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Borderline 16 Hawks Earn a Bid to Nationals! (9 Apr 06)

The 16 Hawks have earned an American level bid to the Girls' Junior National Championships tournament in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Ohio Valley Region-MoltenŽ 2006 National Bid Qualifier in Columbus, Ohio, on April 8-9.

In their first match of first-round pool play on Saturday the 8th, the Hawks squared off against the 16-3 Toledo Volleyball Club team, winning easily in two games, 25-15, 25-16. The second match was against the 16-2 team from NKYVC, whom the Hawks faced and beat in past tournaments. The Hawks rolled over the NKYVC 16-2 team also in two games, 25-16, 25-17. Their final match of the first pool was against the second-seeded team in the pool, Maverick 16 Teal. Again, the Hawks won in two games, 25-17, 25-21.

The Hawks finished first in their pool, so they moved onto the upper bracket of 16 teams and were repooled. First up for the Hawks was a tougher opponent in the Wooster Elite team. The Hawks easily won game 1, 25-15... then the wheels fell off. Gamel 2 found the Hawks almost immediately behind 0-13 before they knew what happened. The Hawks lost their first game of the day, 16-25. But the Hawks were not stopped and went on to win a close game 3, 15-12. The first day ended with the Hawks 5-0 in match play and ready to face the always-tough Team Atlantis Black Sheep on Sunday morning.

Sunday, April 9th, the Hawks knew starting the day they would finish first or second in this pool and would go on to the Gold bracket in hopes of a bid. But first they had to face Team Atlantis Black Sheep, preseason ranked on as the 13th best team in the country at 16s. Game 1 went to the Black Sheep easily, 14-25. But game 2 was just the opposite, with the Hawks starting off with a commanding 7-1 lead. The Hawks picked up the intensity and began showing intimidating blocking, hitting, and tremendous defensive efforts, and won game 2, 25-15. Game 3 went back and forth, with the Black Sheep scoring at times two for every one we would score. The Black Sheep went on to win, 9-15.

But the Hawks were in the Gold, focused now on earning one of five bids. But first they happened to draw one of the top four teams in the bracket — Cincy Classics Red. The first game was much like it was against Team Atlantis: lost the first game, 16-25. But in the second game, the Hawks intensified and carried the lead throughout most of the game. A questionable and critical replay call by the ref while the Hawks were up 19-18 caused the score to go from 20-18 back to 19-18, and the Classics won the point to tie at 19-19. From there, the Hawks continued to battle, but ended up losing 24-26.

In the consolation bracket of the Gold, the Hawks could still earn the fifth bid by winning two matches to finish fifth overall. Their first opponent was the other Cincy Classics team, Black. The Hawks won two very tight games, 27-25 and 25-21. Next came the match to determine who would earn the fifth bid to nationals. The Hawks faced the Premier VBC team out of Toledo. After much back-and-forth play, the Hawks went on serving runs in both games to win the match in two, 25-19 and 25-21.

The 16 Hawks are on the way to Atlanta at the end of June to compete in the American level of Nationals. They will join the 18 Hawks, who also qualified in Columbus for an American level bid.

Congratulations to all of the girls, coaches, and parents of these two teams... the hard work and determination have paid off. Well done, Hawks!

For additional information, contact Marc Rosen