The first wave of championship matches are in the books at the 41st Annual AAU Junior National Volleyball National Championships. In all, we crowned 19 national champions on Friday, June 20 in the 10u-15u, 18u and International divisions. Six matches were streamed live on ESPN3-- International, 18u Open, 12u Open, World Championship, 13u Open and 14u Open.
There were five national champions crowned in the 18u and international divisions, including the crowing of the first-ever AAU Volleyball World Champion.
This is the first year AAU Volleyball incorporated an international division in its line up of championship events. Eight teams from around the world were brought in for the inaugural event-- Brazil, Dominican Republic, Croatia, Germany, Israel, Mexico, Peru and Slovenia. The champion of the international division then faced off against the 18u Open National Champion to be crowned the world champion.
The international division opened up the first round of championships live on ESPN3 at 9:30 a.m. Brazil and Dominican Republic took center court to vie for the chance to be crowned the first-ever international champion.
The Dominican set the tone, going on a 3-0 run in the opening set, but Brazil would make it interesting, eventually notching it up at 10 all. From there, it was back and forth with Brazil creating some breathing room at 24-19. The Dominican said not just yet. They went on a 3-0 run to bring it to within two, but Brazil hung on to take the first set 25-23.
In the second, Brazil took the largest lead of the match to go up 16-8. They appeared to be dominating on both sides of the ball. It was Gabriela Silva who clinched the international title for Brazil with a spike down the center (25-22).
Brazil watched on as Asics Munciana Samurai and Mizuno Sports Performance took the court at 11 a.m. for the 18u Open Championship. The winner of that match up later faced Brazil in the World Championship at 3:30 p.m. live on ESPN3.
The 18u Open final set up a rematch from last year's 18u Open final where Mizuno Sports Performance beat Munciana Samurai in straight sets. This was the fourth time in the past five years that these two teams have met in either a final or semifinal.
The defending national champions jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, but Munciana would rally back 8-7 for their first lead of the match. There were great rallies and kills from both sides, but Sports Performance would capitalize on Munciana's unconventional errors to take the first set 25-22.
To the second set they went. Munciana surged back after being down 12-6 to notch things up at 13 all thanks to a kill from Tionna Williams. Later in the set, Munciana found themselves trying to create a second rally to send it to a third set. At 24-23, Munciana sent a shot to Sports Performance's back line in what appeared to be in. The call was later over turned by the head judge, awarding the match point to Sports Performance and thwarting a possible comeback by Munciana.
The stage was set for the first-ever world championship: Brazil vs. Mizuno Sports Performance.
Mizuno Sports Performance carried the momentum over from their national championship to take the first set 25-20. It appeared that Sports Performance was going to roll to a straight-sets victory, but Brazil went on a 4-0 run to go ahead 12-11 for their first lead of the match. From there, there were 15 lead changes and Drussyla Costa would eventually drop the winning kill into Sports Performance's back court to send it to a third set. In the end, Brazil appeared to be too much for Mizuno Sports Performance, taking the third set 15-11 and the inaugural AAU Volleyball World Championship.
18u Premier Final: Mizuno Sports Performance 18 Red defeated Premier Onitsuka 22-25, 25-19, 15-6
18u Club Final: Capital 18 Navy defeated WVC 18 National 25-20, 26-24
For complete schedules and results from the 41st Annual AAU Junior National Volleyball tournament, click here.
CLICK HERE to view championship photos.
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