PHOENIX (July 5, 2018) – 949 B12 Black did it again, setting history at the USA Volleyball Boys Junior National Championships on Thursday in Phoenix, Arizona.
949 B18 Black (Southern California) claimed the 18 Open title, Sports Performance Volleyball (SPVB) B18 Alpha (Great Lakes) earned the 18 USA championship and VCVC Boys 18 Yosh (Southern California) won the 18 Club title.
Sport Court is the official athletic flooring for all USA Volleyball national championship events.
949 B18 Black (Southern California) captured the 18 Open Division title after defeating rival Balboa Bay 18 Blue (Southern California) 25-16, 25-21 in the gold-medal match. In the process, they became the first team to win four consecutive gold medals progressing from the 15 Open Division through the 18 Open Division.
949 B18 Black was not perfect in the tournament, going 10-1 with its only loss to HPSTL B18 Royal (Gateway) in a three-set barnburner in the final match of round three. 949 B18 Black reached the title match with a win over local favorite and bronze-medalist AZ Fear 18 JB (Arizona) 25-12, 23-25, 15-12 in the semifinals after sweeping SMBC Pali 18 adidas (Southern California) 25-17, 26-24 in the quarterfinals.
“This is four Open golds in a row – 15s, 16s, 17s and now 18s,” said 949 B18 Black’s Patrick Paragas, who was named most valuable player of the 18 Open Division. “It has been quite a ride. When we first met as 15-year-olds, we didn’t have much chemistry. We just met and we were trying to figure things out by Junior Nationals. Luckily we won that that year. As years went on, our chemistry became way better. We had the experience to pull out these gold medals.”
In 2017, 949 defeated The HBC 17 Black in the 17 Open championship match in Columbus, Ohio. In 2016, 949 topped The HBC 16 Black in the 16 Open title match in Dallas. 949’s gold-medal streak started in 2015 by defeating Torrimar 15u in Columbus.
Diego Perez, the libero for 949 B18 Black, reflected on his team’s accomplishment immediately after the gold-medal match.
“It is super deep,” Perez said “Just knowing we are the best team and better than anyone else. This is the best team ever. We are all best friends.”
Perez drew strength from deep within himself all day battling an ankle injury that could have derailed the title quest.
“My foot could be fractured,” Perez said. “I used my left foot a lot.”
Perez had plenty of support around him on the court, though. While Paragas was chosen as the MVP, he is humbled by the award and feels the honor comes through the abilities of his teammates.
“I don’t even know how to describe it,” Paragas said. “It is an unbelievable feeling. I couldn’t have done it without these all guys. The passers are amazing, I have weapons from every single position.”
Paragas is heading to UC Santa Barbara, and he wants to continue the winning tradition with the Gauchos next spring.
“I am going to UC Santa Barbara, and I certainly want to win a national championship at UCSB,” Paragas said. “Luckily, one of my teammates, Andrew McSweeney, is coming with me. So we will already have that chemistry.”
Ethan Talley, a middle for 949 B18 Black, mentioned the fourth title shows the long-term commitment the players have put into the program.
“I feel it is a big statement to say we work hard, put in the work every day, always showing, always doing our best,” Talley said. “I feel like we have the deepest team out there, that is why we win. Every single guy, even on the bench, contributes to the win. I couldn’t be happier.”
Talley will now head to Ohio State University where he will be a middle on the Buckeye roster. Now that his club career has come to a conclusion, he says it will be odd feeling facing his 949 teammates on the other side of the net in college.
“It will be fun at Ohio State, but it will be a litter weird having them on the other side of the net,” Talley said. “But I look forward to it.
Balboa Bay 18 Blue, which finished the 18 Open Division with a 9-2 record, topped bronze-medalist MB Surf Asics (Southern California) 25-15, 20-25, 15-10 in the semifinals after sweeping HPST B18 Royal 25-21, 25-17 in the quarterfinals.
SPVB B18 Alpha (Great Lakes) took home the 18 USA Division by rallying past Ponce Pumas (Puerto Rico) 21-25, 25-17, 15-11 in the gold-medal match. SPVB B18 Alpha went 10-1 overall in the tournament with its lone setback to WAVE 18 Kevin (Southern California) in the second round. SPVB B18 Alpha reached the title match by defeating the local team AZ Fear 18 SB (Arizona) 25-18, 25-16 in the semifinals and SMBC West 18 adidas (Southern California) 16-25, 25-16, 15-8 in the quarterfinals.
Ponce Pumas 18U reached the championship match by defeating SCVC 18 Quiksilver (Southern California) 25-23, 25-18 in the quarterfinals and WAVE 18 Kevin 25-23, 25-21 in the semifinals. Ponce Pumas went 9-2 for the tournament, and both losses were at the hands of SPVB B18 Alpha.
AZ Fear 18 SB and WAVE 18 Kevin earned 18 USA bronze medals.
VCVC Boys 18 Yosh (Southern California) rallied to defeat LBVC 18s (Southern California) 19-25, 28-26, 15-13 in the 18 Club Division gold-medal match. VCVC Boys 18 Yosh ended the tournament undefeated at 11-0, but needed to bounce back from first-set losses in both its semifinal and title match. They defeated OCVC 18-1 (Southern California) 22-25, 25-18, 15-13 in the semis after sweeping KU’IKAHI 18R RoShamBo (Aloha) 25-19, 25-21 in the quarterfinals.
LBVC 18s, which was undefeated in the tournament heading into the gold-medal match, ended the tournament at 10-1. They reached the title match by sweeping Coastal Toreros 18 OLA (Florida) 25-23, 25-19 in the quarterfinals and TVP 18 (Chesapeake) in the semifinals.
TVP 18 and OCVC 18-1 earned the 18 Club bronze medals.
2018 USA Volleyball Boys Junior National Championships
18 Open: Gold – 949 B18 Black; Silver – Balboa Bay 18 Blue (Southern California); Bronze – MB Surf Asics 18s (Southern California) and AZ Fear 18 JB
18 USA: Gold – Sports Performance B18 Alpha (Great Lakes); Silver – Ponce Pumas (Puerto Rico); Bronze – AZ Fear 18 SB (Arizona) and WAVE 18 Kevin (Southern California)
18 Club: Gold – VCVC Boys 18 Yosh (Southern California); Silver – LBVC 18s (Southern California); Bronze – OCVC 18-1 (Southern California) and TVP 18 (Chesapeake)
17 Open: Finals on July 9
17 USA: Finals on July 9
17 Club: Finals on July 9
16 Open: Finals on July 7
16 USA: Finals on July 7
16 Club: Finals on July 7
15 Open: Finals on July 8
15 Club: Finals on July 8
14 Open: Finals on July 6
14 Club: Finals on July 6
13 Club: Finals on July 9
12 Club: Gold – Vaqueros 12-1 (Puerto Rico); Silver – Torrimar 12-1 (Puerto Rico); Bronze – 949 B12 Black (Southern California) and Bay-to-Bay 12-1 (Northern California)