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2024 Tournament Recaps - Week 7

Updated: Feb 23

Two teams head to Iowa and multiple teams to the Baird Center! More high finishes this week for I AM!


10 RED

The 10 Red team has had a busy week!  This past Sunday we played in the Revolution Open at Center Court.  We had an early start and played 4 straight matches!  We had a sleepy start against our first opponent – RVA, but then sprang back with a lot of enthusiasm for the next match, taking set 1 to 29-27 against MVP. Our third match against Tempo was also close getting to 20 for both sets.  Our final match was against Wisconsin Ice.  This was the first tournament of the season where we only played 11’s teams.  Although we had a slow start, we definitely gained momentum as the day went on and showed a lot of resilience.  The teams we played against were obviously taller and more experienced, but we really came into every match with confidence. 


The prior Sunday we played in the Junior’s February Fun Tournament at UW Parkside.  We had an early start there, too.  Our first match was against the Sting Bumblebees – it was a really great match with a lot of hustle from everyone.  The second match we took to 3 sets but lost the match against Wisconsin Juniors.  This put us in the Bronze Bracket with us playing McHenry Juniors.  It was a fun match to watch, losing the first but coming back to win sets 2 and 3 – making us Bronze Bracket Winners


Between these two tournaments, we also took some time at our February 14th practice to share some Valentine Team Love.  Watching these girls over the past few weeks has been awesome.  Every tournament we get a little better – our passes get more on target, our communication gets louder, our serves get over the net, our hustling gets faster.  Small progress makes for big successes in the end.  I am very proud of how this team has handled adversity and has embraced the drills we do at practice and put them into practice in our matches. 


11 RED | 2nd Place

Our girls were in the Juniors President's Day Challenge at the Rec Plex this past weekend.  This 2 day event had a variety of teams that we had not seen yet and we started Saturday morning as the #3 overall seed.  We got off to a slow start against a Sting Silver team, who we've played 2 times before, and won in 3 sets.  After that, we handled Adversity Wi rather comfortably, and followed that up with a similar 2 set win over the WI-Juniors 11-1 team.  This meant we were in our 5th straight Gold Bracket with a chance to challenge for the championship.


On day 2, we once again started a bit slowly with our energy and engagement and dropped our first set 24-26.  We beat this McHenry County Juniors team last weekend rather quickly and without much resistance.  Once that memory seeped back into our collective mind, we proceeded to beat them in the expected manner over the next 2 sets.  This put us in the semifinals against a formidable Epic United Team out of Illinois.  They were much taller than us, were in-system quite often, and they hadn't met much of a challenge...up until they faced us.  We played some of our best volleyball of the year and won set 1 convincingly 25-15.  Our girls did a wonderful job of serving tough, being in their specific defensive positions, and extending rallies.  In a match at this age, minimizing unforced errors is crucial, and we were sharp!  Set 2 brought on a more determined opponent and it was much more of a back-and-forth affair, but we eked out a nail-biter 26-24.  It was as exciting of a set as you'll see at the 11's age.  This placed us in our 5th straight championship match, in 5 total events, and we faced off against Sting Black.  We lost to them in a previous 2 day event in a close match, so we were looking forward to another opportunity to face them.  The first set started off tight, until Eden Aanonsen went back to serve for the 2nd time and she proceeded to rip off 8 points with the needed pace on her serve.  Sting Black was in scramble mode for the last 50% of that set as we won 25-18.  For the 2nd set, it was much again a more point-for-point affair.  Towards the end of the set with us up a couple of points, they had a server of their own bomb some serves at us that were very difficult to handle and we lost some momentum towards the end to lose 23-25.  We were unable to get back any mojo in the 3rd set as they started off with their 2 best, and most confident at that point, servers.  We were pushed around too much and we just couldn't make the 2 or 3 plays to change the direction of the set and we fell 7-15.  


While the ending was surely hard to swallow, the girls have so much to be proud of!  We have only ended our tourney's in championship games, we are 20-4 overall, and they keep improving as the coaches have high expectations for them.  Most importantly, they are really getting to know each other and it is wonderful to see them goofing around and cheering each other on.  The new relationships they are building, in challenging situations, are important to overall growth.  It's also important to note that the parents have been very supportive of all the girls and the coaches' expectations; we certainly couldn't experience this level of success without that.  As for individual shoutouts, Ace pins were awarded to Reagan Vogelsang (2), Payton Hemsing, and Eden Aanonsen, and Jaidyn Alexander earned 3 overpass kill  pins!!!  We also had our first jump float serving ace out of Sarah Heitzkey, it was a legit serve!  Gabi Ramos really showed up in the final with some outstanding hustle plays and timely power tips that kept our opponents on their toes.  Nora Scheuller made a bunch of serves on day 2 as the gold bracket was not allowed to utilize the step-in serve rule; she stepped back, and stepped it up!  Emily Guse exhibited her overall improvement, now that she is healthy (ankle), and made a number of winning plays at key times.  Stella Walter continues to be the steadying presence we need at libero and Kennedy Hiller provides the same at setter.  But overall, Eden was our weekend's MVP.  She was excellent on defense, kept us in-system with some tough first contact challenges, had to set a couple of rotations, and her serve was outstanding and consistent, especially at crucial times.


12 RED | 3rd Place

12 Red was super excited to participate in the 2024 Nike President's day tournament downtown over the weekend. 12 Red started off the weekend playing very good volleyball against TAV 12 Black and easily won the 1st set 25-11, 25-12.  Next I AM played Club Fusion from Chicago and after easily winning game 1, 25-11 fusion improved their play while I AM lost focus a little and fell behind.  I AM then battled to get back into the game and fought off 3 game points from Fusion to finally win 31-29.  This showed I AM's ability to focus and get things done when needed the most.  In the 3rd match, I AM played FDL Fusion and easily won with great serves from Maddie Hagel and 3 consecutive overpass Kills from Molley Burg. I AM dominated with the scores of 25-17, 25-9.  After finishing at 8:30pm, this set I AM to start in the semi-finals of the gold bracket at 10:00am on Sunday.


On Sunday, I AM Played a good Mission team from Chicago, but I AM was just too much to handle winning the match 25-13, 25-20.  This set-up a very anticipated match against Madtown 12- National.  Last year I AM split with Madtown in two 3 set thriller matches.  

Game 1 was a back and forth game until 14-15 when Madtown went on a run with their serve and pulled ahead 14-19.  I AM went point for point after this run, eventually losing 19-25. 



Game 2 was another back and forth battle that saw I AM use its defense to take the lead at 19-16 with two incredible diving saves from Charlee Krull and Chloe Cavanaugh.  However, a few bad bounces of the ball and a few tough serves saw I AM give up the lead and fall down 23-19.  I AM continued to fight but could not overcome the deficit and lost 22-25 to the eventual tournament champions.


I AM then played in the 3rd place match against Boost 12-1.  With a new 5-1 line-up I AM was focused and played very consistently and won both games 25-18, 25-20.


Although I AM felt like they played well, we definitely found some areas for improvement that we can focus on over the next two weeks before we head into the regional Qualifier on 3/2.  Coach Ryden and  I are so proud of how far these girls have come and are looking forward to the next challenge!  



12 WHITE

The 10 Red team has had a busy week!  This past Sunday we played in the Revolution Open at Center Court.  We had an early start and played 4 straight matches!  We had a sleepy start against our first opponent – RVA, but then sprang back with a lot of enthusiasm for the next match, taking set 1 to 29-27 against MVP. Our third match against Tempo was also close getting to 20 for both sets.  Our final match was against Wisconsin Ice.  This was the first tournament of the season where we only played 11’s teams.  Although we had a slow start, we definitely gained momentum as the day went on and showed a lot of resilience.  The teams we played against were obviously taller and more experienced, but we really came into every match with confidence. 


The prior Sunday we played in the Junior’s February Fun Tournament at UW Parkside.  We had an early start there, too.  Our first match was against the Sting Bumblebees – it was a really great match with a lot of hustle from everyone.  The second match we took to 3 sets but lost the match against Wisconsin Juniors.  This put us in the Bronze Bracket with us playing McHenry Juniors.  It was a fun match to watch, losing the first but coming back to win sets 2 and 3 – making us Bronze Bracket winners! 


Between these two tournaments, we also took some time at our February 14th practice to share some Valentine Team Love.  Watching these girls over the past few weeks has been awesome.  Every tournament we get a little better – our passes get more on target, our communication gets louder, our serves get over the net, our hustling gets faster.  Small progress makes for big successes in the end.  I am very proud of how this team has handled adversity and has embraced the drills we do at practice and put them into practice in our matches. 


13 BLACK | 1st Place

I AM 13 Black team came off two long days at Power League last weekend.  Playing in the 14's select division has been a challenge for this team yet it has pushed us to a grow and rise to a much higher level of play.  Going into each match it was clear we were underdogs, but these girls were resilient in every match. While we came up short and were not able to produce many wins, it did not represent the talent on this team or how we played.

#Shoutout to Kierstyn West who was our MVP of last weekend’s tournament.

After power league, you could see that the team was feeling a bit defeated. As a coach, this was hard for me to see.  Tuesday at practice I revealed that of the 12 teams we played in power league, 8 were 14's teams who were either the 1st or 2nd team in their club.  I made sure they knew they were stronger players by playing higher competition and encouraged them to see what an accomplishment this was.  I also determined of the 30 sets we played, we lost by an average of only 5.8 points per game! We also had a guest (#Shoutout Coach Jarrod) who talked about trust and how important that is for the success of any team. They went home that day with their heads high.


Thursday’s practice we were hit with a few illnesses and kids missing. We took the first half of practice to learn a new serve receive and worked on hitting technique.  I then packed them up and took them on a surprise field trip to get Ice Cream at the "Purple Door".  What a great time, and their smiles say it all.

Week 7 was our weekend off, but an email came in asking if we would be interested in entering a Sunday tournament the answer was YES! Pool play started out VERY rough.  We lost our first set 25-10. We were just not ready to play.  I struggled to know what to say.  I knew it was up to the team to dig deep and find a way to pull together and make some adjustments.

#Shoutout to Eloise Hughes who brought the team together and inspired them to come back to win the second set 25-10.  

Our second match was against One Wisconsin- Green Bay.  We stayed aggressive on the net and did not let our opponent get any long runs which brought us to victory sweeping them 2-0.



We started the playoffs against Heat VBC and won a much tighter match 25-21 and 25-23to advance to the finals.  #Shoutout to Haley Pfeifer who stepped in and played middle after one of our players needed to leave for another commitment. Haley was confident and ready to step up for her team.  She was as cool as a cucumber and crushed it!


The finals were against Lakeshore Storm, and you could see the discipline and determination to take the GOLD!  The excitement and passion this team played with was so AWESOME!  The entire gym could hear every single play and knew that we were not going to let this one slip through our fingers.   We kept the momentum on our side and played aggressively. #Shoutout to Sophia Ratkowski for earning her first ace pin.  I’m proud to say we dominated and became champs taking down Storm 25-15 and 25-20. 


I was overcome with emotions because I knew how hard they fought and how much they deserved this moment.  I just love these players and this team.


15 RED | 1st Place

Back to back weekends with amazing finals! We headed to Iowa with our 16 Red team to compete in USA Jam inaugural tournament. We faced off against new opponents and had a blast at the arcade room located inside the facility!


We had a short day on day 1 and only had two matches were we played 3 sets no matter what. The first set we played Shock 15 UA Storm out of southern Illinois and we had an instant battle. We lost the first set 23-25, won the second 25-22, and the third set our offense took off with a 25-15 win. Our second match was again RJ'Z 15's from Iowa and they were missing some players and we took advantage of it winning all 3 sets.


We immediately went to the arcade and battle zombies in a 4-person VR game!


Gold bracket for day two and we played Crossfire and Elevate both from Wisconsin. Compliments from parents about our team and how well we played and how good our jackets looked! We won both match and now we are back in the finals!

#Shoutout to the amazing parent group that cheers on these girls every week!

Shock has scratched their way back for a rematch that didn't disappoint! Both teams knew what to expect and there were no more surprises. We were down by 2 or 3 points most of the game and at the very end we flipped the score in the twenties and got the steal winning set one 25-23. Now we have a safety net going into the next one.


We got an early lead and what look like to be and easy route to victory was thwarted by some outstanding defense by team Shock and they kept plays alive and made us work for every point. They tied it up around 16-16 and it was point from point from there. Both teams swinging away and keeping aggressive serves. We go to the finish line winning 30-28 with a kill by Emmalee Heniadis on the RS. Clutch blocks by Allesandra and huge side top from grace Tilley. All players were catching their breathes after this one.

#Shoutout to Hannah Heitzkey for her constant dominance in the finals earning Finals MVP

Tournament MVP goes to Morgan Vetter with back row dominance with both serving and defense.



16 RED | 1st Place

Coming Soon!




17 BLACK | 2nd Place

Coming Soon!

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