Posted On: 02/4/19 6:38 PM

The JVA Jamboree in Milwaukee is just a fun event.  Momentum is starting to build heading into Presidents Day, teams are starting to kind of figure out a lineup, and there are teams from six different states of all levels competing in one spot.  I won’t get too indepth with player and team notes, but I just wanted to put out five quick observations from the start of the gym at 7:30 AM Saturday morning until heading out after the 16 Open Championship Sunday early afternoon (which was one of the best matches to end on).

The FC Elite Sweep!

There were multiple divisions, brackets, championships to be crowned, but when it comes to the Open divisions, FC Elite won titles at the 15s, 16s, 17s, and 18s level – all pretty much in dramatic fashion.  At the 15s level, they had a match where they were down at the 8 point change in set three in the quarterfinals against MN Select 15-1 and scratched their way back to win the match 15-12. The 16s had one of the better matches I saw all weekend which featured a lot of all around balance at all positions against MN Select 16-1, one of the top teams out of Minnesota at the 16s level.  For the 17s, they didn’t even win their pool on Saturday after losing to MVP 17 Blue, but came back to win it all on Sunday. The FC Elite 18s will have a target on their back all year. They have already qualified for an 18 Open spot at USAV 18 Open Nationals and have a roster loaded with big time division one talent. I have a feeling this is only round one between this group and Sting 18 Gold with the first one going in favor of FC Elite 15-13 in the third.  Watching a match of that caliber is no joke. Those athletes are going to be competing at the highest level of college volleyball in a matter of months!

Sometimes Its Gets Worse, Before It Gets Better

January can be a pretty awkward month for most clubs, especially with new teams coming together with new players, new coaches, and new parents.  The teams who have a strong January are usually the teams who have been together a while and pick up where they have left off, however each year there is always going to be something new, and the if you’re playing club volleyball it’s not always going to be roses and rainbows.  Adjusting to a new position, maybe not seeing the same amount of playing time as one may be used to, and for parents and players just being able to navigate their way through a group chat can be stressful. Instead of the word stressful, just say its uncomfortable, and when something is new it’s always uncomfortable.  The teams who can work through that, and who are comfortable with being uncomfortable are the ones who thrive and that can be said for any level of volleyball you are playing at.

Border Battles

I love finding the story within the story, kind of making something bigger than what it is.  I love how there were so many border battles between clubs in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Obviously Wisconsin is going to have plenty of teams in Milwaukee, but Minnesota brought over Minnesota Volleyball Academy (MVA), MN Select, Crossfire, and Vital.  Some of these matchups were a few of the best throughout the tournament. Early on Saturday I saw a great match between Milwaukee Sting 16 White and Crossfire which featured some of the top middles in the ever so loaded class of 2021 with Martina McGrath, Monica Lafleur, and Lindsay Krznarich of Sting against Kiya Durant, an up and coming middle prospect for Crossfire.  Vital and FC Elite had multiple battles at the 17s and 15s and another common theme was FC Elite going against MN Select for some big time matches come bracket play.

New Look, New Success

One Wisconsin had plenty of teams across all age levels at the JVA Jam and one that came out on fire was One Wisconsin Bay 17-1.  With a combo of players who played for Green Bay Power and Wisconsin Volleyball Academy, they have blended extremely well, making quite the opening statement on match one defeating number two overall seed Michigan Volleyball Academy.  Lauren Richards, with her quick snap out of the middle along with the athletic all around play of Raechel Russo was key. Aubree Bucheger and Megan Piton together in the backrow kept 1W in system and making it easy to score points. Another 17s team who made a big impact was Epic out of the Racine area.  Mckenna Hall was extremely dynamic on the pin and setter, Kelsey Jacobs was so smooth making everything look easy. Both teams had a meeting in the Gold quarterfinals which went in favor of One Wisconsin by the score 25-27, 26-24, 15-13.

Presidents Day Right Around The Corner

The Division 1 quiet period is almost over.  Come Presidents Day Weekend, it’s fair game. All can attend and evaluate.  For some athletes they may be trying to finish the recruiting process, others may be just starting.  Referring to point number two, it can be stressful and uncomfortable, anything is when it’s not a guarantee.  Throughout coaching and just being around great coaches, they will always say, “Control The Controllable’s”, and there are only so many things that you are able to control (I guess that goes for parents too).  Keep improving everyday, keep helping your teammates improve, and instead of viewing it as something stressful, its just uncomfortable. Good luck these next couple weeks, Prep Dig will continue to bring you the top local volleyball coverage you can find!  As athletes and coaches ramp up their game, so will we with our coverage.