LAS VEGAS — Saturday marked the opening of the 34th annual SCVA Las Vegas Classic. VolleyballMag.com is on hand all weekend to let you know what you need to know from the day’s happenings. Below, we highlight the top plays we saw from Day 1, as well as some standout players who caught our attention and then we finish with a quick wrap of the day’s action.
What we saw and liked
Even though Apex1 18 Black lost the point to HJV 18 Premier and still led 22-21, we saw Apex’s Rachel Lucie with that great one-arm stabbie at middle back to keep the rally going. Great up!
We caught A4 Volley 18 Purple’s setter Sophia Lambros make a beautiful connection with middle Emerson Flornes, who sent the ball down in zone 5 for the kills against Pakmen 18U Gold. Lambros received the pass in transition and jump set a perfect quick ball to Flornes. What a play!
Mizuno Long Beach 18 Rockstar’s junior setter Kami Miner abused Five Rings with her deception early in set one. Miner went up for the set in transition, appeared to be going to the outside only to set the ball over smoothly as it fell in the middle of all six players for five rings. That was nasty!
Sticking with Long Beach 18, what a serve by middle Laila Ricks to end the contest with Five Rings. Ricks delivered a short-serve to zone 3 that fell to the floor for the clincher. What a sweet serve!
Luckily, we didn’t miss seeing ARVC 17 Adidas setter Erin Jones deliver her perfect back set to Maalese Wallace. Wallace sent the ball down for the kill and what a great ball by Jones playing against Spiral. That was a money set!
We watched Rancho Valley 17 Premier’s middle Mya Galvan let out a lot of aggression as she ripped down an overpass against Forza1 17 North UA. That was mean!
Not long after, Forza 17 North setter Ana Bia Rosa da Silva caught our eye. She had a perfectly-timed set over to caught Rancho Valley off guard. Head’s-up play!
Same court, we saw Hailee Watts end the match in Forza’s favor with an ace that was delivered on a laser. What a serve!
We were there to see Juggernaut 16 National libero Camryn Haluza put up a nice bump set that that was converted into a kill against SynergyForce. Way to help any way you can!
It was Red Rock 16 Dwight’s right side Emma O’Reilly with the set 1 winner against Hive. She sent the ball through the seam and down to give Red Rock the opening set 25-21. That’s the way to finish it off!
Mizuno M1 16s outside Tiara Diamond had one of the most impressive kills of the day that we saw. She went up high and sent it down the line hard. It caused a huge reaction from the bench as M1 cut Encore’s lead to 8-7. What a kill!
City Beach 17s middle Jacquelyn Moore didn’t miss her chance as SIVBC sent an overpass over. Moore emphatically sent it straight down and we mean straight down. Great contact and power!
Fortunately, we didn’t miss the way set 1 against Genuine ended for LAVA West 15 Adidas. On that play, LAVA’s Brooklyn Stearns went up on the right side and delivered a resounding roof to hand LAVA the set. That was a shutdown block!
Who caught our attention
Torrey Stafford, Beach Cities 15 VBC, OH — We haven’t seen every player in the 15s age group in So Cal but we are already declaring Stafford the best in the class at this point. She’s legit! She has some serious hops that had her going over the block with ease. But that wasn’t the only thing. Stafford has some nice ball control skills both in serve receive and during the rally. She’s one to watch.
Kaley Mathews, Absolute Black 15-1, S — A bright future only begins to describe Mathews. She’s tall, smooth and smart. She delivers a nice ball and she made a couple heads-up plays that shows she knows what she’s doing out there.
Isabella Iregui, PSVBC 15-Dan, L — From what we saw, blockers for PSVBC should not try to play the tip over their heads. Why? Iregui will have them covered. She was making some nice digs and seemed to be in the right spot a lot of the time.
Hailee Watts, Forza1 North 17 UA, OH — We mentioned Watts above with her serve to give Forza a win over rival Rancho Valley. But she was great on the attack as well. She has a fluid arm swing and she’s also deceptively lanky. It made her tough to slow down.
Jasmine Weidemann, Mizuno M1 17s, S — We really liked the energy Weidemann plays with. We also liked the way she set, often jump setting and delivering clean balls for her hitters.
Wrapping up day one
We watched 18 and 17 Open Elite, as well as 16 and 15 Open as action kicked off. Here are some notes on those divisions.
In 18 Open Elite, it was straight forward. Of the eight pools, the No. 1 team went 3-0 in seven of them. The exception was Spiral 18 UA losing in Pool 7 and going 2-1. Spiral finished in a three-way tie at 2-1 and came in third. But Spiral was one of four third-place finishers to still advance thanks to the format. Apex1 18 Black caught the same break. Apex is the only 18s team with an Open bid to Reno in the field but went 1-2 on Saturday. Apex is still alive however, moving on from third place like Spiral.
It was a different story in 17 Open Elite, as top-seeded San Gabriel Elite 17 Roshambo was taken down by Mizuno M1 17s. M1 went 3-0 for first while SG was 2-1 and advanced in second. City Beach 17s had a great day, going 2-1 and advancing as the No. 4 team from Pool 5. NNJ 17 Jason and HJV 17 Premier both finished third in their respective pools but were the fortunate third-place finishers to get to move on and stay in the hunt.
There were some mixed results in 16 Open. HRVC 16 Hurricanes turned in a performance, as it went 3-0 as the No. 4 team in Pool 12. Pool 11 was turned on its head, as AZ EVJ 16-2 went 3-0 and won the pool as the No. 3 team. Nor Cal Blue 16-2 went 2-1 as the No. 4 and advanced from the same pool. Academy 16 Gold, Encore 16-1 and APAC 16-1 were all Nos. 4 teams in their respective pools but all finished in second place to move on.
Checking in on 15 Open, six of the eight No. 1 teams went 3-0 to win their pools. Yet, SCVC 15 Roxy went 0-3 in Pool 4 as the No. 1 team, while Club Cactus 15 Mizuno went 1-2 as the No. 1 team in Pool 8 and finished third. Red Rock 15 Simo, in Pool 4, and Five Starz 15 Debby, in Pool 8, both went 3-0 as No. 3 teams. Vegas Velocity 15 Black, in Pool 4, and 15U White Flash, in Pool 7, both went 2-1 and took second as No. 4 teams.