Daily Dots (May 18, 2021): Club or high school volleyball factoids, notions and ideas to impress your friends (or not)
• As we wait for reports to funnel in from the four qualifiers conducted this weekend, today we’ll spend some time reviewing my predictions from the two qualifiers that wrapped up yesterday, as well as sharing some recruiting “don’ts” in the eyes of college coaches.
• In Spokane at PNQ, Mizuno Long Beach teams won both 17 Open and 16 Open, just as I predicted! Wait! What?
Actually, my picks in these Open divisions were downright putrid.
In 17 Open, I had San Gabriel Elite 17 RoShamBo qualifying and winning it all over Long Beach and SGE, which finished seventh, didn’t even make it to the Gold pools. Long Beach did qualify, as predicted, and, in fact, won the title with a 9-0 mark. One of the best teams nationally, when healthy, Long Beach showed signs this weekend that it could be a factor come June in Vegas.
I wrote on Friday that the third team to qualify would be Rage-Westside 17 Michelle over Vision 17 Gold. It turned out to be Vision getting the third bid, with Rage ending in a tie for ninth.
Also bidding in this division: NPJ Seattle 17 National, a team you would have known last year and in previous years as KJVBC.
In 16 Open, the only team in the field with a bid, Mizuno Long Beach 16 Rockstar, continued its successful run of late with the title after a 9-0 weekend. Of course we did not predict Megan Moenoa’s team, which qualified at Far Western, to win the title in Spokane, instead opting for Absolute 16 Black to qualify and win. Absolute did qualify, as did my pick of Vision 16 Gold, but OJVA 16-1 Gold’s finish one spot out of qualifying denied me being right on all three qualifying teams for the first time this year. Instead, Sudden Impact 16 Thunder “spoiled” things by making it all the way to the championship match. It’s just like SIVBC director Greg Brown, who coaches this team, to do that to me.
• In Vegas, the highlight of the weekend at Red Rock was national No. 2 Houston Skyline 17 Royal defeating No. 1 Sunshine 17-LA in 17 Open not once but twice, including in a three-set final, to capture the Gold Ball.
Did I predict this? Nope! I had Sunshine beating Houston Skyline in three, which is, of course, why just the opposite occurred.
I also wrote this about Coast 17-1 on Friday: “This team has not played to its ranking this year. We do not foresee it happening this weekend. (By the way, we write this knowing that the last time we disrespected a Coast team, it won a national qualifier! Let’s see what this slight does to Rodrigo Suelotto’s team this weekend in Vegas).”
Coast went 6-3 and placed third overall, thus earning its bid. The other two bid recipients were Dallas Skyline 17 Royal and Tstreet 17 Naseri, which I predicted. Two out of three isn’t so bad.
My third pick to click, NOLA Kasey/Jesse 17, tied for 11th. Its losses prior to being eliminated came versus Houston Skyline, Sunshine and Tstreet. In other words, NOLA did not have a favorable path to a bid here …
In 16 Open, I had Coast 16-1 beating Hive 16 Gold for the title. Hive and Coast actually played in the third-place match, with Hive winning. The final ended up being between Tstreet 16-Curtis and WAVE 16 Alfee, with WAVE winning the matchup of the two best 16s teams in Southern California, 25-23, 25-23, another epic battle between these two this year.
It turns out that I erred and picked only two teams, Club V 16 Ren Andrew and SynergyForce 16 James, to qualify. I got one right in SynergyForce, but whiffed on AP 16 Adidas and Arizona Storm Elite 16 Thunder. Club V finished in 10th position.
In 15 Open, I correctly predicted that WAVE 15 Juliana would win the title over Coast 15-1 and that Coast would qualify. So that was pretty good. It’s just that I had Viper 15 Mauro and VegasAces 15 UnderArmour as candidates to qualify and instead went with Spike and Serve 15 Red and Club V 15 Ren Matt to take the other two bids. Those teams finished 6-10 combined and 13th and 14th, respectively. Ugh.
• Speaking of Spike and Serve, Spike and Serve 17 Red, No. 22 nationally, was expected to make its lone qualifying try this past weekend at Red Rock but did not.
“Too much craziness,” coach Kevin Wong said. “They just finished high school two weeks ago.
SAS 17 Red will try to establish itself as a national factor in 17 Open at AAU Nationals next month.
• We finish up with recruiting advice from college coaches. We asked them to reply with one “don’t” for a high school athlete (or parent or recruiting service) in any recruiting interaction with a college program or coach.
This was the top response: “Don’t send me a message saying how good of a fit our school and program is, WITH A DIFFERENT COACH’s NAME FROM A DIFFERENT SCHOOL.”
• This was the second most popular “don’t:”
“Don’t talk poorly about your teammates and coaches (HS & club).”
Stated another way:
“Be loyal to those not present. You (or a parent) talking poorly about a high school or club coach says more about the athlete than the situation.”
• This was the third “don’t” we heard more than once:
“Parents: Don’t walk up to a college coach at a tournament to say, ‘I know we can’t talk here …’ and ramble on about your daughter and then ask, ‘What are you looking for?’”
• Here’s another we heard more than once:
“Don’t send an email without your height, position and grad year.”
• Here are some other nuggets courtesy of college coaches:
“Don’t email us every other day.”
“Don’t lie about what you jump touch. If you say 10-0 and we see you play and you’re not, you’re off our list.”
“Don’t hide who else you are talking with in the recruiting process.”
“Don’t get on the phone with a coach if you have not done any research on the school. Your questions should be based on things you can’t find easily on the school or program website.”
“It’s always a red flag for me when the parent speaks for the recruit, or if they just dominate the conversation during a visit. We want to hear their questions, but we are recruiting the player, not the parent.”
• Finally, here’s a funny one to finish on that a college coach actually sent. For those who don’t know, Micha Hancock’s serve was legendary in high school and she is Penn State’s career ace leader:
“Unless it’s a Micha Hancock-level cannon ball that tails, STOP LEADING HIGHLIGHT VIDEOS WITH SERVICE ACES AGAINST AWFUL TEAMS THAT WOULD STRUGGLE TO PASS GAS AFTER EATING CHILI!!!”