In the next few days, we’ll be publishing multiple articles on all the happenings offered by the JVA World Challenge in Louisville over the weekend.
It was plenty.
The biggest headline to emerge from the three-day event was PVB’s National No. 1 Munciana 18 Samurai finally lost. Okay, Munciana has lost matches before on the season, but not a tournament.
The Indiana club captured first place at both the Triple Crown Sports Pre-Season NIT in February and Bluegrass in March, as well as winning the competitive Mideast Power League.
But one title that isn’t coming Muncie’s way is the 18 Open Division at the JVA World Challenge. It was a wild ride Sunday morning, with TAV 18 Black outlasting Munciana in three games, only to watch TAV get rocked by K2 18 Adidas, which eventually fell in the final to … Fusion 18 Red.
What a day in 18 Open!
Familiar foes faced off in the 15, 16 and 17 Open finals.
In 17 Open, Asics KiVA 17 Red defended its Bluegrass title by beating the same team it did last month in Illini Elite 17 Cardinal. Those two played Saturday as well.
Tri-State Elite 16 Blue swept MEPL competitor Munciana 16 Ninjas in the 16 Open final, while MEPL mates Munciana 15 Lorax and Asics KiVA 15 Red duked it out for 15 Open supremacy. Muncie prevailed in that one in three.
You can read all about it in much more detail in the coming days, as well as watch out for the Day 3 Star Search article out Monday.
In the meantime, I wanted to conclude this piece with some insight about why I love covering an event like the JVA World Challenge from a personal perspective.
Covering any volleyball event presents its own challenges. Qualifiers are so difficult to cover because everything is happening at once. Take MEQ two weekends ago in Indianapolis, where on Day 1 there were 12 pools in 16, 17 and 18 Open. That’s 36 Open courts to cover on the opening day. Fortunately, there wasn’t any Open Division stuff in the evening, which allows more time for writing and resting.
The hardest part about covering JVA events is the fact there is always morning and afternoon waves, as the Open Divisions are split. It leaves less time for writing and resting, but a lot more time to actually see the participants and get to more coverage in that sense.
There are no afternoon waves on the final day, of course, but the format still stacks the Open Divisions in a way that makes it a lot easier to cover.
Sunday started with 18 Open Round of 16 play at 8 am. There were no other Open matches going in the ages we cover, so getting to eight courts isn’t as chaotic as getting to 16 of them.
At 9 am, 16 Open began with two play-in matches.
At 10 am, it was 18 Open quarters.
At 11 am, it was 17s quarters, 16s semis and 15s play-in, or eight courts to cover.
At noon, the 18 Open played its semis, as well as 15 Open. That’s four courts.
At 1 pm, the 17 Open had its semis, as well as the 16 Open final. That’s three courts.
At 2pm, it was the 15 and 18 Open final. That’s two courts.
At 3 pm, it was the 17 Open final. One court.
Now, some of those matches overlap of course. So I’m covering a few more courts, but never more than eight at a time.
Better yet, two of the finals actually started ahead of schedule!
When does that ever happen, especially the 17 Open final scheduled for 3 pm?
Some of it is matches ending in straight sets, some of it is the format design and the rest is the way the event is run. It keeps moving.
And an event it is.
The JVA goes all out for the World Challenge.
There is the popular hit, mimicking Family Feud. It’s called Team Feud, but it uses real Family Feud questions. Two clubs compete against each other, just like in the famous Game Show.
The JVA also added full production value to the championship courts for Sunday, having the matches streamed live from multiple camera angles, as well as announcers introducing players ahead of the finals.
As a reporter, none of that really matters to me, but from a production value and making the tournament an ‘event’ for the participating teams, that’s awesome for them.
And there is already something special in the works for next season that, if all goes according to plan, could make the JVA World Challenge stand alone. We don’t have permission to print it yet, but when we do you’ll be the first to hear about it.
Stay tuned for all of our wrap-up coverage in the coming days.