VolleyballMag.com’s April club national rankings: the 16s

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Club Natonal Rankings 16s 4/15/2021-1st Alliance 16 Silver
1st Alliance 16 Silver

KC Power 16-1 remains atop our 16s national rankings after winning Show Me last weekend, although a compelling case can be made for both Legacy 16-1 Adidas and Drive Nation 16 Red in the top spot. All three have double qualified in Open already, along with 1st Alliance 16 Silver.

We expand our 16s rankings from 25 to 30 teams this time around. The last five teams in the top 30 and first five teams out proved to be the toughest. MAVS KC 16-1, Metro 16 Black, Circle City 16 Purple, Dynasty 16 Black and No Name 16 Sarah are on the outside looking in at present, but are top 30 worthy. Also, keep an eye on pre-season No. 14 Nebraska Elite 16-Top Gun. Tony Carrow’s team falls from the rankings due to injuries and lack of focus, he said, but he insisted that his team would be top five by the end of the year.

Thanks and, without further ado…

16s National Rankings: April 15
1. KC Power 16-1 (Kansas)
March ranking: 1
KC Power has played in two qualifiers and has finished first in two qualifiers. Mike Stowell’s team defeated Drive Nation 16 Red, another contender for the top spot, at MEQ. The team is 39-2 on the season according to AES. All of that justifies keeping Power in the top spot despite two curious losses this past weekend at the Show Me qualifier.

2. Drive Nation 16 Red (Texas)
March ranking: 9
Drive Nation moves within a breath of the top spot after downing Legacy 16-1 Adidas to win Big South recently. Jason Nicholson’s team is 50-4, 10-0 in three-set matches and is one of four teams, five qualifiers in, to have double qualified. 

3. Legacy Adidas 16-1 (Michigan)
March ranking: 2
Legacy’s loss to Drive Nation 16 Red in the final at Big South was its second on the year. Legacy previously won the Sunshine Classic. This team, which has four players eligible to play a year younger, went from July 2019 to February 2021 without a loss.

4. Texas Advantage 16 Black (Texas)
March ranking: 19
TAV went 10-0 last weekend to win NEQ. It defeated 1st Alliance 16 Silver in the championship match. The team is 2-4 versus Drive Nation 16 Red, but has otherwise lost only twice, to Alamo 16 Premier and Dallas Skyline 16 Royal.  OH Kendyl Stowers, a great all-around player, leads the way.

5. 1st Alliance 16 Silver (Illinois)
March ranking: 4
1st Alliance is now 46-3 on the season after a 9-1, second-place run at NEQ in Philly last weekend. Trisha Samolinski’s team also finished second to KC Power 16-1 at MEQ and is one of only two teams to defeat Legacy 16-1 Adidas.

6. Tstreet 16-Curtis (California)
March ranking: 7
Tstreet took third at Big South, behind Drive Nation 16 Red and Legacy 16-1 Adidas, to qualify. Curtis Yoder’s team defeated WAVE 16 Alfee in Atlanta to square the books with its local rival at 2-2 on the year. “One fact about my team is that all players can and have played multiple positions successfully throughout the season,” Yoder said.

7. WAVE 16 Alfee (California)
March ranking: 3
WAVE qualified first time out at Big South. The squad finished fifth, but suffered defeat only once, to local rival Tstreet 16 Curtis. WAVE is 17-1 in the Premier Volleyball League, and now is 2-2 on the year versus Tstreet. “A fun fact about this team is when we put on Tom Petty Radio on our Pandora Channel during practice, the majority of these girls believe they can sing!!!” coach Kevin Hodge said. “Volleyball will be a better route for all of them!”

8. A5 16-Gabe (Georgia)
March ranking: 5
A5 qualified first time out by finished second, behind only Legacy 16-1 Adidas, at the Sunshine Classic. The standings show A5 in eighth alone at Big South, but that’s inaccurate. The team went 7-1, losing only to Top Select 16 Elite Blue, but was excluded from the four-team trickle down bracket for fifth because it had previously qualified. “Our team nickname is the ‘runts,’” coach Gabe Aramian said  “This was chosen by the girls to adequately represent our standing in the club as atypical compared to all the A5 1 teams, which are big, physical, and filled with highlight reel players.  We just grind and find ways to get the job done.”

9. Alamo 16 Premier (Texas)
March ranking: 8
Alamo is 36-8 on the season, but the number in the loss column is deceiving, as this team played a Tour of Texas stop while two of its stars were out due to COVID and lost four times there. The team has tried to qualify only once so far and finished fourth, one out of bid position, at MEQ, where its only losses were to Drive Nation 16 Red and 1st Alliance 16 Silver. Head coach Phil Jackson reports that his team hasn’t played a 16s tournament with a complete roster since Jan. 16.

10. Dallas Skyline 16 Royal (Texas)
March ranking: Team to Watch
Skyline is 35-5 on the year and qualified second last weekend at Show Me in Kansas City. The team is led by setter Harley Kreck, who is Baylor bound; and outside hitters Becca Kelly, who has a hammer of an arm; and Madison Goellner, who stands 6-2, is crafty at the net and, according to head coach Ryan Mitchell, “can pass as good as any big kid I’ve seen.”

11. Premier Nebraska 16 Gold (Nebraska)
March ranking: 13
Premier Nebraska, 29-9 overall, qualified at Show Me last weekend. Elise Fulcher’s team previously placed second in Omaha over President’s Day. The team’s only losses in its age group have come at the hands of KC Power 16-1 and Dallas Skyline 16 Royal. Seven of the team’s 10 players are multi-sport athletes. “If that doesn’t show resilience and dedication to finish in the top 3 at both major tournaments we have played in, I don’t know what does!” Fulcher said. “Their bodies are going through A LOT, but they don’t skip a beat.”

12. Revolution 16 Premier (Arizona)
March ranking: 15
Revolution is 17-6 overall but has lost just once in its age group, to Aspire 16-UA Premier, a loss it recently avenged. The team is seeded first in its age group in the Arizona Region and third for all ages. Marc Swindle’s team will try to qualify at Crossroads and  Red Rock Rave in May.

13. Coast 16-1 (California)
March ranking: 10
Coast has yet to try its hand at qualifying, but is 10-3 in the Premier Volleyball League, finished second behind WAVE 16 Alfee at the PVL President’s Day Tournament and just went 7-0 at the PVL March Challenge. The team has lost locally only to WAVE, Tstreet 16 Curtis and Surfside MB 16 Legends. The latter loss came without setter Zoe Rachow. Coast is 3-0 versus Surfside with Rachow in the lineup.

14. Aspire 16 UA-Premier (Arizona)
March ranking: 11
Aspire is 22-9 on the year playing mostly older teams in the Arizona Region. The team is 2-1 versus Arizona Storm Elite 18 Thunder, for example. Sharon Vanis team will hit the road soon to try to qualify at Far Westerns at the end of the month.

15. Woodlands Revolution 16 Premier (Texas)
March ranking: 21
Woodlands Revolution is 29-3 on the year and recently went 6-2 at Big South, losing only to Tstreet 16 Curtis and WAVE 16-Alfee. The team, which will play this weekend at Lone Star, is very well rounded.  “Our defense is probably our strongest suit, but our consistency and well-rounded team make us tough to beat,” coach Ray Hedden said.

16. Mizuno Northern Lights 16-1 (Minnesota)
March ranking: 24
Lights just qualified at Show Me. This is a team that should be MUCH stronger at the end of the year, when the COVID restrictions that have hampered the team’s training abilities are eased.

17. Hive 16 Gold (Utah)
March ranking: 16
Injuries and basketball conflicts have prevented Hive, which is 23-5 on the year, from playing to its full potential. The team crosses state lines for the first time this weekend to play Lone Star in Dallas, where it is seeded second to last. The majority of our team are multi-sport athletes, which makes us both athletically versatile and late season performers,” coach Sarah Chism said. “We have athletes competing and excelling at volleyball, basketball, beach volleyball and track.”

18. Adidas KiVA 16 Red (Kentucky)
March ranking: 6
KiVA is 37-10 on the year. In its only major tournament in the past month, it went 4-1 at Bluegrass 1, losing only to A5 16-Gabe. The team includes six players who have played together for the past four years.

19. Elevation 16 Butcher (Ohio)
March ranking: Team to Watch
Elevation is 28-6 on the year with two wins each over Munciana Ninjas and NKYVC 16-1 Tsunami. “The team has proven to stay competitive throughout the season and finish among the top at all tournaments despite injuries,” coach Ali Butcher said.

20. Munciana 16 Ninjas (Indiana)
March ranking: 20
The Ninjas haven’t played in about a month, but defeated Adidas KiVA 16 Red last time out, a big win for this scrappy team. “We are fresh off of spring breaks and healthy and ready to grind to AAUs,” coach Randy Gardner said. “This is usually when we start to hit the gas.”

21. Sunshine 16 Los Angeles (California)
March ranking: 23
Sunshine qualified this past weekend at NEQ, going 7-1. Its only loss was to tournament champion TAV 16 Black. Heather Bown’s team has been good, not great, locally, but was really strong in Philly. “The fact that their coach played middle for the USA National team for 16 years is paying off big time at the net with their blocking!” club director Cari Klein said.

22. Houston Juniors 16 Elite (Texas)
March ranking: Team to Watch
HJV made big news when it qualified third at the Sunshine Classic. Tara Cross-Battle’s team went east again for Big South, but the results weren’t quite as good. Day 2 losses to Infinity 16 Adidas and Metro 16 Travel knocked the team out of contention. It finished in a tie for 22nd.

23. Surfside 16 MB Legends (California)
March ranking: Team to Watch
Surfside is 16-4 and ranked second in the Premier Volleyball League after last weekend’s tournament, where it defeated a Coast 16-1 team it had suffered defeats to three times before. “All members of our team contributed to our success that day,” club director Hayley Blanchard said.

24. Top Select 16 Elite Blue (Florida)
March ranking: Team to Watch
Top Select had a great showing at Big South, finishing fourth overall to earn a bid. Sarah Gooch, Nayelis Cabello and Ileyshmi Negron were instrumental to the team’s success. Top Select’s other qualifying attempt, at Sunshine, didn’t go as well. The team went 4-4 and finished 13 in a field of 31.

25. NKYVC 16-1 Tsunami (Kentucky)
March ranking: not ranked
NKYVC went 6-2 on its way to qualifying last weekend at NEQ. Renae Taylor’s team lost only to 1st Alliance 16 Silver and Sunshine 16-LA. Its overall record of 17-12 is deceiving, as the team’s losses have come primarily to teams ranked ahead of it. “We are the definition of NEVER GIVE UP!” Taylor said.

26. Academy Volleyball Cleveland 16 Red (Ohio)
March ranking: Team to Watch
Academy is 22-13 on the year. “We don’t play in weak tournaments,” coach Dan Mihacevich said.  “All 13 losses were against top level competition.  We were probably the closest team to beating KC Power this year at MEQ, with multiple match point chances.”

27. High Tide 16 Elite (Florida)
March ranking: 25
High Tide is 31-10 on the year, 28-5 in 16s tournaments. The team has played in two qualifiers, tying for fifth at the Sunshine Classic and tying for ninth this past weekend at Big South. Fun fact about this team: It is one of the smallest nationally ranked teams, with only 50 total players in the entire club.

28. OTVA 16J Will (Florida)
March ranking: Team to Watch
OT is 29-5 on the year and has placed T-5 at Sunshine and sixth at Big South. This is a talented team with many of the best Floridians in this age group. Coach Will Berdecia thinks his team can make a run for the podium at Junior Nationals.

29. Club V 16 Red Andrew (Utah)
March ranking: Team to Watch
Club V went to Big South and finished seventh. This is a team, led by S/RS Silina Damuni and MB Brielle Ruckert, that should force its way into the top 20 by the end of the season. Andrew Richards’ team will make two more bids to qualify, at Red Rock Rave and Crossroads.

30. Infinity 16 Adidas (Mississippi)
March ranking: 17
Infinity is 21-6 on the year coming off of a 4-4 showing at Big South. Head coach Jenny Hazelwood missed at least one of the matches because she was the color commentator for the CUSA championship match. This team is better than 30 and should get even better with the addition of 6-2 OH/RS Sarah Carnathan, an Austin Peay recruit who had been playing on the 17s.

Dropped out
Former No. 12 Dynasty 16 Black (Kansas)
Former No. 14 Nebraska Elite 16-Top Gun
Former No. 18 Circle City 16 Purple (Indiana)
Former No. 22 Houston Skyline 16 Royal (Texas)

Other teams to watch (in alphabetical order):
A4 Volleyball 16 Juanchi (California)
Absolute 16 Black
(California)
Carolina Union 16 Premier
(North Carolina)
CHAVC 16 Black
(North Carolina)
Circle City 16 Purple
(Indiana)
Cleveland Volleyball Company 16 Black (Ohio)
Colorado Juniors 16Shannon (Colorado)
Dynasty 16 Black
(Kansas)
Houston Skyline 16 Royal (Texas)
HPSTL 16 Royal (Missouri)
Livewire 16 Adidas
(Arizona)
MAVS 816 16-1
(Missouri)
MAVS KC 16-1
(Kansas)
Metro 16 Travel
(Washington D.C.)
Milwaukee Sting 16 Gold (Wisconsin)
Mintonette m. 61 (Ohio)
MN Select 16-1
(Minnesota)
Nebraska Elite 16-Top Gun
(Nebraska)
No Name Sarah 16-1
(Florida)
OTVA 16 O Meg (Florida)
OTVA 16 T Chad (Florida)
Ozark Juniors 16 Elite
(Arkansas)
PVA 16 Elite
(Kansas)
Rockwood Thunder 16 Elite
(Missouri)
Seal Beach 16 Black (California)
SynergyForce 16 James
(California)
Topeka Impact 16-1
(Kansas)
Tri-State Elite 16 Blue
(Ohio)
Union 16-1 UA (Kentucky)
VC United 161 Elite
(Illinois)

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