Iowa Rockets 16R by sweeping them in the finals. The Rockets defeated Six Pack only 24 hours earlier in a day 3 pool, also in a sweep. Six Pack was led by Tournament MVP Jada Wills, a 5-10 outside hitter who is uncommitted according to the Six Pack website. She was joined on the All-Tournament team by teammate and 6-6 middle blocker Alayna Yates, who is a 2020 commit to Dayton.
AP 16 Asics (Texas) went 10-2 on their way to a win in the finals of the 16 American tournament. They knocked off Miami Hype 16’s Red in a close two sets, 25-21, 25-21. MVP honors went to Avery Kalsu, a 2020 commit to Tulsa. She was joined on the All-Tournament team by Sarah Nading, a 2020 commit to Abilene Christian.