Daily Dots (March 15, 2021): Club or high school volleyball factoids, notions and ideas to impress your friends (or not)

• Starting in 2008, Under Armour partnered with the American Volleyball Coaches Association to put on a high volleyball All-America match. The AVCA created a nationwide panel of high school coaches to choose 24 exceptional athletes to star in the match while ensuring that the seniors selected were geographically diverse. The players were feted during NCAA Division I Final Four week, given great UA gear and played their match on the same court where the NCAA champion was crowned.

Under Armour made a change that started with the 2019 match. It moved the event away from the Final Four site to Orlando, the site of UA’s annual All-America football game.

COVID canceled this year’s match but Under Armour plans to bring the match back to Orlando next year, but with a different process for selecting the participants. Rather than having coaches choose the All-America players, the teams apparently will be picked from participation in combine-like events. As a consequence, the AVCA has withdrawn its support for the program.

“We will stay in the ‘recognition of excellence’ space with both high school players and coaches and are excited about new options this opens for us on that front,” said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer.
Sue Dillon, the 16s coach at Lake Murray VBC in South Carolina, has been very active in supplying great stuff for the Daily Dots. Today, she shares news of the club’s annual Parent v. Parent Tournament. It’s a pool play format, where the parents play and the players coach. Are the parents better than their kids? I’ll let you decide by watching this video from last year’s event.

• Did you know that the 2014 USA Women’s National Team was the first to strike women’s gold on the world stage? Coached by Karch Kiraly, led by OH Jordan Larson and captained by Christa Harmotto, the USA defeated China for the FIVB World Championship. In 62 years of international competition, USA women had finished second five times: twice at the FIVB World Championships and three times at Olympic Games, in 1984, 2008 and 2012.

Qualifier predictions…genius or dope?

On Thursday, I predicted the 15 teams that would qualify in Open between the 15-16s at MEQ and 15s-17s at Sunshine.

How did I do?

Six right out of 15. Forty percent accuracy.

Is that good or bad? Well, in my opinion, it’s just okay. I like to be at 60 percent or better before I claim genius status. It’s true that, in a 48-team field, odds aren’t great that any random team will snag one of just three qualifier spots, but the teams I pick tend not to be random; they are usually considered teams that should qualify in Open at some point during the spring.

Now, to be fair to me, the results could have been so much better! Of the nine teams I picked that did not qualify, ALL played in Gold pools on Sunday and seven finished no more than one win from the semifinals. Three, Lions 15-1, A5 17-Jing and No Name VBC 16 Sarah, had two chances to qualify with one more win. One more, NKYVC 15-1 Tsunami, tied for fifth place, but lost just one match.

To sum up, 40 percent isn’t good enough, but it could have been SO MUCH BETTER!

• Below are the teams I picked to click this past weekend, with their final placement:

MEQ – 15 Open
Dynasty 15 Black – 2nd
Lions 15-1 – 4th
NKYVC 15-1 Tsunami – T-5
MEQ – 16 Open
KC Power 16-1 – 1st
Drive Nation 16 Red – 3rd
Milwaukee Sting 16 Gold – T-9
Sunshine – 15 Open
Madfrog 15 Green – 1st
A5 15-Bob – 2nd
Metro 15 Travel – T-7
Sunshine – 16 Open
Legacy Adidas 16-1 – 1st
OT 16 J Will  — T-5
Name VBC 16 Sarah –
Sunshine – 17 Open
A5 17-Jing – 4th
OTVA 17 O Roberto – T-5
OTVA 17 T Jason
– T-5

• Here are the teams that actually qualified this weekend at national qualifiers, with their final records:

MEQ – 15 Open
KC Power 15-1 – 1st (9-1)
Dynasty 15 Black
– 2nd (9-1)
Rockwood Thunder 15 Elite – 3rd (9-1)
MEQ – 16 Open
KC Power 16-1 – 1st (10-0)
1st Alliance 16 Silver – 2nd (9-1)
Drive Nation 16 Red – 3rd (9-1)
MEQ – 16 USA
Tejas 16 Black – 1st (10-1)
Mintonette m.62
– 2nd (8-3)
Milwaukee Sting 16 Black– 3rd (9-1)
MEQ – 16 American
Alamo 16 Elite – 1st (11-0)
Sunshine – 15 Open
Madfrog 15 Green – 1st (10-0)
A5 15-Bob – 2nd (9-1)
OT 16 T Randy – 3rd (9-1)
Sunshine – 15 USA
MPV 15’s Max
– 1st (9-1)
USA South 15 Premier Purple – 2nd (8-2)
SA Juniors 15 Adidas – 3rd (9-1)
Sunshine – 16 Open
Legacy Adidas 16-1 – 1st (10-0)
A5 16-1 Gabe – 2nd (9-1)
HJV 16 Elite – 3rd (7-2)
Sunshine – 16 USA
Gainesville 16 Elite – 1st (10-0)
A5 16-Marc – 2nd (8-2)
SA Juniors 16 Adidas – 3rd (9-2)

Sunshine – 16 American
305 VBC 16 National Elite
– 1st (10-0)
Sunshine – 17 Open
Houston Skyline 17 Royal – 1st (10-0)
Madfrog 17 Green – 2nd (9-1)
Metro 17 Travel – 3rd (9-1)
Sunshine – 17 USA
A5 Mizuno 17-Kelly – 1st (9-1)
Texas Pistols 17 Black  — 2nd (9-1)
TJVBC 17 Nike Pro – 3rd (9-1)
Sunshine – 17 American
Ocala power 17 Elite
– 1st (10-0)
JJVA 18 Daniel

• Forty-seven 18s teams, mostly from Florida, traveled to Orlando for a non-bid tournament at the Sunshine Volleyball Classic. JJVA 18N Daniel went 10-0 to win the title, led by outsides Amy Burkhardt and Jalen McBride, who combined for 171 kills while hitting over .400 collectively. McBride also had 71 digs, 20 aces and passed 2.44. Libero Jessica Lary had 84 digs and passed 2.37. Setter Mollie Lawrence averaged over 12 assists per set and chipped in 52 digs and 16 aces.

Despite winning the non-bid tournament, JJVA 18N Daniel is headed to 18 Junior Nationals in Columbus as an 18 USA qualifier at the Florida National Qualifier earlier in the season.

• Two freshmen, considered among the best in the country, helped their clubs to qualifying this weekend. At the Sunshine Volleyball Classic, this kill from spectacular OH Avery Jackson (off the set from Carson Eickenloff), clinched 15 Open for Madfrog 15 National Green:

In Kansas City, this kill from Dynasty 15 Black OH Skyler Pierce brought the house down:

• In 2003, I traveled south of Houston for the Pearland Volleyball Tournament, one of Texas’ premier high school volleyball events. In addition to covering the action (I think Amarillo won), I asked more than 20 players what their favorite food was. I was expecting to hear “pizza” a lot or “mac and cheese,” but a majority of the players named a food that, at the time, I had never heard of before. Can you guess it?

Chips and Queso.

Yes, it was my first-ever extended trip to Texas. I have since enjoyed this “delicacy” many times. Best food ever? I don’t think so. Don’t these kids know about yellowtail sashimi?

• Back in May, I asked college coaches for their best recruiting tip summed up in one sentence. Here’s what one coach emailed back:

“If I were to get hurt and never be able to play volleyball again, would I want to go to school here?”

That hit home hard for me on Friday when my middle child, Casey, a freshman wide receiver at Rice University in Houston, suffered a lisfranc dislocation and fracture to his left foot during spring practice. Recovery time, after multiple expected surgeries, is 11-15 months. It may be career ending. He now confronts the very same question ALL recruits must ponder carefully. Does he want to stay at Rice if he can’t play football? It CAN’T be about the coaches or the uniforms or the winning or the playing time. Try to go to the school that sings to you. That way, you’ll always be happy, even if volleyball doesn’t turn out the way you dreamed it would be.

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