The 2017 USA Girls’ 18s Junior National Championships are nearly here, with competition to begin on Friday, April 21 at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas.
Over the past few years, more divisions of play have been added – with the growing nature of the sport. There are now five playing divisions in club volleyball: Open, National, USA, American and Patriot. With the five divisions, they are all run differently at Junior Nationals – with respect to the number of teams competing and how they qualify for the tournament.
Here is everything you need to know about each division:
The open division in club volleyball is the top level of play out of the five, with the competition being more rigorous. There are 36 teams that will compete against each other for the top prize.
To qualify, a team must earn a bid by participating in a national qualifier open division event – in which the team outright wins the national qualifier or earns an At-Large Bid after competing at a national qualifier event.
Each qualifier has an allotted number of bids they can hand out – based on the amount of teams that participate. Below is a chart of how many bids are awarded at a national qualifier based off participation in the event.
The national division is to showcase regionally strong teams, with the purpose of allowing more teams the opportunity to participate at Junior Nationals. In this division, 48 teams will compete for the first place position in the nation.
To qualify, a team must earn their bid at the teams regional qualifier or earn their bid through the Re-allocation process – which means that some regions may not use all of their bids so they are reassigned to another region.
The USA division is, like the national division, showing off their regionally strong teams, however, their qualification process is much different.
The 48 teams that will compete at the USA division of Junior Nationals, the teams must either qualify from a bid earned at a national qualifier or earn their bid from their region through the Re-Allocation process.
All of the USA Division national qualifiers allotted three bids.
The American Division is the last division that you can qualify for at a national qualifier. All American Division national qualifiers have one bid open at each qualifier.
With 64 teams competing the American Division is the largest at Junior Nationals. To qualify, your team must earn a bid at a national qualifier, at a regional tournament or through the re-allocation process.
At the Patriot Division, there is a soft-cap of teams at 48 with the possibility of more teams to join, based off multiples of four teams entering and available court space.
The tournament serves as an end of the season tournament for the teams that enter – you do not have to qualify to enter this division.
What happens if a team rejects their bid to nationals?
- A trickle down process begins, which means that with qualifiers that offer two bids the lowest a team can be presented with a bid is fourth, while a qualifier with three bids offered can trickle down to the sixth place finisher to award a bid.
- In the American Division, the farthest down a team can be awarded a bid through the trickle down process is fourth place. If an American bid is won at a region tournament then the team turns around to win a national qualifier – the national qualifier bid will supersede the regional bid, returning the bid to the region for re-allocation.