HVA Young Guns Do Double Duty at BJNC

By Darci Miller | July 03, 2013, 9:36 p.m. (ET)

Darci Miller, USA Volleyball Communications Intern, Phone: 719-228-6800, Email: darci.miller@usav.org
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RENO, Nev. (July 3, 2013) – If playing in one division at the 2013 USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championships is difficult, imagine playing in two.

That’s exactly what the Houston Volleyball Academy (HVA) 131 Young Guns are doing as they compete in the 13 Club division. A week ago, they were the HVA 121 Young Guns and competing in the 12 Club division, in which they won the bronze medal.

HVA 131 Young Guns Head Coach Sean Carter explains that a core of the team competed in both divisions. Two nine-year-olds joined the team competing in 12 Club and were replaced by two 13-year-olds for 13 Club.

“We’ve got some kiddos that are young, and we’ve got kiddos that are at the right age,” Carter said. “Surely we’re playing up. In most cases, two to three years up.”

While this can be a challenge for the team (they’re currently 1-5), Carter believes that the experience will be nothing but positive for his players.

“It casts vision for our kids, and it teaches our kids what the next level looks like.” he said.

 Jason Gibbs, left, is one of two 13-year-olds on HVA Young Guns.

This next level is two-fold, as the team looks to mature both physically and mentally. This is the first year some of the players are able to reach above the net, so blocking and hitting from the air are brand new concepts that are just now being taught. These aspects of the game are rare in the 12 Club division, but much more common in 13 Club.

Thirteen-year-old hitter Jason Gibbs was recruited to join HVA 131 Young Guns a mere two weeks ago. He’s never played club volleyball before. But he has played recreationally and has the advantage of height, which makes him one of two players on the team that are capable of blocking.

“Learning all the new things that I had to do to improve was probably the hardest thing,” Gibbs said. “When I came in, I was doing everything wrong. [The team] congratulates me whenever I make a good play. The coach has been nice. He’s helped me a lot. It’s been good.”

Gibbs says he’s a little bit nervous playing against such talented teams, but has been in other competitions before and is able to control his nerves. Carter says that this mental aspect of his team’s game is key.

“Some of the kiddos who are older are mentally tough enough to handle the pressure of matches, while those that are younger are struggling with pressure-filled moments,” Carter said. “We’ve not encountered that before. So we like the fact that we get to push the kids out to where the edge is and see who deals with it well, because then we know how to go back and train them to be mentally tougher to handle this. So just them seeing this for the first time will help that a little bit. Next time they won’t be surprised, and they’ll be more prepared mentally and emotionally to handle it.”

Competition in the 12 Club division kicked off on the first day of the tournament (June 27), while the 13 Club division ends on the final day (July 4). The players competing in both divisions have spent a long week playing volleyball with just a two-day break in between sessions. But they’re enjoying playing pick-up games and making friends with players from other teams and refuse to shy away from their older competitors.

“We’re trying to get ninth place because we lost the last match and can’t get a medal, which stinks,” 11-year-old setter Jackson Carter said. “We’re going to work and win ninth place. That’s what we’re going to do. Work and work.”

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: Gold – Borinquen Coqui 14-1M (Puerto Rico); Silver – Seaside 14 Black (Southern California); Bronze – Spectrum 14’s (Southern California Region), MVVC 14 Red (Northern California)
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: Gold – SCVC 15 Quiksilver (Southern California); Silver – Balboa Bay 15 Hurley (Southern California); Bronze – WA Lightning B15 (Badger), Pali 15 Nike (Southern California)
15 Club: Gold – Ka Ulukoa 15 Mizuno (Aloha); Silver – SMBC 15 Black (Southern California); Bronze – Ocean Bay 15 Quik (Florida) and NCVC Black 15-1 (Northern California)
16 Open: Gold – The HBC 16-KC (Southern California); Silver – Balboa Bay 16 Hurley (Southern California); Bronze – Coastal B16 Navy (Old Dominion), SMBC 16 Black (Southern California)
16 Club: Gold – HLVBC 16 Nike (Southern California); Silver – NCVC Blue 16-2 (Northern California); Bronze – NCVC Black 16-1 (Northern California), WAVE 16 Asics (Southern California)
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)