By Adam Burns
KANSAS CITY, MO – The MAVS 18s weren’t about to let it happen again. A losing record after the first day of a massive tournament in its own backyard just doesn’t fly. Especially considering what they experienced last year.
The current MAVS 18s squad went 1-2 on Day 1 of the Triple Crown NIT last year. Fast forward to Saturday afternoon and the local squad found itself at an even 1-1 on the tourney headed into its final match against Legacy.
The MAVS, motivated to avoid a repeat of 2019, took care of business, handing Legacy a straight-set loss (25-19, 25-23) in the final R1 Power A pool play contest.
“It was huge for us,” MAVS setter Kendra Wait said. “We know how important seeding is for tomorrow, so we knew if we could go 2-1 we’d have a better chance tomorrow.”
MAVS coach Beau Barnthson agreed with Wait, a Creighton University commit.
“They came out and had a pretty rough first day last year, so the team goal this year was to bounce back and have a better first day,” said Barnthson, the head men’s coach at nearby NAIA Ottawa (Kansas) University.
“It was good to see that resilience so we can carry some of that momentum into Day 2,” Barnthson said.
Speaking of Day 2, the MAVS are poised to make a statement in bracket play. They are, of course, trying to defend their own turf.
“We feel as this is our house,” Wait said. “We’ve played multiple tournaments here already, so it’s important that we come out and play for our city to compete and do well.”
“You always feel that way when a tournament is in your backyard,” Barnthson said. “But tomorrow’s a new day. We approach every tournament like that.”
Regardless of location, the MAVS certainly like to avoid a repeat of last year.
“It was a good team win,” Barnthson said. “We did what we had to do to come out with a W.”