Posted On: 02/14/20 11:58 AM

The storylines heading into Triple Crown go beyond with athletes heading to high powered college programs, the young athletes who are just getting started with recruiting, and those athletes who are hoping to finish the recruiting process or just getting start with their journey – all that aside, Kansas City is where the best volleyball in the country will be taking place over Presidents Day and here are some questions to help guide you heading into the weekend. 

What Is Your “Legacy”?

Kendall Murray of Legacy 18 Adidas

Legacy out of the Detroit area took the nation by storm last year with their 18s team blazing through Qualfiers and winning the 18 Elite title at Triple Crown.  With many of those athletes with their collegiate programs, there is another group coming up through Legacy in the 18s group that has already qualified for USAV 18 Open with a batch of future Power Five commits in high flyer Kendall Murrary (Michigan), physical and offensive setter Alexa Rousseau, Ellie Ruprich (South Carolina), Meghan Dombroski (West Virginia), and VCU commit Lauren King.  Legacy also has a crew from their 15 Adidas team who could take the tournament by storm after being a top 14s team last year. A name to keep tabs on will be Class of 2023 phenom in 6’1 outside hitter Harper Murray who can take over a game in any rotation being a lethal point scorer. 

What Is The Cinderella of 2020? 

Central Iowa Select 15M was second in Challenge Pool P on day one, an improvement from their initial third seed in the pool.  With their Challenge match, they defeated the heavily favored Boomers squad out of Florida and would go on to defeat national powers Skyline, OT, AVC, and would finish second overall to Nebraska Premier 15 Gold.  Many of these athletes will be playing for Club Ignit Select 16 Blue that features Denver commit Lauren Carter as the top setter out of the Class of 2022 in Iowa as well as big time Class of 2022 outside hitter Hayden Kubik – this year they are in a power pool.  Some teams to keep tabs on out of challenge pools could be Northern Lights 16-1 out of the Minneapolis area as well as Illini Elite 18 Cardinal. Got a game? Got a chance. 

Who Is The Local Favorite?

Phyona Schrader

Is there such a thing as a home court advantage at Triple Crown?  MAVS 18-1 out of the Kansas City area will be one of the local teams who could compete for a title at 18 Elite with the likes of Kendra Wait (Creighton), Caroline Bien (Kansas), Caroline Crawford (Kansas), and Kim Whetstone (Kansas).  They locked up a 18 USAV Open bid over MLK weekend taking the title in Kansas City. Dynasty 16 Black, and KC Power are other KC area teams who will be ones to watch. Nebraska Premier out of the Omaha area will be looking to defend their title after winning 15 Elite last year, but keep tabs on the Nebraska Premier 17 Gold team who has plenty of athletes that are heading to big time programs that includes Lindsay Krause (Nebraska), Norah Sis (Creighton), and Phyona Schrader (Notre Dame). 

What About The Class of 2022? 

The Class of 2022 was caught in a little bit of a transition with recruiting rules with how college coaches can communicate with athletes before June 15 following their Sophomore year.  Many of the athletes from the Class of 2022 were in communication with Division 1 college coaches, but as of May 1, 2019 athletes cannot communicate with a Division 1 college coach in regards to recruiting until June 15 following their Sophomore year.  This will be opening weekend of the live period for Division 1 college coaches to evaluate. Many will be taking a look at the Class of 2021 to finish up those recruiting classes, but many will be starting to take a look at the Class of 2022. However, no communication in regards to recruiting can take place until almost four months from now.  This was done in an effort to slow down the recruiting process for athletes. There will be plenty of evaluating going on this weekend however, the communication will be a little different between coaches and athletes following the event. 

Who Plays For Championships on Monday? 

Flip a coin on this one.  The margin of error at a tournament like this is minuscule.  Have a tough crossover match and that can change the whole dynamic of the tournament.  At the same time, it’s still early in the season, teams aren’t looking to be at their best right now (although it’s nice).  

Leilani Dodson of Adversity attacking

18s – Tough to not pick TAV 18 Black, this team has been winning championship after championship their whole careers and why not go out with a bang on this one. Some other teams to take note of would be MAVS, Coast, Milwaukee Sting 18 Gold, and keep an eye on Adversity out of the Chicago area. They have some athletes who can really compete at a high level which includes Leilani Dodson (BYU), Camryn Hannah (Clemson), and Hattie Monson (Notre Dame). 

17s – Northern Lights 17-1 I believe is a major front runner heading into the weekend with plenty of firepower and one of the top players in the Class of 2021 in Kennedi Orr (Nebraska) who won a USAV 17 Open championship playing up on the 17-1’s squad two years ago. They took home the title at the Northern Lights Qualifier two weeks ago, although they did drop a match to Arizona Storm 17 Thunder.   We could see a few future Nebraska players playing in key matches with on Monday with Krause of Nebraska Premier 17 Gold and Aly Batenhorst of Houston Juniors who is also part of this extremely talented recruiting class for Nebraska. 

16s – AVC out of Cleveland brings in a really physical and dominant front line while Nebraska Premier 15 Gold who won it all last year will bring a ton of speed and ball control with a high tempo offense.  However, the state of Texas will be in full force with this groups defending champion from USAV 15 Open in Houstin Skyline. A5 MIzuno 16-Gabe will also be one to watch after winning Central Zone in Indy a few weeks ago.  Watch for the teams out of the Midwest with the likes of Central Ignit 16 Blue (IA), Northern Lights 16-1 (MN(, and Michigan Elite 16 Mizuno who has two really exciting athletes to watch in Ava Brizard and Serena Nyambio. We’ll see if it will be a Lone Star final, but the question is what teams from Texas will be the ones in a deep field with Madfrog, Houston Skyline, or TAV. 

15s – Wide open.  These athletes are going to be so pumped to get on the court and play in front of the coaches, showing what they can do and get an early start on their recruiting journey.  Legacy 15 Adidas is coming off winning the Central Zone Invite. They will have an early target on their back heading into the weekend as well as teams from California and Texas with Tstreet and TAV.  But who will be the team that can come from a Challenge Pool to maybe replicate what Central Iowa Select 15M did last year. Once again, got a game, got a chance!