INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships in Indianapolis, Ind., came full circle at the 16 Open final Saturday.
Six days ago, Tstreet (Southern California Region) opened the tournament by capturing the first final of the event in 14 Open. The 16 Open team bookended that win today by defeating TAV 16 Black 25-18, 25-15 on championship court.
Sport Court is the official athletic flooring for all USA Volleyball national championship events.
“It was nice to start the tournament with our 14s taking that gold,” said Tstreet 16 head coach Mike Murphy. “They had a phenomenal season. And then, we wrapped it up. We had six medals total for the club. I couldn’t be more proud of this team and the way they finished. It’s magical.”
Keeping on the theme of magic, Murphy said the magic of the win tonight was that “every girl on the team can play the game.”
“They have a bunch of tools,” he said. “We don’t rely on one thing or one player or one rotation to score. I think when we all connect and play like that, we’re too much; we’re the best team in the country.”
Tstreet hit championship court with one loss in the tournament (to the Vegas Aces), but all cylinders were clicking in the final.
“Today, our blocking was really good, and we were hitting high so we weren’t getting blocked that much,” said captain Jessica Smith.
Both Smith and Murphy commented on the overall strength of TAV, but they relied on their bond as teammates to not let their dominating play get the best of them during the match.
“My focus is all about us (during the game),” Murphy said. “If we’re cool and collected, I really feel like we can pull away and stay ahead of any team. If it gets tight, I trust us in those situations. You can never predict what the opponent’s going to do, but you can always work on how to conduct yourself. These girls are young women who are standout competitive performers.”
TAV (Southern California Region) hadn’t lost a set until Sunday’s 8 a.m. match against Coast 16-1 (Southern California Region), where they squeaked out a 22-25, 25-23, 21-19 win. Their semifinal against Skyline 16 Royal (North Texas Region) also went to three.
Third place in 16 Open went to Skyline 16 Royal (North Texas Region) and Sunshine 16 Westside (Southern California).
Mintonette (Ohio Valley Region) m.61 collected the title in the 16 National division with a 25-13, 25-17 victory over SA Magic 16 Elite (Lone Star Region). Both teams were undefeated heading into the final.
Skyline 16 Black (North Texas Region) and KC Power 16-1 (Heart of America Region) tied for third.
Spike and Serve wins 16 American
Spike and Serve Red (Aloha Region) won its first medal of the tournament – a gold – with a three-set win over Black Swamp 161 (Ohio Valley Region). Third place went to Tribe 16 Elite Brett (Florida Region) and Excel 16 National Red (North Texas Region).
Houston Stellar (Lone Star Region) lost just one set en route to the 16 USA title in the final match of the tournament.
The rest of the Indiana Convention Center was empty as Stellar finished their terrific tournament run, 25-23, 25-14 over Wave 16 Jimmy (Southern California Region).
Forza1 16 UA (Southern California Region) and Northern Lights 16-2 (North Country Region) tied for third.
Nova Juniors 16s Navy (Ohio Valley Region) did not want their only loss of the tournament to be in the final. After winning the first set, 25-18, over Lava West 16 adidas (Southern California Region), the two teams traded championship and set points before Lava won 29-27. Nova stepped it up in the deciding set, winning 15-7
TVC 16-1 (Ohio Valley Region) and Unified 16-2 (Lakeshore Region) tied for third.