Posted On: 01/21/20 8:15 PM

No one likes a tie, and a three way tie makes it all the more complicated. However, a three-way tie in USAV now technically makes it is less complicated, but has severe implications on teams involved.

On Saturday in Chicago at the Girls 18s Winter Championships, pools were made with virtually little to no information heading into the weekend (much is the case with most early tournaments – it is what it is). Some teams may have played in a tune up or power league, but making a national tournament structure with pools can be really challenging, making for some interesting pool results.

In 18 Open, Legacy, 1st Alliance, M1, and Toledo Volleyball Club were together with Legacy and 1st Alliance being the top two seeds. However, M1 had other plans defeating 1st Alliance in three sets to start the dramatics of the day. M1 would go on to lose to Legacy in two and finish their morning with a sweep of TVC. With Legacy looking strong all morning, it would appear that Legacy would defeat 1st Alliance which would result in Legacy and M1 advancing to championship pools. Not so fast…1st Alliance had plans of their own, upsetting Legacy in three sets, creating a three-team tie at 2-1.

With the three team tie, a playoff was thought to be in place. M1 had started warming up on a side court with 1st Alliance not really sure what was going on and some anxious body language of Legacy players not sure of their future after what was looking like a smooth sail out of Day 1.

After much deliberation, 1st Alliance was informed they had placed second in the pool, advancing into championship pools for Sunday. M1 was still kind of warming up, confused looks, while Legacy stayed put knowing that whatever the outcome was, they had to stay either way to be the reffing team (if a team does not stay to ref, it can result in a forfeit).

Under the old rules, Legacy would have been the winner of the pool based on set percentage wins and M1 and 1st Alliance would have had to play a one-set match to 25 with the winner advancing to the next round of championship pool contention.  With new tiebreaker rules, there is no playoff, tie goes to math.  1st Alliance had a better set record than M1 which moved them on in tournament play.

Legacy is all smiles earning an Open bid to Reno.

This wasn’t the only case on Saturday.  In the USA Division, there was a three-team pool between Milwaukee Sting 18 Black, Club Ignit Select out of the Des Moines area, and Club 1 out of Chicagoland.  Three team pools are scary, there is little to no room for error.  Club Ignit Select defeated Sting, Club 1 defeated Club Ignit Select, and Sting 18 Black defeated Club 1 with a three-set sweep (in three-team pools they play three sets no matter what).  Again, another situation where three teams are 1-1, with someone on the outside looking in.  Club 1 was the team that was dealt the short end of the stick finishing third due to sets percentage and with Sting and Club Ignit Select moving on.  Sting 18 Black would eventually finish second overall and earn a bid to Reno. 

How Does This Look Long-Term? 

Win every set if possible.  During a qualifier, there are times where teams will drop a set here and there.  When the level of play is this high, it is bound to happen, especially this early in the season when combos are still be worked along with the strongest rotations.  In a way, this almost feels like the old BCS formula for college football where not only did it matter if you won, but what did the wins look like.  An ugly set which results in a loss could ultimately prevent that particular team or another out of championship pool contention. 

New Rules For the 2020 Club Season 

USAV Championship Manual – Tie Break Rules Page 20