DALLAS, Texas (July 6, 2019) – The players on Balboa Bay 16 Blue out of the Southern California Region had never won a tournament before this summer.
But the team capped off a successful season on Friday at the USAV Boys Junior National Championships by defeating Arizona Fear 16 TS (Arizona Region), 25-18, 25-15 in the 16 Open final at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
Balboa Bay went undefeated in the tournament. Arizona Fear’s only loss came to Balboa.
“We had to learn how to win,” Balboa Bay Head Coach Brian Diniz said. “This team took fifth last year and didn’t do great at 14s or 13s. But we added a couple guys and won our first tournament this season and ended up winning three or four.”
Player Dane Hillis, who has been commuting 45 minutes each way from San Clemente to train with Balboa Bay, praised his team’s work ethic.
“We put a lot of work in; early morning practices at 6 a.m.,” Hillis said. “We put in more effort than most teams; conditioning days; everything.”
MVVC 16 Red (Northern California) and SJVC 16 Orlan (Puerto Rico) tied for third. Balboa Bay’s Gabriel Dyer was named Most Valuable Player.
In the final, MAVS Boys 16-1 (Heart of America) beat 949 B16 Black (Southern California), 25-17, 25-22.
MAVS won the first boys national championship for any Kansas City club and Head Coach Jeff Janowski says boys volleyball is strong in the region.
“Our high school league is just getting started,” he said. “Only three of these boys had ever played volleyball two years ago. This team has come so far in a short amount of time. We’re laying the foundation to grow boys volleyball in Kansas City.”
MAVS had to come back from a first-match loss to MVC 16-Mike (Badger) but came back to beat it in the second round.
“It was amazing journey. I’m proud of every single one of them,” Janowski said.
Pacific Rim 16-1 (Northern California) and Seaside 16 Black (Southern California) tied for third place. Logan Shepherd of MAVS was named MVP
Vanguard 16 Gold (Ohio Valley) was disappointed that it didn’t earn a bid to BJNCs, but made the best of it by going undefeated and beating Ohana AC 16 Black (Southern California) in the final, 25-23, 25-20.
“We were really hoping through the winter that we would be fortunate enough to earn a bid,” Vanguard Head Coach Evan Bell said. “We were right there. However, playing in the Club Division we knew there were some solid teams coming in. We didn’t really know what to expect.
Ball control was key to the team’s success.
“When we put the team together in October, we thought we were undersized,” Bell said. “But we could pass the ball.”
Miami United 16 Elite (Florida) and Bay to Bay 16-2 (Northern California) finished third. Tyler Nutting of Vanguard was named MVP.