Tawa’s Daily Dots: Metro 18 Travel, the record for passes, wearing tights

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Bergen Reilly

Daily Dots (February 23, 2021): Club or high school volleyball factoids, notions and ideas to impress your friends (or not)

Earlier today VolleyballMag.com published its first 18s club rankings of 2021. Twenty-five teams were assigned a ranking. Here’s a little more on a team that just missed:

Metro 18 Travel (Washington D.C.)

Metro has already qualified in Open, adding to a streak that started at 14s and was interrupted only by COVID-19. Eleven players return for Silvia Johnson’s squad, led by libero Milan Gommillion, setter Zoe Huang and pins Salem Yohannes, Rachel Richardson, Elayna Duprey and Grace Kelly. Look for big blocking newcomer Chidinma Onukwu to make a difference in the middle. 

• The recent closure of the American Sports Centers in Anaheim — the largest indoor wood court facility in the U.S. — left the Southern California Indoor Volleyball Hall of Fame without a home. Forza1 Volleyball in Temecula to the rescue! The plaques and displays now adorn the club’s facility.

Kairos 16 Elite will be a team to watch this year. The squad, which is based in South Dakota, boasts one of the nation’s top sophomore setters in Bergen Reilly. It also has two middles, 6-3 Brogan Beck and quick and explosive Maddie Paulson, who could be the best middles in the state next fall.

• In Wisconsin, West Bend has two high schools, East and West. That’s not unusual. What’s unusual is that both schools share one building. The schools were formed in 1970 as separate entities in order to maximize the opportunity for athletic participation. Kids born on even-numbered dates go to East and play for the Suns. Those born on odd-numbered dates go to West and play for the Spartans. The eldest sibling determines where everyone goes for the sake of continuity.

Because the two schools draw from the identical population, you would think they’d have similar sports histories. Not in volleyball. West Bend East has made 17 appearances at the state tournament with six championships. West Bend West has made 6 appearances with no titles.

• Scanning the calendar, there don’t appear to be many national-type tournaments set for this weekend. The Capitol Hill Classic, postponed from President’s Day Weekend and moved from D.C.to Atlanta, starts on Friday but will not be overflowing with teams like you’d expect typically. It also runs into MAPL-Raleigh, which is 400 miles up the East Coast. Typically, clubs along the Atlantic Seaboard will go to both events. Yet another thing disrupted by COVID-19!

• Speaking of MAPL, 11 years ago this month, the Raleigh Convention Center saw Triangle Volleyball Club and its guests set a Guinness World Record for most successful passes over the net with 110 (forearm passes with a different individual making each pass). That broke the previous record of 92 set in Germany four years before.  Do you want to see history in the making? Click on the link here: https://www.trianglevolleyball.org/about-us/guinness-world-record. Watch how the streak ends…you’ll be interested to know that the person who bungled the final contact is the father of one of the best liberos I’ve ever covered in my 20 years…

TAV 18 Black middle Tyrah Airial (USC) will miss the season due to a knee injury. When I first saw her play, as a 15-year-old, she was known as Tyrah Nwachi. Tyrah was subsequently adopted officially by her stepdad. Ahhhh.

VC Nebraska 18 Elite was expected to be one of the top teams in the country, and may yet be, but there have been challenges at the start of the season. MB Bekka Allick (Nebraska) is out with an ankle injury. OH Mya Larson (Montana State) is out with an abdominal injury. The team’s libero missed time due to COVID and another middle is playing basketball. “We’ll be rolling by March,” club director Maggie Griffin predicted.

A word about exaggerating your height or jumping ability:

“Don’t.”

1. College coaches will know it’s wrong. They won’t trust you or your club’s recruiting coordinator. Is that any way to start a relationship?

2. Be honest with yourself. You might not be able to grow another inch, but when you add one to your jump through hard work rather than a keystroke, you bring integrity to the recruiting process.

• Did you notice that more and more players are wearing tights rather than spandex? Anybody know why? It may have started with more muscular players who didn’t find short shorts comfortable, but now all body types are wearing them. Said one club director: “I can’t tell if they’re a fad; if they help with diving and floors burns; if they keep legs warm; or if it’s just so girls don’t have to pull at their spandex shorts all the time!”

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