PrepVolleyball.com’s famous year-end previews and predictions continue with the 18 Open division at the AAU Junior National Championships in Orlando.
First serve is set for June 23, with the championship scheduled June 26. For the second straight season, 18 Open is using a power-pool format for the top seeds. The top 12 seeds have been placed in two, six-team pools and are guaranteed a spot in the challenge brackets.
The winner of each of the four challenge brackets advances to the gold bracket. Teams outside the power pools must finish in first or second place in their respective pools to move on. That’s a difficult task, given the remaining three non-power pools feature seven teams.
The non-power pool teams that finish first or second advance to two, three-team pools on Day 3. The first and second-place finishers from those two pools reach the challenge brackets, where they have a chance to advance to the gold bracket just like the power pool teams.
The field is strong once more this year, but it’s going to take some work to dislodge PVB’s current No. 1 team in KC Power, which captured the gold medal in 18 Open at Junior Nationals two months ago in Dallas.
Last year, it was simple.
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