The first day of Nationals in Orlando was everything we thought it was going to be and more! Kairos 18 Adidas played in Open for the very first time going 2-1. The only loss they had was to Coast 17-1's based out of California who had a dominant front row (RS- Oregon, MB-UCLA and OH - BYU), Switching into the Premier Bracket Pentagon 18 Orange and Kairos 18 Beta both went 2-1 and are only one bracket away from each other starting in day 2. The combined records from both AM and PM wave from Elite Alliance, Kairos, Pentagon and VOLT is 26-9.
After watching great volleyball for 13 hours here is our recap of Day 1.
Orlando Stars Squad Day 1:
Tune into our socials for this announcement
Sunshine State Standouts: There were so many more great efforts today here are 10 others that we definitely noticed:
Joselyn Samuels-Setter-Kairos 13s. Hard to believe she's 13 with the footwork and consistency Samuels plays with. Not bad as attacker either.
Kennedi Boomsma-MB-Kairos 13 Adidas. Her block was intimidating, but when she had an opportunity Boomsma brought the hammer.
Mackenzie Walsh-MB-Kairos 14 Gamma. Walsh was a defense wall for her Gamma team that went 3-0 on the day.
Peyton Hohn-MB-Pentagon 14 Orange. Hohn was a solid block in the middle for her squad. She plays with a lot of energy as well.
Grace Hansen-Setter-Elite Alliance 14-1s. Hansen teamed with Hirtz for some crucial points in two of their 3 wins. Consistent and had really good timing with her hitters.
Taylor Killoran-OH-Volt 13s. Killoran is the a multi-skilled OH that is the leader and go to for her team. Like most of her teammates she is well rounded and has solid fundamentals.
Londyn Smith-Setter-Kairos 14 Adidas. We have watched Smith consistently improve all season. Her aggressive serving was big in a couple of comeback set wins for her team.
Lauren Venenga-MB-Kairos 14 Beta. Lauren is a strong MB that was big offensive weapon for her squad today as they start 3-0. A very strong MB in the talented Class of '26.
Baily Randall-OH-Kairos 18 Beta. Randall had the biggest day from a very balanced OH attack for the squad that went 2-1. She was explosive today and read blocks consistently.
Evilyn McCarney-Kairos 12 Adidas. Evlilyn put on a serving show on Wednesday. Her serve was nearly unstoppable and kept her teams opponents out of system much of the time.
Teams of the Day:
AM Wave: Elite Alliance 14-1 The Cardiac Kids didn't show any nerves when it was crunch time. The first time National attendees went 3-0 and won two dramatic 3 set thrillers. They played with more and more confidence as the day went on.
PM Wave: Kairos 13 Adidas This team has come a long way this season and looked like a totally different squad today, than they did in KC in February. Serve receive is improving and when in system Samuels finds multiple weapons who just didn't miss today. Though they ended 2-1 this team played at a high level all day and fun doing so.
How They Fared:
Pentagon 14s 1-2 Pentagon 18s 2-1
Elite Alliance 14s 3-0
Volt Volleyball 12s 2-1 Volt Volleyball 13s 1-2
Kairos 12 Adidas 3-0 Kairos 13 Adidas 2-1 Kairos 14 Gamma 3-0
Kairos 14 Beta 3-0 Kairos 18 Beta 2-1 Kairos 18 Adidas 2-1
News and Notes:
Movement Day: Thursday is a big chance for teams to make a big jump in the rankings if they can have a 2-1 or 3-0 day.
Crazy Day: Today was the first day of Nationals and also the first day Class of '24s could be contacted by D1 coaches. Guessing cell phones were blowing up in Orlando.
New Territory No Problem: Both Kairos 18 Adidas and 14 Adidas jumped into Open Division play for the first time. They went 5-1 combined. (14s didn't drop a set).
It's A Marathon: Most teams will play 9 matches in three days (plus tie-breakers or challenge matches) so heading into Day 2-3 it will be interesting to watch what teams play consistently well or if some start to tire.
Serve-Receive: It's not surprising that nearly every coach or athlete we talked with Monday said that serve receive will be the most important element to how far they go at Nationals. So if you are picking one thing to focus on today........watch how well teams handle serve receive.
Talented '24's: We have touched on this earlier this year, but the Class of '24 could be the deepest yet as far as quality/college talent. Sign of that again yesterday when Kairos' three 14's teams went a combined 9-0 on the day.