Balboa Bay 16 Blue Wins BJNC 16 Open Title

By Bill Kauffman ( | July 07, 2018, 8:55 p.m. (ET)

Balboa Bay 16 Blue wins the BJNC 16 Open Division
Geste Bianchi put up major blocks in helping Balboa Bay 16 Blue win the 16 Open Division championship

PHOENIX (July 7, 2018) – Balboa Bay 16 Blue (Southern California), SAS Boys 16s (Aloha) and Legacy Boys 16 Elite (Southern California) won titles on day six of the USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championships (BJNC) Saturday at the Phoenix Convention Center.

2018 BJNC LogoThe BJNC is an eight-day tournament with age division championships from 12-and-Under to 18-and-Under played in a staggered start and finish schedule. This year's event has drawn a record 577 teams with an estimated 6,000 players competing. The 15-and-Under Open and Club championships are scheduled for Sunday. The tournament concludes on Monday with the 17 Open, USA and Club divisions, and the 13 Club division.

Related: BJNC Home | Live Stream | BJNC Results and Schedule

Sport Court is the official athletic flooring for all USA Volleyball national championship events.

16 Open

Balboa Bay 16 Blue claimed the 16 Open Division title by sweeping previously unbeaten Borinquen Coqui 16-1M (Puerto Rico) 25-20, 25-16 in the gold-medal match. Balboa Bay 16 Blue finished the tournament undefeated in 11 matches and losing just one set along the way.

Balboa Bay 16 Blue reached the title match by defeating Epic 16-Pat (Southern California) 25-22, 25-14 in the quarterfinals and Team Rockstar 16-1 (Southern California) 25-19, 23-25, 15-13 in the a tight semifinal match.

Sebastian Rodriguez was named the most valuable player in the 16 Open Division after leading Balboa Bay 16 Blue to the title.

“It feels amazing,” Rodriguez said. “There is nothing like winning a gold with all your friends. We practiced so hard every day in practice. To be rewarded with something like this is so amazing.”

Justin Browning, who was named to the all-tournament team, added to the family hardware that will fly back to California this week. His brother Brandon also won gold in the 18 Open Division with 949 B18 Black as was named to the 18 Open Division all-tournament team.

“It is great," Justin Browning said. "My brother is dedicated to the same thing, and we are both doing it at the highest level. It is pretty cool."

While Justin and Brandon played for the same high school, they are on separate club teams. That club rivalry hasn’t stopped the two from showing sibling support.

“I cheer him on and he cheers me on,” Justin said.

The younger sibling felt all the hard work paid off once the final point hit the court for gold.

“It was amazing,” Justin said of the championship experience. “It was so relieving after a full year of hard work and finally getting the championship. This beats my past two (Junior Nationals). The amount of work I put in all year feels so great.”

Borinquen Coqui 16-1M, which ended the tournament with a 10-1 mark and the silver medal, topped Ponce Pumas 16U (Puerto Rico) 25-15, 25-11 in the quarterfinals and 949 B16 Black (Southern California) 26-24, 19-25, 15-8 in the semifinals.

Team Rockstar 16-1 and 949 B16 Black earned the bronze medals.

16 USA

SAS Boys 16s will take home the 16 USA Division title after defeating Adversity adidas 16 Purple (Great Lakes) 25-18, 26-24 in the gold-medal match.

SAS Boys 16 whipped through the competition with an 11-0 record, dropping just two sets along the way. They defeated Pulse Athletics 16 Hurley (Southern California) 25-20, 26-24 in the quarterfinals before rallying past Balboa Bay 16 White (Southern California) 18-25, 25-21, 15-11 in the semifinals.

Adversity adidas 16 Purple swept Johnston 16U Boys (Iowa) 25-17, 25-20 in the quarterfinals after losing to them in the second round. Adversity adidas 16 Purple advance tot the championship match by edging Coast 16 Black (Southern California 25-19, 19-25, 15-13 in the semifinals.

Balboa Bay 16 White and Coast 16 Black earned the bronze medals.

16 Club

Legacy Boys 16 Elite won a thrilling three-set match against HVA 161 Performance (Lone Star) 25-18, 31-33, 16-14 in the gold-medal match to claim the 16 Club Division title.

Legacy Boys 16 Elite, which overcame consecutive losses early in the tournament, finished the tournament with a 9-2 record. They defeated SB Coast 16-1 (Southern California) 25-18, 25-23 in the quarterfinals, then swept Milwaukee Sting B16 Black (Badger) 25-21, 25-14 in the semifinals to earn a ticket to the title match.

HVA 161 Performance, which entered the gold-medal match with an undefeated record, ended the tournament with a 10-1 mark. They defeated WAVE 16 Chris/Nick (Southern California) 25-21, 25-21 in the quarterfinals. HVA 161 Performance earned its ticket to the championship by holding off Seaside 16 Black (Southern California) 26-24, 19-25, 18-16 in the semifinals.

Seaside 16 Black and Milwaukee Sting B16 Black earned the 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: Gold – Balboa Bay 16 Blue (Southern California); Silver – Borinquen Coqui 16-1M (Puerto Rico); Bronze – Team Rockstar 16-1 (Southern California) and 949 B16 Black (Southern California)
16 USA: Gold – SAS Boys 16 (Aloha); Silver – Adversity adidas 16 Purple (Great Lakes); Bronze - Balboa Bay 16 White (Southern California) and Coast 16 Black (Southern California) 16 Club: Gold – Legacy Boys 16 Elite (Southern California); Silver – HVA 161 Performance (Lone Star); Bronze – Seaside 16 Black (Southern California) and Milwaukee Sting B16 Black (Badger)
15 Open: Finals on July 8
15 Club: Finals on July 8
14 Open: Gold – OCVC 14-1 (Southern California); Silver – Vaqueros 14-1 (Puerto Rico); Bronze – MB Surf Asics 14s (Southern California) and Balboa Bay 14 Blue (Southern California)
14 Club: 14 Club: Gold – Balboa Bay 14 White (Southern California); Silver – AZ Fear 14 BP (Arizona); Bronze – Balboa Bay 13 Blue (Southern California) and Bay to Bay 14 Club (Northern California)
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)