Western Conference #2 Recap
December 1st and 2nd the NVA headed back to Aspire Volleyball Club in Tempe, Arizona where it wrapped up the NVA Western Conference regular season play. The event started with Sizzle (0-2) hosting visitors Blizzard (2-0). Sizzle came out aggressive against the undefeated Blizzard team using its home court advantage to maintain control throughout each match. Sizzle was led by Outside Hitter Joe Kauliakamoa who had 11 kills on 16 attempts with no errors, 4 blocks and 4 digs. Blizzards Dillon Emery led the match with 18 points but it wasn’t enough to knock off the upstart Sizzle who won the match 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-21). This was the first victory for Sizzle who hadn’t won a match since defeating Icemen at the NVA Showcase last December and their first ever over Blizzard who was currently undefeated entering the weekend. The 2nd match of the weekend came between Blizzard (2-1) and Rising Tide (1-1). Blizzard started down early in set one but was able to overcome a 6 point deficit late in the middle of the set and scoring 5 straight to take set 1. Though Blizzard took set 1, the match was far from over as Rising Tide rallied behind Opposite Cullen Irons 20 kills to take set 2 and 3. Unfortunately for the Rising Tide they couldn’t maintain momentum and Blizzard was able to take the match 3-2 (25-20, 18-25, 19-25, 25-17, 15-7). After the long 2 hour 10 minute match Rising Tide (1-2) had a quick turn around to face the well rested Sizzle (1-2). Sizzle picked up where it left off against Blizzard and dominated the first set winning 25-18. Rising Tide was able to gain leads late in both set 2 and 3 against Sizzle, however, Sizzle was able to gain the upper hand in both to overcome both deficits. Bryan Lewis of Sizzle led all scorers with 17 points, 13 kills and 4 blocks. Middle Mark Olsen contributed 6 kills and 6 blocks, hitting .650 for the match. Cullen Irons had 14 kills and 3 digs. Sizzle won 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-23) giving them their first ever win over Rising Tide. Srdj Nadazdin of Sizzle became the first NVA player to score 100 career points. Day 2 of the NVA Western Conference Event was the rematch of Rising Tide (1-3) and Blizzard (3-1). Possibly the best match of the weekend, both teams brought a lot of intensity to the Aspire Gym. Rising Tide playing to keep their playoff hopes alive was able to push Blizzard to another set 5, however, Dalton Ammermans 23 kills and 4 blocks were not enough to stop Blizzard and Dillon Emerys 20 kills. Blizzard finished the 2018 rivalry with Rising Tide with a 3-2 victory (25-21, 27-29, 29-27, 24-26, 15-12). Blizzard remained undefeated against Rising Tide for the 2018 season. The second match of day 2 was the rematch of Sizzle (2-2) and Rising Tide (1-4). Rising Tide maintained post season aspirations heading into this match. If they were able to defeat Sizzle, they would hold the tie breaker and, with help from Blizzard, could have taken the 2 seed overall. Unfortunately, it was the second time this event that they had to face Sizzle following a 5 set match with Blizzard. Sizzle took advantage of the situation, taking down Rising Tide 3-0 (25-20, 26-24, 25-23). Cullen Irons led Rising Tide with 12 kills. Bryan Lewis led Sizzle with 16 kills and 3 blocks, Sizzle setter Zach Melcher contributed 40 assists and 3 blocks. With this victory, Sizzle solidified a post season birth to the NVA Championships. The final match of the day put Sizzle (3-2) facing Blizzard (4-1) in a match for NVA Western Conference supremacy. Suitable for all viewers that the Western Conference Champion would be decided in the final match the weekend. Blizzard jumped out quickly seizing the home town momentum that Sizzle had been previously riding. Sizzle went into match 4 (9-0) in sets, but Blizzard didn’t have any problem taking the first 2 sets of the match. Sizzle was able to try and build some momentum behind a remarkable 3rd set from Srdj Nadazdin who contributed 6 aces in the set. However, the rally was short lived as Blizzard absolutely dominated set 4 behind an 8 Kill performance by Luis Palos. Blizzard won the match 3-1 (25-14, 28-26, 15-25, 25-15) becoming the NVA’s first Western Conference Champions. Middle Connor Dougherty of Sizzle had 9 kills and 3 blocks, setter Edison Zhou of Blizzard had 27 assists, 3 blocks and 5 digs. It was a suitable finale to wrap up Western Conference play. Blizzard (5-1) was able to maintain its dominant form like it has done since the Las Vegas Showcase up until now being crowned the Western Conference Champions. Sizzle, who started the event without win, was able to rally with 3 straight victories to earn second place in the conference and earning a spot at the NVA Championships at (3-3). Rising Tide finished the season (1-5), however had a few plays gone differently late in matches, could have easily changed the entire look of the conference. Up next for the NVA, December, 8th we head back to Buffalo, New York where LVC (2-2) hosts a one day event with visitors Pineapple (3-1) and Icemen (1-3). The final Eastern Conference Event will crown the Eastern Conference Champions and decides who will join Blizzard and Sizzle in the NVA Championships. Look for more updates here on our website www.nvausa.com. Instagram at NVAUSA and our Facebook nvausa. Also a special thanks to Mikasa Volleyball, Smack Sportswear, Aspire Volleyball Club and Todd Jay Photography.