Mountain Division 17’s soar at qualifier |

Mountain Division 17’s soar at qualifier

Special to the Daily/Mike Thul Sarah Simmons (12) puts one down for the Front Range Volleyball Club-Mountain Division 17's at the Colorado Crossroads Junior National Qualifier in Denver last weekend.

Picking up where the Front Range Volleyball Club-Mountain Division 15’s left off, the 17’s had quite an adventure while competing at last weekend’s final rounds of play at the Colorado Crossroads Junior National Qualifier. More than 800 teams participated during the last two weekends at the Denver Convention Center. Hosted by the Front Range Volleyball Club, the X-Roads event is the largest of the nine qualifiers held around the country at which the best teams in the United States attempt to qualify for the USAV Junior Olympic National Championships from June 28-July 5 in Atlanta.Going into the 128-team Club Division tournament with the anticipation of playing some of the best teams in the country, Aaron Shepardson’s young FRVBC-Mountain Division 17-under team got all they expected and more. Beginning with the first match against a much taller Durango 17’s, the locals were a little tentative against the much bigger Four Corners Volleyball League team, losing a tight one in three.

The next match against 27th-seeded AIM 17 Molten of Austin, Texas, had the same result as the first. And, then, things started happening. Playing with the confidence of knowing that they could stay in a match with national caliber teams, the Mountain Division squad defeated a solid Narrows Purple 17-1 team from Tacoma, Wash., in straight sets, 25-18, 25-17, to force a playoff for second place in its pool and to move into Division I play for the duration of the tourney.

Playoff timeFaced with a three-way playoff, the Mountain Division girls once again defeated the Narrows 17’s; and then, proceeded to avenge their earlier loss to Durango by winning the final game of the playoff, 25-20, to start Saturday’s competition higher than their pre-tournament expectations.On the second day of competition, the 17’s found themselves facing the Nos. 8-, 26-, and 6-seeded teams in the tournament in the same pool. Although, they didn’t win a match on Saturday, the 17’s garnered many accolades for their attitude and style of play against the much more powerful, highly seeded, and ranked teams.

Unfortunately, the third day of competition took its toll on the young team. Having qualified for the 17 Club-Flight 1A Championship Playoffs, the 17’s played their best defense of the tournament as they took an 18-10 lead against the Flatiron 17’s from Boulder before falling in two games.The FRVBC-Mountain Division 17’s finished the tourney in the top half of their division tied for 53rd Place. Vail, Colorado

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