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Jul 01 Balboa Bay: Big Dog at the BJNC

By Darci Miller | July 01, 2013, 10:11 p.m. (ET)
 Balboa Bay 17 White takes on Pipeline 17 Quiksilver.

Darci Miller, USA Volleyball Communications Intern, Phone: 719-228-6800, Email: darci.miller@usav.org
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RENO, Nev. (July 1, 2013) – If there’s a top dog club at the 2013 USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championships taking place in Reno, Nev., through July 4, it doesn’t take long to figure out which one it is.

Players long for the opportunity to beat these teams, obtain their jerseys in carefully executed trades and are often intimidated by the name alone.

Balboa Bay Volleyball Club out of Costa Mesa, Calif., is definitely one of the ‘big man’ programs in town.

“You talk to a lot of teams and other clubs and they say, ‘we always like to beat Balboa,’” Balboa Bay 17 White Head Coach Chris Coleman said. “I think at times there’s probably a target on our back.”

If the players on Balboa Bay 17 White feel the weight of these expectations, a bystander wouldn’t be able to tell. In its first match of the tournament against Pipeline 17 Quiksilver, Balboa Bay 17 White walked away with a 25-20, 25-18 win. To most, that would be a solid victory. But these athletes and coaches aren’t satisfied.

“I think we played alright,” setter Ryan Ptak said. “I think we can come out with more energy and play a little bit harder.”

“This was our first game and we had some jitters,” outside hitter Alex Wulff agreed. “But you know, we got over it and I think we’ll do pretty good. We practice a ton and hopefully that pays off.”

The team is seeded No. 2 in the 17 Club division, which Coleman says is “a decently high seed.” But anything short of the top isn’t good enough for the team whose jerseys are considered extra valuable at the BJNC jersey trade.

“Coach is always talking about how we have to make sure to hold onto our stuff because people like to steal it,” Wulff said. “He told us that one kid lost a backpack full of his gear and everything.”

Despite the fact that all eyes are on them – or maybe because of it – Balboa Bay 17 White is a close-knit group.

“This group is actually really fun, because they gel pretty well,” Coleman said. “They definitely get along on and off the court. It’s a fun group of guys to coach.”

“We have a really close group,” Ptak said. “We like to just hang out, go to a movie, hang out at the beach.”

But not only do they enjoy the same things as normal teenagers, this team also relishes the target it’s club’s name creates.

“Everybody kind of wants to beat us, and I think it’s really fun,” Wulff said. “It’s a great challenge.”

Ptak said the fact that everyone is working hard to outplay his team acts as a strong motivator.

“It just forces us to work as hard as we can to play our best,” he said.

Their best, Coleman believes, should be enough to take them into the gold bracket when pool play ends and playoffs begin on Thursday. 

“I told them at this point I want to be competing for a chance to get a medal,” Coleman said. “I think that’s everybody’s goal here, but you think about it day by day in terms of survive and advance and playing in the big bracket on Thursday. Everything else is gravy.”

For match schedules and results, visit https://advancedeventsystems.com/EventResults/CourtSchedule.aspx?e=PTAwMDAwMDM1ODg90

2013 USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championships
12 Club: Gold – Warriors VC 12 (Puerto Rico); Silver – Vaqueros 12-1 (Puerto Rico); Bronze – Bayou Boys 12 U (Bayou), HVA 121 Young Guns (Lone Star)
13 Club: July 2-4
14 Open: June 28-July 1
14 Club: Gold – Southside B14 (Moku O Keawe); Silver – Pittsburgh 14 Black (Keystone); Bronze – Team Rockstar 14-1 (Southern California), Ku’ikahi 14R RoShamBo (Aloha)
15 Open: June 29-July 2
15 Club: June 29-July 2
16 Open: June 30-July 3
16 Club: June 30-July 3
17 Open: July 1-July 4
17 Club: July 1-4
18 Open: Gold – 949 18 Black (Southern California); Silver – Balboa Bay 18 Hurley (Southern California); Bronze – Coast 18 Quiksilver (Southern California), MB Surf Nike 18s (Southern California)
18 Club: Gold – Guaynabo City Mets 18U (Puerto Rico); Silver – TVA 18U (Puerto Rico); Bronze – AZ Fear 18 White (Arizona), APV 18 Black (Arizona)

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