Central Zone: Gold Medal Rundown

Representing an early-season test, the Central Zone Invitational brought many of the Midwest powerhouse clubs together for two days of competition at the Indiana Convention Center. The host club – Circle City – found success in 14 Open, capturing the gold medal after sweeping AVC Cle 14 Red in the championship match and finishing the weekend 8-0.

There is sure to be plenty of fluxation in our 14s National Rankings when we update them next. For the time being, Circle City entered Central Zone sitting at No. 17. There were five teams ranked ahead, including AVC at No. 11. For the most part, all fared relatively well. NKYVC 14-1 Tsunami held the highest ranking at No. 6 and finished tied for fifth after going 5-1. NKYVC fell to Munciana 14 Chipmunks in gold pool play, as Muncie went on to tie for third with Boss Cle 14-1. Boss was the only team not ranked to finish in the Top 8. Muncie, meanwhile, entered weekend play at No. 21.

Both No. 13 Elevation 14 Molly and No. 15 Legacy 14-1 Adidas tied for fifth as well, with each going 5-1 over the two days. Mintonette Sports m.41, ranked No. 14, also went 5-1 but tied for ninth. Elevation, Mintonette and AVC shared an all-Ohio gold pool Sunday morning and finished in a three-way tie at 1-1. Mintonette lost to AVC for its only tournament setback. Mintonette managed to hand Elevation its only loss while Legacy lost a three-setter to Boss to miss out on the semis. Rounding at the top eight was No. 25 KiVA 14 Red, which went 3-3 overall.

All but Circle City and Boss will be back together in a couple weeks at the Triple Crown NIT in Kansas City, along with No. 26 MKE Sting 14 Gold which tied for ninth at Central Zone.

The most topsy-turvy division proved to be 16 Open. While the field featured highly-ranked teams in No. 4 Mintonette Sports m.61, No. 5 Legacy 16-1 Adidas and No. 8 Boiler Jrs 16 Gold, none were around for the championship clash. That meeting came down to No. 12 Elevation 16 Goller and No. 16 NKYVC 16-1 Tsnunami, with NKYVC prevailing in three sets.

One of the biggest surprises was unranked TVC 16 Black tying for third with Mintonette. On an interesting side note, Mintonette hosted a 16s training day the Sunday before Central Zone at its facility in Columbus. Other clubs to participate beyond Mintonette included NKYVC, Elevation and TVC, the top four finishers this weekend coincidentally.

Boiler Jrs wound up tied for fifth, along with No. 30 MKE Sting 16 Gold, No. 43 SPVB 16 Elite and unranked Team Indiana 16 Elite, which upset No. 21 Team Pineapple 16 Black in the Round of 16. TVC’s run was propelled by its upset over Legacy in the Round of 16.

It was Adidas KiVA 17 Red coming out on top in 17 Open. KiVA lost to Legacy 17-1 Adidas during power pool play on Day 1 and the two sides found themselves on opposites sides of the net once more in the championship match. KiVA earned payback by pulling out a tight sweep, 25-23, 25-23, to end the weekend 7-1. Legacy, which lost to Mich Elite 17 Mizuno on Day 1, finished 6-2. Mich Elite and MKE Sting 17 Gold tied for third, both going 6-1.

Once more, our Top 50 rankings held up decent. KiVA came in ranked No. 15 overall, behind both No. 6 MKE Sting and No. 7 Mich Elite. AVC Cle 17 Red, which is ranked No. 11, tied for fifth after going 3-3. Legacy sits at No. 24 overall, behind No. 18 Circle City 17 Purple, which tied for fifth. Tri-State Elite 17 Blue, ranked No. 45, also tied for fifth, along with unranked Academy 17 Tsunami. Mintonette Sports m.71, at No. 46, was the only ranked team to miss out on the Top 8 after going 3-3 and tying for ninth.

As for 15 Open, Legacy 15-1 Adidas swept its way past Elevation 15 Tony in the championship match. It just so happened those were the two highest ranked teams in our Top 50, with Legacy at No. 7 and Elevation at No. 3. Munciana 15 Blue and Tri-State Elite 15 Blue tied for third. Munciana was the third-highest ranked team in the field, coming in at No. 26. Tri-State wasn’t far behind at No. 31. Two teams in between at No. 29 KiVA 15 Red and No. 30 Mintonette Sports m.51 tied for fifth, along No. 39 NKYVC 15-1 Tsunami and unranked MKE Sting 15 Gold.