Northern Lights Shine in 17 Open Final

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans ( | July 03, 2018, 11:33 p.m. (ET)
Northern LIghts compete in the 17 Open Final
Northern Lights attacks against Top Select during the championship match.

DETROIT, Mich. (July 3, 2018) – Northern Lights 17-1 celebrated July 4 a day early with a 25-14, 25-16 victory over Top Select 17 Open Blake in the 17 Open final on Tuesday at the USAV Girls’ Junior National Championships at the Cobo Center.

The Girls’ Junior National Championships will conclude on Wednesday with finals in the 16s divisions.


Other 17 division champions crowned on Tuesday were Michio Chicago 17National (National Division; Great Lakes Region), TAV 17 Blue (USA Division; North Texas Region) and TeamD 17-Red (Patriot Division; Great Lakes Region).

Going into the match, Northern Lights’ plan was simple.

“Our plan coming in was to get people out of system and to block well on the out-of-system balls,” said Head Coach Adam Beamer. “We knew people would be able to earn big points when they were in-system. But we wanted to stop teams when they were out of system.”

After winning all three pool play matches on day one, Northern Lights’ journey to the championship took a detour when it lost its final two pool play matches to Momentus 17-1 Dan o. (Southern California) and Mintonette Sports – m 71 (Ohio Valley).

“This tournament was not quite what we expected,” said Northern Lights’ Blythe Rients. “Our second day, we dropped two games. We talked about it as a team, realized we needed to do something about it.

“After day two we didn’t lose a set. We realized we really needed to step up and play together as a team.”

Meanwhile, Top Select lost its first pool play match to Aspire 17 Rox (Arizona Region), but did not lose a match again until the final.

However, Top Select had to work hard to get past Sunshine 17 Westside in Tuesday’s semifinal, working hard for a 26-28, 25-22, 16-14 win. Northern Lights had a little easier time in its 28-26, 25-17 win over TIV 17 Mizuno Dylan (North Texas).

“Top Select had a rough road and they had some big matches,” Beamer said. “I think it’s fortunate that we caught them at a good time. They were kind of winded.”

Kennedi Orr of Northern Lights was named the 17 Open MVP.

Sport Court is the official athletic flooring for all USA Volleyball national championship events.


Hometown club TeamD 17-Red (Great Lakes Region) took the title, beating Orange County 17Blue, 25-20, 25-18 in the final.

“I think it’s a big advantage,” TeamD Head Coach David Nichols said of playing at home. “We were pretty steady the whole tournament. The one challenge was the semifinals against Seattle Juniors. It was 15-12 in the third. That could have gone either way.”

In the semifinals, TeamD defeated Seattle Juniors 17 (Puget Sound Region), 28-26, 19-25, 15-12. Orange County 17Blue (Southern California Region) beat SIVBC 17 Storm (Puget Sound Region), 23-25, 25-21, 15-4.


UNO Girls 17 Elite (Great Lakes Region) took the title, beating Bonneville 17 (InterMountain Region) in the final, 25-17. 25-17. UNO’s Marisa Guisti was named tournament MVP. In the semifinals, UNO defeated SA Sting 17 Black (Lone Star Region), 25-21, 25-18. Bonneville 17 swept CTV 17 Elite (North Texas Region), 25-23, 25-21.


In the championship match, Michio Chicago 17National (Great Lakes) beat Adrenalin 17 Rox (Iowa Region), 25-21, 25-21 to win the title. In the semifinals, Michio beat Iowa Rockets 17R (Iowa Region), 28-26, 25-19. Adrenalin defeated EC Power 17-Steel (Keystone, Region), 25-19, 25-7. Michio’s Temitayo Thomas-Ailara was named MVP.

17 USA

TAV 17 Blue (North Texas) took the title by holding off LAVA West 17 adidas in the final, 25-21, 21-25, 15-12. TAV’s Logan Smith was named MVP. In the semifinals, TAV beat Elevation 17 Butcher (Ohio Valley Region) and LAVA defeated Sunshine 17 South Bay (Southern California), 26-24, 26-24.