Responses may be scarce because it requires a fairly lengthy discussion to cover all of it. I’ll take a whack at it, though. The first part of what you’ll read is background information that I’m sure you already know.
Pre-season SCVA Qualifiers set the initial ranking of teams in each age group as they go into the main part of the season, which are the Mandatory tourneys. Depending on age group, teams play four or five Mandatories, followed by an end of season two-day Regional tournament. One of the functions of the Mandatory tournaments is to determine which clubs receive re-allocation bids to the Junior Nationals. Many of the club level bids are won at the National Qualifiers (going on this month and next month all over the country), and the remaining spots are given out as re-allocation bids to the top finishing teams in the various regions, e.g., SCVA.
Each Mandatory consists of pool play, and for Divisions 1 through 4, there are playoff brackets afterwards. Each Division consists of 16 teams and is organized into four pools of four teams each. As Cajhawk pointed out, the top two finishers from each pool move into the upper playoff bracket and the third and fourth finishers end up in the bottom bracket. Each of these brackets is played as a normal 8-team single elimination playoff.
The first round playoff game is very important because (for upper bracket teams) if you win, you move up a division for the next tournament. If you are a lower bracket team and you lose the first playoff game, you move down a division. Others just stay in the same division. This is why these matches are always played as best-of-three sets. The later playoff matches are less important and are generally played as a single set to 25.
When completed, the pair of playoff brackets within each division ends up producing a ranking for those sixteen teams. There are some ties involved, e.g., the four losers of the first round playoff matches in each bracket end up tied for either 5th through 8th (if you were in the upper bracket) or 13th through 16th (if you were in the lower bracket). Each finishing position earns a set amount of points.
Okay, all of that is basically background. Now I’ll answer your question (or at least try). Using the 16’s results from this season’s first Mandatory, we see that the maximum points (1000) went to the Division 1 upper-bracket playoff winner, Coast 16-1. For each of the four top Divisions, the points giveaway was 1000 to 930 for D1, 925 to 890 for D2, 885 to 860 for D3 and 855 to 8730 for D4. For lower divisions, no playoffs are done and points are awarded based on pool play finishes.
The distribution of points awarded within each division seems a little odd looking until you work out how teams end up ranked when they finish a single elimination 8-team bracket with no extra tie breaking games: there are lots of ties. I’ll let you do the math. (Hint: just draw out an eight team bracket and you’ll see where the ties occur. Then compare that to the distribution of points.)
Notice that because being in a lower division limits the number of points you receive, a team can maximize their points by playing in higher divisions. If you were a team in Division 1, the maximum points you could receive was 1,000. If you were playing in Division 3, the most points you could receive is 885.
By the way, each week, a slightly larger number of points is given out. The maximum points for Mandatory 2 may be 1,100 instead of 1,000. This procedure was put into place a year or two ago to improve the relative weighting of matches. As result, later Mandatories are worth more points than early ones, and teams finishing the season strongly are rewarded.
A very important distinction to remember is that the Division you’re in isn’t necessarily related to your overall ranking. By this I mean that each week, there is a chance to move up or down between divisions, but your overall ranking is based on the total number of points you have accumulated over the season. Consider this situation: a team starts out in D3 during the first Mandatory, moves up to D2 for the second Mandatory, and then up to D1 for the third Mandatory. Just because they are now in Division 1 (congrats, by the way) doesn’t mean they are ranked in the top 16 teams. Because they spent time in Division 2 and 3 earning fewer points, they will be behind in points and ranked lower than the top 16 teams.
Miscellaneous tidbit: The very top teams in each age group use the National Qualifiers to get Open or Club bids to the Junior Nationals. The next level of teams uses the regional (e.g., SCVA) Mandatory tournaments to get Club bids through the bid allocation process. The remaining teams are playing for their end of season rankings. Depending on age group, bids for the Junior Nationals extend down to mid Division 1 and sometimes into Division 2. Note that because of the scheduling needs of USA volleyball, the last Mandatory usually doesn’t count in Junior National bid selection. They have to lock things in before the last Mandatory and Regionals are played.
I welcome everyone to make corrections and add information I have missed. Hope this helps.
(Anyone who had the patience to read this whole thing deserves a prize!)