Team Dream Makes More History Winning Women's Open Division

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | May 29, 2018, 8:41 p.m. (ET)

Haley Eckerman attacks
Team Dream, the first-ever all-African-American team in the Women's Open Division, completed its historical run by capturing the Women's Open Division title behind most valuable player Haley Eckerman

DALLAS (May 29, 2018) – Team Dream and LVC won the Women’s and Men’s Open Divisions, respectively, on Tuesday afternoon during the 89th USA Volleyball Open National Championships being contested at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas. Also, Sit Happens (Keystone Region) won the Sitting Volleyball Division title. The event concludes on Wednesday afternoon with the final 12 divisions championship matches.

Women’s Open Division
Team Dream (North Texas), the first-ever all-African-American team competing in the Women’s Open Division, completed its dream by capturing the championship title after rallying past Hoosier Exterminators (Hoosier) 21-25, 25-21, 26-24, 20-25, 15-10.

Team Dream, which finished 7-0, was forced to a fifth set three times in the tournament but came away winners each time. They reached the title match by rallying past Team Freedom (Garden Empire) 20-25, 18-25, 25-17, 25-21, 15-12 in the semifinals.

“It is awesome,” said Team Dream’s Haley Eckerman, who put together the historic squad and was named the Women's Open Division most valauble player. “That was our goal – to come out here and play our best. We were definitely challenged by both teams in Freedom and Hoosiers. It showed that there are teams that are good, but we just mentally and emotionally wanted to play together. That is what we wanted to do and it showed in the end.”

With consecutive five-set matches in the semifinals and finals, Team Dream pulled deep inside to accept the challenge and come-from-behind to win.

“I think we knew we wanted to make that history,” Eckerman said. “Not only we wanted to be the first all-African-African team, but we wanted to show we were dominant in our sport. That kind of clicked in our heads when we were down those points to come back.”

Hoosier Exterminators ended the tournament with a 5-2 record, and both losses coming at the hands of Team Dream. Hoosier Exterminators swept Arizona Sizzle (Arizona) in the semifinals 25-14, 25-16, 25-21 to earn its spot in the finals.

Team Freedom won the bronze medal by rallying past Arizona Sizzle 17-25, 27-25, 20-25, 25-23, 16-14 in the third-place match.

Men’s Open Division
Team LVC (Iroquois Empire) swept Team Freedom (Garden Empire) 25-21, 25-15, 25-20 in the Men’s Open Division championship match after starting pool play with a 1-2 record.

Team LVC, which ended the tournament 6-2, defeated UACH (Mexico) 25-19, 25-15, 25-17 in the quarterfinals and Northeast Force (New England) 25-18, 25-14, 26-24 in the semifinals. The championship win over Team Freedom avenged a five-set pool play loss.

Team Freedom, 5-3 on the tournament, turned back OCVC Chacarrons (Southern California) 25-23, 23-25, 25-22, 20-25, 15-13 in the semifinals to advance to the final round.

Sitting Division

Sit Happens captured the Sitting Volleyball Division, which combines both able-bodied and disabled athletes, by rallying past Oklahoma Sitting Red 22-25, 25-13, 16-14 in the championship match. Sit Happens went undefeated with seven victories and only three set losses.

Sit Happens reached the title match by sweeping Alamo City Sitting Volleyball 25-14, 25-14 in the quarterfinals and Team Florida All-Stars 25-17, 26-24 in the semifinals. Oklahoma Sitting Red, 5-2 in the tournament with both losses coming to Sit Happens, advanced to the title match by defeating Limitless 25-15, 25-14 in the quarterfinals and Nebraska High Rollers 23-25, 25-22, 15-11 in the semifinals.

Team Florida All-Stars won the bronze-medal match 25-23, 17-25, 15-13 over Nebraska High Rollers.

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

2018 USA Volleyball Open National Championships Podium Finishes

Men’s Divisions
Men’s Open: Gold - Team LVC (Iroquois Empire); Silver – Team Freedom (Garden Empire); Bronze – OCVC Chacarrons (Southern California)
Men’s AA: Gold – Luau Chicago (Great Lakes); Silver – Team Youth (North Texas); Bronze – Thundercats (New England)
Men’s A: Gold – Fathers & Sons (Southern California); Silver – Team Bear Claw (Iowa); Bronze – ZO-U (Gateway)
Men’s BB: Finals May 30, 2:30 p.m.
Men’s B: Finals May 30, 2:30 p.m.
Men’s 40-and-Over: Gold – Beam Pineapple (Hoosier); Silver – Hustle & Flow (Garden Empire); Summit 40s (Great Lakes)
Men’s 45-and-Over: Finals May 30, 1:15 p.m.
Men’s 50-and-Over: Gold – Balboa Bay 50s (Southern California); Silver – Blaine Labs (Heart of America); Bronze – Banespa Brazil 50 (Brazil)
Men’s 55-and-Over: Finals May 30, 12:15 p.m.
Men’s 60-and-Over: Gold – Federal Resources (Heart of America); Silver – Kings Mountain Fog 60 (Northern California); Bronze – Fog Canada 60s (Canada)
Men’s 65-and-Over: Finals May 30, 1:15 p.m.
Men’s 70-and-Over: Gold – Quiksilver Legends 70 (Southern California); Silver – V&C/Brasil M70+ (Brazil); Bronze – Papakoa 70 (Great Lakes)
Men’s 73-and-Over: Finals May 30, 2:30 p.m.
Men’s 76-and-Over: Gold – Outback Steakhouse 76 (Puget Sound); Silver – MAC MAGIC 76 (Chesapeake); Bronze – Rustys 76 (Columbia Empire)
Men’s 78-and-Over: Finals May 30, 2:30 p.m.

Women’s Divisions
Women’s Open: Gold – Team Dream (North Texas); Silver – Hoosier Exterminators (Hoosier), Bronze – Team Freedom (Garden Empire)
Women’s AA: Gold – Grindmode (Lone Star); Silver – Team Bison (North Country); Bronze – Toesies (Old Dominion)
Women’s A: Gold – Shots (Southern California); Silver – SPANK (Badger); Bronze Team Bearclaw (Iowa)
Women’s BB: Finals May 30, 2:30 p.m.
Women’s B: Finals May 30, 2:30 p.m.
Women’s 40-and-Over: Finals May 30, 1:15 p.m.
Women’s 45-and-Over: Gold – San Diego Beaches (Southern California); Silver – No Dinx 45+ (Moku O Keawe); Bronze – How I Set Your Mother (Badger)
Women’s 50-and-Over: Finals May 30, 2:30 p.m.
Women’s 55-and-Over: Gold – Brasil Mix 55 (Brazil); Silver – Panama Jack San Diego (Southern California); Bronze – Fog Canada Masters 55s (Canada)
Women’s 60-and-Over: Finals May 30, 1:15 p.m.

Special Olympics Red: Gold – Georgia Henry County Gladiators; Silver – Chattanooga Chill; Bronze – Wisconsin Bad Pack
Special Olympics Blue: Gold – Georgia Kay Center Tigers; Silver – Texas Allen Spikers; Bronze – Arizona Outlaws

Sitting Volleyball: Gold – Sit Happens (Keystone); Silver – Oklahoma Sitting Red (Oklahoma); Bronze – Team Florida All-Stars (Florida)