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A quick note about Siegel. The loss of MaKenzie Jordan had a huge impact on that team. Their main weapon is now Julia Wheeler, a hard hitting Tennessee Tech commit. Junior Sophia Bossong (committed to UT Chattanooga) is the District MVP and an elite setter. However, last night’s win against Cleveland exposed the back row as a weak spot for that team. Hopefully Siegel can play well enough to get Shawn Robinson a crack at a championship in his last season as HC. On a somber note, a very nice local family suffered a tragic loss: https://www.dnj.com/story/sports/high-school/2018/10/10/providence-christian-marley-mccauley-volleyball-mom-tracy-mccauley-ovarian-cancer/1595082002/
Congratulations to Mid-Tennessee Players Selected for 2018 USA Volleyball Training and Teams! 2018 Women's Junior National Team Logan Eggleston, OH, 2018, Alliance Women's Junior A1 National Training Program Jamison White, Setter, 2020, Alliance Chloe Wilson, OH, 2020, Alliance Girls' Youth Continental Team Program Claire Wilson, Setter, 2021, Alliance Girls' Youth A2 National Training Program Malaina Miles, MB, 2020, Alliance Girls' Youth A3 National Training Program Sarah Emmons, Setter, 2022, TPV Girls' Select Continental Team Program Caroline Johnston, Setter, 2023, TPV Girls' Select A3 National Training Program Brooke Gilleland, OH, 2022, Alliance Girls' Select National Skills Training Program Hannah Perry, Setter, 2022, Alliance Girls' Future Select National Training Program Allison Majka, Libero, 2024, Mid-TN Emily Holmes, MB, 2024, Alliance Mackenzie Bidwell, Setter, 2024, Alliance Madeline Drape, OH, 2024, Club West
The Showdown in the Smokies tournament just ended, and here’s how Ethos, TPV, and Alliance fared: 12s – No club participation 13s – TPV Zulu (4-2) beat TPV Yankee (3-3) and won Open Silver. Alliance Mizuno (2-4) played in Open Consolation bracket and lost to TPV Yankee during pool play. 14s – Alliance Mizuno won Open Silver. Ethos Adidas (2-3) played in Open Silver. TPV Zulu (4-1) played in Club Gold. TPV Yankee (1-4) and Foxtrot (2-3) played in Club Silver. 15s – Alliance Mizuno (4-1) played in Open Gold; Alliance Molten (1-4) played in Open Silver. Ethos Adidas (1-4) played in Open Silver. TPV Zulu (0-4) played in Open Consolation. TPV Yankee (2-3) played in Club Consolation. 16s -Alliance Mizuno (4-2) and Alliance Molten (3-3) both played in Open Gold. TPV Zulu (1-4) played in Open Silver, and lost to Alliance Mizuno during pool play. Ethos Adidas (2-3) played in Open Silver, and lost to Alliance Molten during pool play. TPV Yankee (2-3) played Club Silver. Now, my personal opinions: This was the first opportunity to see Alliance, TPV, and Ethos at one location. Tennessee Performance Volleyball is definitely better and deeper at the 13U level than Alliance. Many open players left Alliance and are playing on the TPV 13-1 and -2 teams this year. 14s is simply a weak talent pool in mid-Tenn. Both Alliance Mizuno 14U and TPV 14U Zulu had injuries to key players, but neither team has performed well this year against National-level competition. Alliance is clearly better than the other mid-Tenn clubs at 15U and 16U. Ethos is stronger than TPV at 15U and likely at 16U as well. Final observation, K2 Adidas placed into Open Gold in every division. Middle Tennessee volleyball is still lagging behind K2, KiVA, A5, Munciana, etc.
I’ve never lived in Louisville, and I don’t know anything about KiVA’s club other than watching their teams play. However, I think the Nashville metro area can be compared to other cities of comparable sizes, and to top clubs from similarly sized metro areas that travel into the southeast (Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Jacksonville, Memphis, Raleigh). I don’t think athletes from those areas are naturally any different than Nashville athletes. I think that the differences between Nashville area volleyball and Louisville area volleyball (or K2, Cleveland Rox, Milwaukee Sting, or Municana, for that matter) lay mostly with the clubs, training, and, more specifically, with the volleyball coaches, and to a lesser degree the girls. I personally think that Alliance does a pretty good job with the 9-11 year olds. I watched an 11 year old Alliance team a few years ago playing “up” and marveled at their good ball control skills. I watched substantially the same team two years later and wondered how that team had lost so much so quickly. To your question about Rutherford County: I think the difference between Williamson and Rutherford starts with the economic disparity. Williamson County’s median household income is nearly twice that of Rutherford’s. Travel sports are costly and require a significant disposable income. Additionally, travel sports means coordinating transportation for practices, which is tough on a two income family. With that said, there are families who are able to travel to Franklin for volleyball, including good players who play on top teams (Sophia Bossong, setter for Siegel, is a good example of this). The difference between Siegel and other high school teams in Rutherford County is easy to see. The Siegel players play club, the other schools are fortunate to have half of their girls pick up a volleyball outside of high school. While many Siegel players play at the “not good” club here in Rutherford County, the quality of play is good enough to go deep into the state tournament year after year. Economics, poor coaching, and lack of good training opportunities are all detriments for kids at other Rutherford County schools. With that said, there are good players who may change the face of high school volleyball here: Storm White at Stewart’s Creek is developing, and I thought Ashlyn King at Blackman was the best 14U player I saw last year (Shea Eggleston included). Unfortunately, Ashlyn did not impress me when I saw her this fall at Districts. She is playing on a very strong “not good” club here, coached by long-time assistant MTSU coach Jeff Motluck, so her game may improve.
Clifford20 makes some excellent points regarding how young volleyball players are being developed in the mid-Tennessee area, but I disagree about the suggested “Pat Summit Effect.” A quick review of KiVA’s commits from 2016 to 2018 (to date) shows that out of 53 committed athletes, KiVa sent 31 to D1 programs. 58.4% of KiVA's commits went to D1 programs. Over that same time period, Alliance had 51 committed athletes, but only 17 to D1 schools (33.3%). That is despite the metro population of Louisville (approx. 1.2M) being less than Nashville’s metro population (approx. 1.8M). At this point it could be argued that this is due to the “Pat Summit Effect,” i.e. more female athletes in Tennessee are playing other sports at young ages and missing out on early volleyball development. However, K2’s club undermines this theory. K2’s commits from 2016 to 2018 (to date) show 30 committed athletes. That number is to be expected, since the Knoxville metro population is around 800k. Seems proportional so far. Where it goes sideways is that out of those commitments, 18 are to D1 schools. That’s a 60% rate and one more D1 player than Alliance had over the same time period. Knoxville is also Pat Summit’s back yard. To recap: K2 sent 60% of their college commits to D1 schools; KiVa sent 58.4%, and Alliance sent 33.3%. Is this an indication that kids are “getting serious” about volleyball at younger ages in Louisville and Knoxville? Perhaps. Does looking at the number of D1 commits have a correlation to the competitiveness or reputation of the program? Perhaps. The following are the AAU final standings for the past two years: 2017: Age KiVA Allnce K2 18u - 7 19 3 17u - 2 33 16u - 10 29 17 15u - 5 21 21 14u - 2 5 25 13u - 5 12 12u - 10 19 13 2016: Age KiVA Allnce K2 18u - 10 21 7 17u - 3 29 16u - 5 32 29 15u - 11 5 9 14u - 3 15 22 13u - 5 13 11 12u - 6 16 13 KiVA and K2 are both having more success at winning at AAUs and at placing players at Division I programs than Alliance while drawing from a smaller population base. This information is not anything that hasn’t already been considered by Alliance parents and players. The added competition from other/new clubs in mid-Tennessee may cause changes and improvements at Alliance, however I think that whatever shortcomings exist cannot be laid at the feet of the players.
Siegel Middle School has been the regular season champion and tournament champion for the past 7 years. This year, Siegel beat Christiana Middle in a hard-fought regular season game, and Christiana beat Siegel in the 2017 tournament championship game. The scores in the tournament match were 25-23; 24-26; and 15-11. It was a slug-fest! Congratulations to Siegel Middle School for 2017 Rutherford County Season Championship! Congratulations to Christiana Middle School for 2017 Rutherford County Tournament Championship! Looking forward to these two schools going at it again next year.