While the Triple Crown Volleyball NIT was shifted from February to May because of the pandemic, several teams from the MadFrog club program in suburban Dallas were more than ready to shine despite the shift in routine.
One team that definitely handled the disruption in fine fashion was the MadFrog 12 Elite Green squad, which swept all three of its matches on Monday to claim the 12 Elite title at the Kansas City Convention Center.
“Triple Crown is such a competitive tournament and I always look forward for my team to compete in it. This year was no different. We struggled on day one and dropped a match to another talented Texas team, but my girls came through the rest of the weekend,” said 12’s head coach Stephanie Lewellen. “We talked a lot about positive body language and energy after the first day of play, in which we were lacking both.
"The team responded well to our conversation, the constructive criticism and came out on day two and three ready to take care of business. I am so proud of my team. We are ready to put in the work for the final performance of the season (the junior national championship).”
MadFrog started Monday with a 25-19, 25-11 victory over Mavs KC, then prevailed in the semifinals with an impressive 25-9, 25-14 win over Premier Nebraska. In the final, Dynasty Black put up some significant resistance in moments, but MadFrog had the answers in a 25-18, 25-23 victory.
“I know this is probably the only year that Triple Crown will happen in May, but I love that we got to compete at this level before nationals. This was a great warm up tournament for us as we head to Vegas,” Lewellen said. “Communication has been an issue for us all season long. Sometimes we would rather try to win a game as six individual players rather than as a team — one unit.
“The matches or sets that we won by a wide margin definitely were in part due to the communication, teamwork and consistency. We have some big hitters, but those big hits wouldn’t be possible without the good passing and setting.”
The MadFrog 12’s finished the 2021 TC NIT with a record of 8-1 overall, winning 16 of its 18 sets played.