Seven bids to USA Volleyball 18s Junior Nationals were on the line at the 2020 Music City Championships in Nashville over MLK Day weekend: three in the Open division, three in USA, and three in American.
In Open, Central Ohio-based Mintonette m.81, stacked with Division I recruits, dominated on its way to a first-place finish. Picked by PrepVolleyball as the No. 4 18s team in its preseason rankings, m.81 returned all nine players from 2019, including U.S. Youth National Teamer Emily Londot, who was recently named Ohio Gatorade Player of the Year.
Mintonette lost just two sets throughout the entire three-day tournament, with the second set loss coming to Union 18 Asics of Louisville in the final, which m.81 won 18-25, 25-20, 17-15. Both finalists earned bids to USAV Junior Nationals, as did North Pacific Juniors 18-1 Frontier, which won the third-place match over Excel 18 National Red of Carrollton, Texas, 25-16, 25-23.
Rewatch the 18 Open championship match between Mintonette m.81 and Union 18 Asics below:
The second-place finish and bid-securement marked an excellent start to the season for Union 18 Asics, which ranked No. 49 in PrepVolleyball’s 18s preseason rankings. Led by Jacksonville State-bound outside hitter Courtney Glotzbach and setter Macie Garrison and Bellarmine-bound libero Anna Lococo, Union went 8-1, losing only in the championship match.
NPJ 18-1 Frontier relied on strong play from outside hitter Ryann Gregg, a Portland commit, Washington-bound Audra Wilmes, and setter Izzi Szulczewski, who’s headed to Oregon State. On the weekend, 18-1 Frontier lost just once, in the gold bracket semifinals to eventual champion Mintonette m.81.
18 Open third-place match: NJP 18-1 Frontier vs. Excel 18 National Red:
A 17s team won the 18 USA division: Elevation 17-1 of Cincinnati, which features Ball State committed setter Megan Wielonski, Robert Morris-bound outside hitter Alexandra Christman, and Utah Valley recruit and middle blocker Jules Fink. The team recovered from losing its first match of pool play and won every match from there on out, taking down East Valley Juniors 18N1-Tempe in the final (19-25,25-20,15-11).
MadFrog 18 National Green of Plano, Texas, also earned a bid by winning the 18 USA third-place match.
In 18 American, there was just one bid to be secured, and Tallahassee Juniors 18 Nike Pro earned it, defeating St. Pete 18 Teal in the final 25-17, 25-23.