Last year, Marengo-based Club Fusion’s elite 16 Black volleyball team grinded out a three-set match to win a national title in the 16 Open Division at the annual AAU Girls Junior National Championships in Orlando, Fla.
This year, the same group of players didn’t need gritty play. Fusion’s 17 Black team, led by Richmond-Burton outside hitter Ali Frantti, beat Academy Volleyball Cleveland on Wednesday night in Orlando to win a second straight AAU national title.
Frantti received All-America honors, along with teammates Bryanna Weiskircher (Boylan setter) and Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wis., outside hitter). All three are committed to Penn State.
“They were nothing short of dominant,” said Eric Schulze, general manager at Fusion. “Last year [the championship match] was a lot more exciting. This year, they just dominated.”
17 Black received the top seed in Orlando and played a single three-set match during pool play. Fusion was pushed to three sets in the quarterfinal against Alamo 17 Kaepa Premier (Texas), then beat Atlanta-based A5 Mizuno in the semifinal to earn a spot in the national championship match.
17 Black will try to win a second national title in a week at the USA Volleyball Junior National Championships in Dallas, which began Friday. Fusion is seeded fifth in the 17 Open division.
Fusion-South 14 Red and Fusion-South 18 Silver also won AAU national titles in the 14 Club and 18 Classic divisions, respectively. Both teams are based in Batavia at one of Fusion’s satellite locations.
Fellow McHenry County volleyball club Sky High also sent a handful of teams to Orlando. Sky High 15 Black finished 16th in the 15 Open Division, and Sky High 17 Black finished 43rd in the 17 Open division. Sky High 18 Red was ninth and 18 White was 45th in the 18 Club division.
Sky High also will compete in Dallas this weekend.