DALLAS, Texas (July 4, 2019) – Consistency has been key for Bay to Bay 14-1, which won the 14 Open title at the USAV Boys Junior National Championships on Thursday at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
A core group of players on the team have been together since they were younger than 11.
They won bronze and two silver medals when they played in the 12 and 13 Club Divisions.
On Thursday, Bay to Bay (Northern California) won the gold medal, 19-25, 25-22, 15-8 over Balboa Bay 14-1 (Southern California).
Team Rockstar 14-1 and 949 B14 Black, both out of the SCVA, tied for third.
“When Matt and Arielle Houlihan took over the club, they really focused on youth development,” said Bay to Bay 14-1 Head Coach Matthew Franksenstein. “We try to get them in the gym as early as possible and it’s really paid off.”
Frankenstein described his team as “introverted. Their game is just a little different from normal 14-year-olds that are extroverted and loud. They play a very calm and consistent game and that’s what has made us successful and also throws other teams off a lot.”
Bay to Bay did not lose a match in the tournament, although they did play three, three-set matches before the final. The team also played three talented Puerto Rican teams in a row.
“We had some rough games,” said Bay to Bay’s Jack Ebertin. “We lost some first sets, but we always came back and fought through it. We lost set one. But we brought a lot of energy into the second and third sets, so that helped.
“I learned that even when we’re down, we can still lift each other up. When one player has a bad game, the rest of the team can pick them up.”
Frankenstein had praise for Balboa Bay, which had beaten Bay to Bay in a previous tournament.
“Those coaches are awesome. They always produce really great teams,” said Frankenstein, who has been coaching 14s for six years but won his first medal in Dallas.
Balboa Bay had some redemption in the 14 Club division as Balboa Bay 13Blue beat Triumph 14-Gold (NC) in the final, 27-25, 25-19.
303VBA 14 Mizuno (Rocky Mountain) and MKE Sting 14 Lightning (Badger) tied for third.
Balboa Bay’s winning team came a long way in a short time, said Head Coach Eric Vallely.
“At the beginning of the year, not one of them had ever played competitive volleyball,” he said. “The didn’t know what a rotation was. We started from the very beginning.
“They bought into the process, the program the whole deal. The worked their butts off.”
Balboa Bay 13Blue lost one match along the way to 303VBA. Vallely attributed part of the team’s success to playing older teams.
“We try to create a pretty high-level environment in practice every day. We scrimmage against older teams in our club,” he said. Putting a younger team in an older division “is just something our club has done. Obviously, seeing what we have done, we feel like we belong there.”
The BJNC uses a staggered start and finish for divisions over the course of the eight-day tournament played on 57 courts. Open and USA Division teams must qualify through USA Volleyball bid tournaments held across the country, or through at-large selections based on results at bid tournaments.
2019 USA Volleyball Boys Junior National Championships Schedule
- 18 Open, USA and Club Divisions: June 30-July 3
- 17 Open, USA and Club Divisions: July 4-7
- 16 Open, USA And Club Divisions: July 2-5
- 15 Open and Club Divisions: July 3-6
- 14 Open and Club Divisions: July 1-4
- 13 Club Division: July 5-7
- 12 Club Division: June 30-July 2
Sport Court is the official athletic flooring for all USA Volleyball national championship events.