The Neuqua Knockout highlighted some top girls high school teams in its inaugural year.
May 7, 2015 by Annie Wells in News, Recap with 1 comments
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The first-ever Neuqua Knockout is in the books! A welcome addition to the high school tournament scene, it featured some top level girls’ teams from around the Midwest. Here’s a look at how it all played out.
Omega Takes It All Again
Holy Family Catholic’s girls’ team, Omega, once again dominated the competition in Joliet this weekend. In pool play, they did not have more than two points scored on them by any given team. After easily taking first in their pool, they played the hosting team, Neuqua Valley’s eNVy, in the semifinals. Omega went down 0-3 at the start but once again pushed through the deficit and won the game with their determined zone offense.
Omega also handily took the finals against the third seed, Rush, by a final score of 9-3. That makes two consecutive wins at major tournaments.
Rush Rolls In Strong
Coming into Neuqua Knockout, there was not much known about Rush (Easthampton, MA) or what to expect from them. After this weekend, all doubts about this team are out the window. The New England natives came in first in their pool , taking down eNVy 8-6 to take pool B’s top spot. Their quick give-and-go offense proved too tough to handle by any defense. Their strike cuts and deep game helped them soar past Denver East and into the finals, where they ultimately lost to a very strong Omega squad. Neuqua Knockout put Rush on the map for girls’ teams across the nation, and it will be exciting to see where they go from here.
eNVy Places Third
Neuqua’s A team beat Memorial, eNVy B, and Washtenaw without much hassle this weekend. However, in their pool play game against Rush, eNVy A learned the that sometimes deficits can’t be overcome as they fell behind early and ended up taking second in their pool.
In the semifinals versus Omega, eNVy A started with a quick 3-0 run, but Omega recovered, stole the hometown momentum, and ran away with victory in the second half.
eNVy ended on a strong note, beating Denver East for third place with their intimidating four-man cup zone defense. If eNVy can clean up their handler movement and zone offense, then they may be seen in the finals in upcoming tournaments. eNVy A was also the spirit winner for the tournament.
Denver East With a Solid Showing
The Denver East girls team came into Neuqua Knockout hoping to continue to grow as a team. They accomplished that while also coming in second in Pool A, only losing to Omega and Lone Peak. In the semifinals, they were caught on their heels by Rush and were knocked out of the running for the championship. In the third place game, eNVy’s handlers broke their zone and defeated the Coloradians 10-1, which left Denver with a fourth place finish. If Denver strengthens their zone, on offense and defense, there is no doubt that they will continue to improve.
Lake Zurich Improving
Not a lot was expected from the Vipers (Illinois) this weekend, but they ended up with a solid 2-2 finish in Pool A. They combined with players from Geneva (who they have never played with before) and worked together on defense to build chemistry. The girls had a relaxed playing style on offense which may have caused the difference on a few key games in their pool. With just a little more confidence and aggressive play, they could have really taken a big step up in the standings.
Walter Payton A/B: Slow But Steady
The Walter Payton combined team on Saturday ended up finishing third in pool A with a record of 1-3. They showed improvement from scrimmages earlier in the season, but the wind continued to be a problem for this newer team. Both teams went on to lose in the quarterfinals, but their team chemistry is improving and once they get their basics solidified, both the Walter Payton A and B teams have a great amount of potential.
Holy Mackerel: Just Starting Out
The girls from Center Grove were striving to learn how to work together this weekend. They finished last in their pool and then had a tough loss to eNVy B in the Play-in game. This small team demonstrated that they definitely have potential by putting up a strong fight against Denver East, Lake Zurich, and Walter Payton.
eNVy B: Beginning To Learn
With Neuqua Knockout being eNVy B’s tournament debut, the team was mainly focused on learning. They came in last in the pool but played a very spirited game overall. In the bracket play-in game, they faced another recently formed team, Holy Mackerel, and won 3-2 (yes, it was windy!) for the team’s first win of the season. Rachel Lindsey and Sandhya Dave did not disappoint as they strengthened the team and helped the young group of girls grow closer and learn the ins and outs of the game.
Washtenaw Working Hard
Like Rush, there was not a lot known about the Night Witches from Ann Arbor heading into the Knockout. The girls used mainly a horizontal stack, which proved difficult. The girls were very spirited and very willing to communicate with the other teams. They only won one of their games this weekend, but the team seems eager to learn and improve.
Memorial Speeds Up
Memorial finished with a 2-2 record on Saturday in pool play. They faced Walter Payton Grizzlies on Sunday and beat them 4-3 in one of the longest games of the weekend. Memorial showed a lot of growth this weekend, breaking zones and using their long throws to their advantage.
Lone Peak Breaks Even
Coming all the way from Utah to compete, Lone Peak went 3-3 on the weekend. They started off with both a loss and a win on Friday night to eNVy B and eNvy A, respectively. Both games were hard fought and Lone Peak came into Saturday with a rough idea of what to expect. Their clam-style defense tripped up some teams as did their height. Their ability to dominate in the air and in the deep zone proved vital in all three wins.