Lone Star Classic: Day 1 Show Stoppers and More

The biggest development on the opening day of the third weekend of the Lone Star Classic came in 16 Open. That’s where unranked TAV 16 Blue upended No. 8 overall seed Arizona Storm 16 Thunder – ranked No. 3 in Vballrecruiter’s Top 50 – in the 1 v 3 contest. TAV 16 Blue closed out the day 3-0, taking over the No. 8 seed for Day 2 and redirecting Storm’s route in the process.

Storm is among the 11 teams in 16 Open already qualified, so Storm is safe so to speak no matter the weekend’s results. The real ramifications is how it impacts the Day 2 pools. In this case, Storm becomes the No. 3 team in Pool 6, along with previously-qualified Hou Skyline 16 Royal and MAVS 816 16-1 and KC Power 16 Black, both still chasing bids. That means for MAVS 816 and/or KC Power to advance they are going to have to beat a highly-ranked team that already has a bid. TAV Blue becomes the No. 2 team in Pool 5, along with Madfrog 16 Green, GP 16 Rox and Kairos 16 Alpha. Both Madfrog and GP already have bids, so TAV Blue needs to beat another team with a bid to put itself in a position to advance.

The top four seeds in Boiler Jrs 16 Gold, Skyline 16 Royal, Austin Skyline 16 Royal and TAV 16 Black combined to go 12-0. Madfrog, at No. 5, was the highest-seeded squad to fall. But even finishing 2-1 in its pool Madfrog finished first based on tiebreakers.

GP and Pohaku 16-1 also lost as the No. 1 teams in their pools. Both finished second. GP finished behind MAVS 816, while Pohaku fell to Northern Lights 16-1.

Meanwhile, the top seeds in 15 Open cruised on Day 1. The only No. 1 team in its pool to lose during pool play was Dynasty 15 Black. However, there was plenty of results to go against seed.

AZ EVJ 15 Elite, the No. 4 team in Pool 2, went 2-1 and took second to move on. Memphis Metro 15 Elite was another No. 4 team to advance after coming in second in Pool 3. Flyers 15 Andy went 2-1 and is still in contention after making it out of Pool 4 as the No. 3 team.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s action, there are two pools that have two teams each with bids. One is pool 5 with Hou Skyline 15 Royal and Madfrog 15 Green. The other is Pool 6 with Excel 15 National Red and PVA 15 Elite.

The least amount of seeding fluctuation took place in 17 Open. For the most part, the day’s results played out according to seed in terms of teams advancing. Among the few exceptions was Arete 17 Navy Telos. As the No. 3 team in Pool 2, Arete beat No. 2 Academy 17 Diamond to take second place at 2-1 behind 3-0 Arizona Storm 17 Thunder.

Beyond that, Austin Skyline 17 Royal, Alamo 17 Premier and Madfrog 17 Green all went 3-0 as the No. 2 team in their respective pools. Austin Skyline beat Northern Lights 17-1; Alamo downed Drive Nation 17 Red; Madfrog defeated Excel 17 National Red. Northern Lights, Drive Nation and Excel all still advanced after going 2-1 and taking second.

The real drama in 17 Open comes from how the bid chase is positioned for Day 2.

Hou Skyline 17 Royal is the only qualified team in Pool 1, with either Madfrog or Drive Nation likely to advance along with Hou Skyline.

In Pool 2, Arizona Storm has its bid, as does Excel. Alamo had a strong Day 1 and with a victory over Excel could have a shot at qualifying on Day 3.

It’s Pool 3 that holds three teams with bids in 1st Alliance 17 Gold, Austin Skyline 17 Royal and TAV 17 Black Haroun. With Tx Peformance 17 Black also in the pool, it’s likely two teams with bids move on.

Pool 4 holds Skyline 17 Royal, which is qualified, as is Northern Lights. Both HJV 17 Elite and Metro 17 Travel are seeking bids. It might be the toughest pool on Day 2 in the division.

As for Pool 5, MKE Sting 17 Gold, TAV 17 Black and AVA TX 17 Adidas are qualified. AJV 17 Adidas isn’t. AJV has a lot of work to do to keep its bid hopes alive.

Pool 6 is the most intriguing pool to me. MAVS KC 17-1 is qualified, but Tribe 17 Elite Cardinal, Dynasty 17 Black and A5 17-1 Calvin are not. At the beginning of the year I would have though without question Tribe, Dynsty and A5 would all qualify. But it’s possible two of three won’t be around for gold pools on Day 3 and further hurting their chances of earning a bid.

DAY 1 SHOW STOPPERS

Lowe leFeber MB Big Sky 15-1: A 6-1 middle from the Class of 2028, leFeber has a strong arm. She hits with power and provides a punch to the attack.

Lyla Crowder MB 1United 15 Blue: Crowder is a 6-3 middle who brings length to the front row. She’s a scoring threat and someone who can put the ball away when her number is called.

Rylie Coates S Alamo 15 Premier: A 6-0 setter/right side, Coates did well locating her sets. She has an easy release and plays with lots of poise.

Kennedy Crider RS Alamo 15 Premier: Crider is a 6-0 right side who was playing all the way around. She elevates the offense with her ability to swing out of the back row as ell.

Emerson Dorr S/RS Infinity VBA 15 Open: A 6-0 setter/right side and 3-star recruit, Dorr plays a key role with her versatility. She’s a steady presence who dishes well and finds ways to score.

Carson Caraway OH Infinity VBA 15 Open: Caraway – a 4-star recruit – is a 6-2 attacker who is an integral piece of the attack. She can get over the block with her swings and power shots down from corner to corner.

Braelyn Patton MB Premier 15 Black: Patton is a presence in the middle with her reach. She’s 6-2 and puts up a huge block with how she gets up and presses.

Marley Manning OH WF Wave 15 Simonelli: Manning is a springy outside. She gets up in the air quickly and is a key focal point of the offense.

Elizabeth Tedder OH Peak 15 Black: Tedder is a bit undersized but brings it on the attack. She has a strong arm and was really connecting at times.

Sage Illian OH/S Shockwave 15 Black: A member of the Class of 2028, is playing up as a 6-0 setter/outside. She’s a strong beach player and you can see those traits on the indoor side. She has a clean, consistent release setting. She also has a lively arm and helps carry the offensive load.

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Laven Blumoff L/DS Austin Skyline 15 Royal: Blumoff was holding it down defensively. She was hustling, making plays and keeping the point alive with her digs.

Emerson Butler S/RS Austin Skyline 15 Royal: A 4-star setter/right side, Butler’s contributions are easy to notice. At 6-0, she brings height to the lineup. She’s a strong setter with nice hands who doesn’t miss her mark too often.

Sophie Gomez L/DS HJV 15 Elite: Gomes was playing well. Her passing was on point and she was covering the back row and getting balls up.

Saniya Reynolds OH HJV 15 Elite: Reynolds can get up and unleash. When the opportunity presented itself, she struck, hammering shots down with authority.

Talia Nelson RS TAV Houston 15 Adidas: Nelson is a wirey right side who jumps with ease. Being quick off the ground, she’s tough to time and helps spread out the attack.

Brynley Warta MB Elevation 15 Peak: Warta has a commanding presence in the middle and provides physicality on both sides of the ball.

Camille Presley MB Austin Skyline 15 Royal: Presley, a 4-star, was a literal wall at the net defensively. She was sealing the block from pin to pin with ease.

Rivera Nellysmar RS Preva 16: Nellysmar is an athletic right side. She can really extend and come with it on the attack and pressure the defense.

Shirah Oyedokun MB NRG 16 AMPD Navy: An undersized middle, Oyedokun makes up for it with the way she gets up. She’s also able to take swings on the left side to add a different look to the attack.

Peyton Liming OH MAVS 816 16-1: Liming was swinging consistently well. She was providing a reliable option on the left with her scoring.

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Kennedy Allen MB AZ EVJ 16 Elite: A 6-2 middle blocker, Allen changes the dynamic of the front row with her length. She moves and swings well and is someone defenses must track because she’s a legit scorer when in system.

Madelynn Henry OH Kairos 16 Alpha: Henry is an athletic outside with real hops. She moves very well, bounces off the floor and swings hard. She was proving tough to stop.

Alexandra Abernathy MB SC Elite 16 Elite: A 6-3 middle, Abernathy is part of a strong 1-2 punch in the middle for SC Elite. She provides plenty of length and blocks and attacks above average.

Sullivan Leonard MB SC Elite 16 Elite: Leonard – at 6-2 – is the other half of the duo for SC Elite in the middle. She makes a mark on both sides of the ball and carries a lively arm.

Avery Koonsen OH Hou Stellar 16 Elite: Koonsen is a heady attacker. She has a variety of shots to beat defenses with. She also plays sound defense in the back row.

Lola Sageer OH VolleyFX 16 Mantra: Sageer – a 6-2, 3-star recruit – has a powerful arm. She’s the go-to hitter and shoulders her share of the attack.

Malia Miller OH Integrity 16 Intense Blue: Miller, a 3-star recruit, is a consistent attacker who hits with a heavy hand.

Paisley Pavliska OH STVA 16 Mizuno: Pavliska, a 4-star recruit, is an undersized six rotation athlete who not only plays with zero fear but brings the heat on the pin consistently and effectively.

Taylor Stanley RS DYNASTY 16 Black: Stanley, a 4-star recruit, is a six-rotation right side who has no fear swinging anywhere on the court. She hits high and cause defenses tons of trouble.

Rayna Christianson S/RS Northern Lights 16-1: Christianson, a 5-star recruit, is a dual threat on the court. She dishes with finesse and authority. And she’s also a strong and explosive hitter who can bring it to defenses.

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McKenzie Berg OH NRG 17 AMPD Navy: A 6-3 TCU commit, Berg is long and vital part of the offense. She connects at a high contact point and can swing over the top of blocks regularly.

Lauryn Kloth MB Kairos 17 Alpha: Kloth – a Dakota State commit – is a factor in the middle. She can impact both sides of the ball with her play.

Paige Felder OH RRHVB 17-1 Robyn: Felder, a 3-star recruit committed to Missouri, is the go-to hitter. She can also hit with pace and is a steady scorer.

Liliana Brisco S SA Magic 17 ELITE: Brisco is fluid, consistent, fiery, and moves the ball around the court well.

Maggie Meister L Kairos 17 Alpha: Meister, a 3-star recruit committed to South Dakota State, was showcasing her skills by making some big-time digs and was passing consistently out of serve receive.

Ryan Hicks S Metro 17 Travel: Hicks, a 3-star recruit committed to Duquesne, is a super smooth setter who can dish to anywhere effectively.

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