Posted On: 07/6/16 9:23 PM

In just its seventh year of club volleyball, VCNebraska accomplished something at the AAU Girls Volleyball National Championships that many clubs go decades without ever achieving – bringing home a national title.

Not only did the Lincoln-based club win the AAU 16-and-under Premier Division national championship in Orlando, but the club also finished in second place in the 17-and-under Premier Division and fifth in the 15-and-under Club Division. VCNebraska’s achievements highlights an effort by Nebraska teams that saw nine squads come away with top-11 finishes in their respective divisions at the AAU and USAV National Championships in divisions below the Open level.

VCNebraska was founded in 2010 by Maggie Griffin, a national champion herself at Nebraska and during her club days at Sports Performance in Chicago. In the beginning, VCNebraska did not have high-school aged teams but added those teams in recent seasons as their players got older.

The road to winning the club’s first national title wasn’t exactly smooth for VCNebraska 16 Elite, which entered the 118-team tournament as the #35 seed overall. VCNebraska actually lost its first match in straight sets to OJVA, but bounced back to win its final two matches on the first day to advance up. VCNebraska went 2-1 on the second day as well, falling to Club Fusion 16 Black in its final match, but still advanced to the round of 46.

On the third day, VCNebraska caught fire, starting the day with a 25-22, 25-15 sweep of #2 overall seed Asics KIVA 16 White before defeating its other two pool opponents to make the round of 24. In that round, VCNebraska stayed hot with a 25-18, 25-19 win over Capital 16 Adidas.

In the championship quarterfinals, 16 Elite swept A5 South 161 and then rallied past Elite VBTC 19-25, 25-15, 15-8 to reach the championship. In the final, VCNebraska won a heart-pounding first set 27-25 over 1st Alliance Silver and then won the title with a 25-19 win in the second set.

Rachel Walker of Lincoln Southwest was named the 16 Premier Division MVP of the tournament for VCN while Maggie Sempeck and Kelsie Cada each earned All-Tournament Team honors.

In the 17 Premier Division, VCNebraska 17 Elite went 9-1 in the first three days of competition to reach the championship bracket, and the team needed to come from behind to beat Asics Louisiana 23-25, 25-19, 15-9 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, VCNebraska swept SMV before falling 25-22, 25-14 to Asics KICA White for the championship. Emma Thomssen, Hayley Densberger and Jaela Zimmerman were each named All-Tournament in 17 Premier for VCNebraska.

At the USAV National Championships in Indianapolis, Premier 15 Gold made a strong push to repeat as national champions in the National Division, which it won last year as 14s. Premier started strong, winning its seven of its first eight matches to reach the championship bracket. In the quarterfinals, Premier knocked off Dynasty 15 Blue 25-23, 31-29 to reach the semifinals against Crossfire Minnesota. Crossfire stopped Premier’s bid for consecutive national championships by claiming a 25-21, 25-20 victory in the semifinals.

Also in Indianapolis, Nebraska Elite 14 Havoc also won seven of its first eight matches in the American Division to reach the championship bracket. In the semifinals, Nebraska Elite beat AJV 14 Mizuno 25-21, 18-25, 15-8, but Havoc had its season ended in the semifinals with a 25-15, 25-19 loss to Shockwave VB Academy.

In Orlando, VCNebraska 15 Black finished fifth in the 15 Club Division while Nebraska Juniors 182 took home sixth place in the 18 Premier Division.

In Indianapolis, Premier 12 Black finished ninth in the 12 American Division while Nebraska ONE 15 Titanium (15 USA Division) and Nebraska Elite 12 Zinc (12 Classic Division) each finished in 11th place.

Below are the results and rosters for all 39 teams that competed in either Orlando or Indianapolis in divisions below Open.

12 National – USAV (48 teams)

Premier 12 Gold – tied for 13th place

Coaches: John Castle, Stephanie Connell, Mindy McNurlin

Roster: Harlei Cole, Ella Hanzen, Jayna Hope, Kealy Kiviniemi, Presley Liberty, Skylar McCune, Emma O’Neill, Sidney Sledge, Madison Woodin, Lily Ziebarth.

12 Club – AAU (47 teams)

River City Juniors 121 ROX – tied for 45th place

Coaches: Rick Hughes, Randi Hughes

Roster: Karli Ahlers, Lauren Cannella, Madi Cushing, Ananya Datla, Michayla George, Claire Gochanour, Baylee Greene, Landry Miller, Ally Muellner, Meg Raabe, Kayla Romero, Hailey Zimmerman.

12 American – USAV (48 teams)

Premier 12 Black – 9th place

Coaches: Nicole Gregory, Renee Gregory, Katy Brown

Roster: Hannah Beran, Tatum Carlson, Grace Girardot, Riley Hill, Sadie Millard, Kobie Patten, Madison Sheets, Jesse Trout, Sydney Wells, Estella Zatechka.

12 Classic – AAU (55 teams)

Nebraska Elite 12 Zinc – tied for 11th place

Coaches: Thomas Robertson, Caitlyn Rueth

Roster: Marissa Brown, Kaley Cubrich, Anna Freeman, Brynn Jacobson, Madison Kilton, Marisa Lootens, Elise Moulton, Abby Petera, Brooke Sterbens, Sydney Witkowski.

13 National – USAV (48 teams)

Premier 13 Black – 34th place

Coaches: Krysta Peers, Tammie Centeno, Elizabeth Targy

Roster: Sophia Hass, Kenley Montagne, Emma Prentice, Breanna Severn, Breanna Skala, Bridget Smith, Cendle Vacanti, Jillian Webber, Grace Werner, Samantha Ziebarth.

13 Club – AAU (95 teams)

River City Juniors 131 ROX – tied for 66th place

Coaches: Katie Wright, Stephanie Ziola

Roster: Lulu Ahl, Lauren Andersen, Ava Cunningham, Caitlyn Erland, Macy Gould, Haley Grim, Sidney Hauptman, Madison Mactaggart, Anna Paulus, Kendyl Wenninghoff.

13 Classic – AAU (127 teams)

Nebraska Elite 13 Storm – tied for 33rd place

Coaches: Deryck Anderson, Madeleine Aufricht

Roster: Abigail Brewster, Emma Ehrhardt, Mollie Fee, Riley Hartman, Liza Heim, Olivia Hojnicki, Avery Kallman, Olivia Rowe, Sophia Steffes, Bailey Zielie.

13 American – USAV (64 teams)

Nebraska ONE 13 Chaos – tied for 51st place

Coaches: Tonia Tauke Albers, Karissa Heun, Sydney Weidner

Roster: Brecken Albers, Anna Burt, Ashlyn Cox, Lauren Dirks, Nicole Dirks, Makenzie Hatcliff, Ryleigh Knobbe, Emily Lenhoff, Brianna Stai, Karsen Vanscoy, Tiffany Wulf.

14 National – USAV (48 teams)

Premier 14 Black – tied for 31st place

Coaches: John Sutera, Emilie Pietramale, Allison Kramer

Roster: Lexiss Booth, Hannah Domandle, Sydney Frerichs, Ibinye-Olivia Green, Kayla Hansen, Claire Larson, Isabel Lukens, Sarah Montague, Meredith Mueller, Grace Schiemann.

14 Club – AAU (120 teams)

River City Juniors 141 ROX – tied for 60th place

Coaches: Katherine Ferge, Jenny Bair

Roster: Olivia Barnes, Alyssa Bizzarri, Alexa Blaine, Elise Gilroy, Abby McGargill, Lucy Murrell, Eva Pink, Grace Safar, Maggie Scott.


River City Juniors 142 ROX – 115th place

Coaches: Amber Wood, Nick Torchia

Roster: Andi Armstrong, Dylan Frazier, Megan Hardisty, Rayann Hawkins, Catherine Kolomaya, Claire Osantowski, Peyton Preston, Natalie Rojo, Emma White, Karly Wood.

14 American – USAV (64 teams)

Nebraska Elite 14 Havoc – tied for 3rd place

Coaches: Steve Bymers, Scott Haag, Jordyn Bymers

Roster: Emily Bay, Mayah Delgado-Walker, Eve Fountain, Emily Kaup, Katie Kilzer, Kaitlin Neely, Lucinda O’Brien, Caroline Ortman, Molly Plahn, Amanda Rye.

14 Patriot – USAV (61 teams)

Nebraska Elite 14 Force – 38th place

Coaches: Michelle Christensen, Mary Evans

Roster: Lauren Anderson, Catherine Begley, Kiersten Capelle, Sarah Cronin, Sophia Feilmeier, Maureen Flannery, Emma Heglin, Tatum Livingston, Madison Murcek, Meghan Pellett, Payton Plugge.

15 National – USAV – (48 teams)

Premier 15 Gold – tied for 3rd place

Coaches: Shannon Smolinski, Carlie Christensen, Maureen Wardian

Roster: Jaiden Centeno, Samantha Clarkson, Jessica Hendrix, Nicole Meyer, Maria Mixan, Carly Renken, Emma Schafer, Megan Skovsende, Ashley Straub, Bailey Wilson, Hailey Zuroske.

15 Premier – AAU (80 teams)

VCNebraska 15 Elite – 18th place

Coaches: Cole Aiazzi, Maggie Griffin

Roster: Aleksey Betancur, Emma Gabel, Grace Gokie, Delaney Humm, Kate Hunzeker, Elly Larson, Jadyn Makovicka, Anna McLain, Brooklyn Minzel, Erin Morgan, Alyssa Rezac.


Nebraska Juniors 151 – tied for 57th place

Coaches: Jean Hern, Mike Brandon, Nichole Justesen

Roster: Cassie Barber, Maya Brandon, Ashlyn Dierks, Karli Eckert, Anna Gregerson, Lauren Justesen, Mackenzie Oestreich, Aubrie Parde, Kaiya Rissell, Addie Smith.

15 USA – USAV (36 teams)

Nebraska ONE 15 Titanium – tied for 11th place

Coaches: Rachel Culwell, Ashley Dudycha

Roster: Marriah Buss, Atley Carey, Brynn Carey, Hope Leimbach, Kate Leimbach, Paige Silverberg, Fallon Stutheit, Lauren Taubenheim, Alexis Thavenet, Emily Thavenet, Erin Williams, Mariah Zvolanek.

15 Club – AAU (173 teams)

VCNebraska 15 Black – tied for 5th place

Coaches: Maggie Griffin, Rachel Westphalen

Roster: Lauren Borer, Alivia Chealey, Cecily Liphardt, Lexi Long, Jessica Malizzi, Kailee Runge, Halle Schwang, Emma Sutko, Caitlin VanCura, Rhianna Wilhelm.


Nebraska Elite 15 Synergy – tied for 26th place

Coaches: Brandon Cerny, Kelly Ziola

Roster: Michaela Bartels, Kylie Emsick, Mackenzie Kilton, Lexie Langley, Maggie Mcelhose, Lily O’Mara, Taylor Pribyl, Megan Raszler, Mallory Stamm, Kamryn Willman.

15 American – USAV (64 teams)

Premier 15 Black – 46th place

Coaches: Paul Wright, Molly Gegzna, Jennifer Bennett

Roster: Haley Alharithy, Gabrielle Armour, Breanna Green, Bailey Hanus, Taylor Heinen, Tatum Kuti, Lauren Maciejewski, Alyssa Meisenbach, Clara Roth, Elise Volk.

16 Premier – AAU (118 teams)

VCNebraska 16 Elite – 1st place

Coaches: Mary Pollmiller, Cole Aiazzi

Roster: Michael Boon, Kelsie Cada, Emily Champion, Madilyn Larson, Coree Lipovsky, Emma Ryan, Maggie Sempeck, Ana Thacker, Rachel Walker.


Nebraska Juniors 162 – tied for 101st place

Coaches: Nichole Justesen, Gina Chambers, Alyssa LeGrand

Roster: Lindsey Allgire, Taya Beller, Camden Blowers, Nyah Chambers, Emma Hern, Lauren Jacobsen, Sydney Kunz, Sydney Richter, Brooklyn Wilke.

16 National – USAV (48 teams)

Premier 16 Gold – tied for 19th place

Coaches: Ben Boldt, Angie Boldt, Alex Muckey

Roster: Ashley Bush, Sydney Fitzgibbons, Clara Lamb, Ellie Lammers, McKenzie Michalek, Hailey Petersen, Delaney Saucier, Taylor Skiles, Namrata Surendranath, Megan Sutera.

16 Club – AAU (146 teams)

Nebraska Elite 16 Mojo – 30th place

Coaches: Kael Busing, C Hruby

Roster: Lauren Edet, Olivia Galas, Michaela Puck, Olivia Putnum, Rosa Reed-Bouley, Marissa Salber, Megan Smith, Katie Trout, Payton Witkowski.


River City Juniors 161 ROX – tied for 45th place

Coaches: Jeffrey Riddle, Elizabeth Gartner

Roster: Teagan Blackburn, Emma Egger, Phoebe Gardiner, Elizabeth Greunke, Rebekah Klenke, Mary Martincik, Lexie Petry, Hannah Smith, Samantha Steele, Maggie Wettengel, Bailey White.

16 American – USAV (64 teams)

Nebraska ONE 16 Krush – tied for 27th place

Coaches: Kristi Harlan, Katie Mason

Roster: Melanie Brecka, Avery Dolliver, Jaden Ferguson, Kayla Haynes, Cassidy Plooster, Madison Renn, Peyton Rhode, Kaitlin Siefkes, Bailee Sterling, Joycin Stonacek.

17 Premier – AAU (107 teams)

VCNebraska 17 Elite – 2nd place

Coaches: Dan Mader, Maggie Griffin

Roster: Megan Aultz, Hayley Densberger, Riley Newton, Eran Rose-Gronewold, Jasa Scheierman, Jaden Sila, Emma Thomssen, Grace Volk, Jaela Zimmerman.


Nebraska Juniors 172 – tied for 57th place

Coaches: Jessica Fauss, Craig Songster

Roster: Karlie Kuhn, Alex Lemke, Alaetra Long, Cheyenne Mahnke, Katie McLaughlin, Sydney Morehouse, Abigail Noel, Claira Thede, Karly Wieser.

17 National – USAV (48 teams)

Premier 17 Gold – 21st place

Coaches: Joe Wessel, Korrine Boltin, Ashley Pike

Roster: Sydney Clarkson, Taliyah Flores, Stephanie Gaston, Madeline Krajewski, Abigayle Meyer, Bridget Petersen, Dani Prusha, Emma Walker, Nicole White, Averey Yaksich.

17 USA – USAV (36 teams)

Club Legacy 17 ROX – tied for 27th place

Coaches: Abby Da Silva, Joao Paulo Da Silva

Roster: Elise Baumann, Heather Bills, Margaret Durbin, Madison Evans, Allyson Glaser, Madison Johnson, Kaci Kirchhoefer, Claire Mountjoy, Joslyn Mountjoy, Gabrielle Peterson.


Premier 17 Black – tied for 35th place

Coaches: Brianne Sullivan, Kimi Lueders, Danielle Micek

Roster: Brooke Dougherty, Tori Eckert, Tessa Hannaford, Rileigh Heller, Emma Larson, Carly Lindenmeyer, Kaylynn Maslonka, Jelena Milakovic, Grace Nelson, Samantha Wilkins.

17 Club – AAU (119 teams)

River City Juniors 171 ROX – tied for 33rd place

Coaches: Krista Barr, Tamara Langlois

Roster: Lauren Bair, Cera Craven, Cheyenne French, Sydney Keckler, Madson Lihs, Elaina Lundquist, Sydney McLaren, Paige Menke, Megan Micek, Maddie Price, Nichole Seagle.


River City Juniors 172 ROX – 99th place

Coaches: Rachel Kruml, Katie Wright

Roster: Hannah Boone, Georgia Chambers, Bhana Gony, Megan Hicks, Emma Hoiberg, Sara Kmiecik, Morgan Lihs, Liv Petersen, Carly Stepanek, Reahgan Stueve, Kaylie White.


17 American – USAV (64 teams)

Nebraska ONE 17 Shockwave – 49th place

Coaches: Dee Cee Mather, Michael Bartsch

Roster: Miranda Brohman, Tara Callahan, Ashton Emmett, Amelia Finnell, Liliana Johnson, Liesl Miller, Tyra Molhoff, Alexa Mustard, Emma Nelson, Haley Seip, Cora Svoboda.

18 Premier – AAU (42 teams)

Nebraska Juniors 182 – 6th place

Coaches: Gina Chambers, Alyssa LeGrand, Jake Moore

Roster: Kara Bown, Ellie Brown, Jordyn Clauss, Allie Davis, Lesley Fox, Lily Heim, Nerissa Moravec, Amanda Young.

18 National – USAV (48 teams)

Premier 18 Gold – tied for 23rd place

Coaches: Rick Welch, Megan Schmale, Michaela Schimmer.

Roster: Taylor Crandall, Hannah Dubas, Andie Hanus, McKenna Kirkpatrick, Courtney Morehead, Taylor Petersen, Nicole Skovsende, Sophia Terwilleger, Jayden Thies, Alyssa Woodman.

18 Club – AAU (72 teams)

River City Juniors 181 ROX – tied for 12th place

Coaches: Deb Grafentin, Aimee Noel

Roster: Sophie Auch Moedy, Rachel Blair, Jessica Duval, Brittany Fleming, Anna Gottsch, Nicole Keenan, Mallory Matthies, Emma Pink, Cassidy Renander, Autumn Wood.

18 Classic – AAU (54 teams)

River City Juniors 182 ROX – 19th place

Coaches: Sheila Pleskac, Nick Torchia

Roster: Wes Ahl, Tori Burkart, Courtney Cameron, Alli Devries, Asarar Gony, Alison Hagerty, Kyra Hudson, Jada Perkins, Kristen Schulte.

18 American – USAV (64 teams)

Performance 18 NIKE – 62nd place

Coaches: Jim Kelley, Britt Slie

Roster: Joscelyn Bakhit, Morgan James, Christina Jerauld, Elizabeth Kelley, Delaney Moore, Ariana Osten, Jessica Poprocki, Sydney Slie.