Club Features

AAU Nationals: Almost Doesn’t Count in 18 Open and Premier

There’s nothing quite like 18s excitement when the chance to play for medals is at stake

Meg Schmidt (7) for Northern Lights 18-1 attacks against Taylor Landfair (80) for Sports Performance 18 Elite. Lights led late but could not pull off what would have been a massive upset


The downside of being in an 18-Open Power Pool (which is also a positive feature of the design) is that teams play tough competition from the get-go. There were some top-notch teams that came out last in those two pools. That’s the thing, though – they still came out of it.

On the flipside, if you weren’t in a Power Pool, the disadvantage of having less competition within your pool is twofold: one, teams who made it out had to play two matches on day three before the Power Pool teams even woke up; and two, the teams that won those matches had to play a higher-ranked team who had fresh legs.

There were bound to be heart-breaking matches. At the end of the day, some really amazing volleyball was played and many sets could have gone either way. However, “almost winning” doesn’t count for gold.

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