One of the region’s most electric wins came in the Girls’ Youth Division as Iowa GIY (Iowa) pushed Team Florida GIY to the brink in a five-set thriller, rallying from 14-11 to tie the match. Florida however, held off, claiming a 17-15 victory in Set 5.
The Girls’ International Youth final was one of seven finals played Saturday at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale following four days of pool play and playoff competition at this year’s High Performance Championships.
In the Women’s International Juniors final, Team Florida defeated USA High Performance Junior A1 Red 25-17, 25-18, 25-22 behind the powerful attack of division MVP T’ara Ceasar; Ceasar recorded 19 kills and five aces in the win, including set point in both Sets 1 and 2.
“She’s got such a powerful arm that teams have just had a really hard time stopping her all tournament,” teammate Melanie Canfield said.
Florida trailed by as many as five points in Set 1, but rallied to tie the Set at 14-14 on a Ceasar ace, taking the lead for good on a powerful back row attack by the outside hitter on the next point. Team Florida went 9-0, dropping just one set all week in one of the tournament’s most dominant performances.
Earlier in the day, SCVA Youth National (Southern California) topped Team Florida 25-22, 25-12, 25-14 in the Boys’ Youth National division.
After holding opposite hitter Collin Shannon out in the team’s pool play match, SCVA Head Coach Todd Hollenbeck inserted Shannon back in; Shannon exploded for 18 kills – including the match’s final two points – and five blocks.
“Collin is the captain of consistency, never shaken and always gives a deep, hard swing,” Hollenbeck said. “I rested him for the first match against Florida to Florida a different look, but he’s captain cool.”
The match started rocky for both teams as Florida and SCVA combined for nine service errors and an additional six attacking errors in the first set. SCVA settled quickly in the second set behind the arms of Shannon and Landon Moore. Combined with increased blocking from middles Jake Meyer and Jack Copeland, SCVA pulled ahead, capitalizing on Florida errors.
“We expected them to come out a little bit harder for a gold medal match, but we were ready following our team meeting this morning and were able to stick to our game plan,” Shannon said.
SCVA finished 8-0, defeating bronze medal winner Lonestar Youth (Lone Star) 3-0 to make the finals. Team Florida topped OVR HP Youth (Ohio Valley) 3-0 to book its ticket to the final.
The 17th annual HPCs were held in Fort Lauderdale for the second time since 2013; the 2017 tournament also will take place in Florida. One-hundred twelve teams from 18 of USA Volleyball’s 40 regions competed in eight divisions: U20 Girls', Boys’ International Youth, Boys’ National Youth, Boys’ Regional Youth, Girls’ International Youth, Girls’ National Select, Girls’ National Youth and Women’s International Junior. Championships in all divisions but U20 Girls’ were played Saturday.
Women’s International Juniors
Gold: Team Florida WIJ (Florida)
Silver: USA Junior A1 Red
Bronze: Team Ontario Girls (Canada)
Boys’ International Youth
Gold: NCVA Junior Red (Northern California)
Silver: Team Canada (Canada)
Bronze: SCVA Youth International (Southern California)
Girls’ International Youth
Gold: Team Florida GIY (Florida)
Silver: Iowa GIY (Iowa)
Bronze: USA Select A1 Red
Boys’ National Youth
Gold: SCVA Youth National (Southern California)
Silver: Team Florida BNY (Florida)
Bronze: Lonestar Youth (Lone Star)
Girls’ National Select
Gold: Team Florida GNSR (Florida)
Silver: OVR HP Select Girls (Ohio Valley)
Bronze: Badger Girls Select (Badger)
Boys’ Regional Youth
Gold: Texoma Select (Lone Star)
Silver: GEVA Boys’ Blue Youth (Garden Empire)
Bronze: Team Florida BNS (Florida)
Girls’ National Youth:
Gold: Aloha HP GNY (Aloha)
Silver: Iowa GNY (Iowa)
Bronze: Lakeshore Youth (Lakeshore)