What Young Players Can Learn from NCAAs

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | May 06, 2018, 4:30 p.m. (ET)
Long Beach State poses with championship trophy
The Long Beach State men's team poses with the trophies 

 

USA Volleyball encourages its members to take every opportunity to watch and support those who compete at a higher level, whether it be the U.S. National Teams, college teams or other teams in your club.

This past week, there were NCAA championships held in both men's indoor and women's beach volleyball. We hope young players got to attend both these events.

While we focus on the men's indoor event in this list, these lessons also apply to women's beach and indoor volleyball.

1. How to be resilient

Long Beach State has been to the tournament semifinals the past two years and was favored to win it all in 2017; but it lost in the semifinals both times. The team learned from its mistakes to reach the 2018 final. “We’ve learned a lot from the negatives that have happened the last couple of years (in the NCAA Tournament),” Long Beach junior and U.S. Men’s National Team member T.J. DeFalco said. “The past couple of years, we were in for a fight, and the other teams fought back just as much, and we weren’t able to keep it going and sustain that energy and sustain the preparation that we had.”

2, You are never too young, or new, to make a difference

UCLA freshman Grant Mileski was brought in as a serving substitute and nailed an ace on match point for UCLA in its semifinal victory over BYU. “He's been serving great in practice so I figured what the heck and it worked pretty well,” UCLA Head Coach John Speraw said. “He's a great teammate and he's been working hard all year.”

3. The importance of conditioning

All those lines that coach makes you run? Yeah, there’s a reason and it’s called the fifth set (or the third set, depending on how many you are playing). When you are feeling tired in practice, just imagine that you are playing in the fifth set of an important match and run a little bit harder.

4. That leads into the importance of serving

Long Beach State finished with nine aces and 19 service errors. UCLA had seven aces and 26 service errors. Those numbers don’t reflect great serves that drew the opponent out of system or easy serves that the opponent terminated. But 26 service errors is more than a set worth of points.

5. In the end, volleyball is a game that is fun

Attendance at Saturday night’s championship in Pauley Pavilion was estimated at 7,248 and it seemed to be almost evenly split between UCLA and Long Beach State fans (the two schools are approximately 35 miles from each other). It was loud, the bands were playing and the players were competing hard, for themselves, their teammates and their schools.

In fact, the entire tournament, from play-in matches to the fifth set of the final, had great volleyball and gave young players something to aspire to.

NCAA NOTES

Men's Indoor All Tournament Team

T.J. Defalco – Long Beach State
Kyle Ensing – Long Beach State
Daenan Gyimah – UCLA
Jake Hanes – Ohio State
Micah Ma'a – UCLA
Nicolas Szerszen – Ohio State
Josh Tuaniga – Long Beach State
Most Outstanding Player – Josh Tuaniga

Men's Full Results

April 26: First Round at Ohio State
Ohio State def King College, 25-13, 25-23, 25-18

May 1: Quarterfinals at UCLA
Ohio State def UC Irvine, 25-19, 22-25, 25-23, 22-25, 16-14
UCLA def Harvard, 23-25, 25-21, 25-11, 25-21

May 3: Semifinals at UCLA
UCLA def BYU, 25-22, 24-26, 29-27, 25-19
Long Beach State def Ohio State, 25-22, 25-23, 25-27, 32-30

May 5: Final at UCLA
Long Beach State def UCLA, 25-19, 23-25, 20-25, 26-24, 15-12

Women’s Beach All-Tournament Team

1s Pair-UCLA
Nicole McNamara and Megan McNamara

2s Pair-Florida State
Katie Horton and Hailey Luke

3s Pair-Hawaii
Carly Kan and Laurel Weaver

4s Pair-Pepperdine
Skylar Caputo and Alexis Filippone

5s Pair-Florida State
Madison Fitzpatrick and Francesca Goncalves

Full Results

First Round
UCLA def FIU, 3-0
Florida State def USC, 3-1
Hawaii def South Carolina, 3-0
Pepperdine def LSU, 3-0

First Round of Elimination
USC def FIU, 3-2
LSU def South Carolina, 3-1

Second Round
Florida State def UCLA, 3-1
Hawaii def Pepperdine, 3-2

Second Round of Elimination
USC def Pepperdine, 3-2
UCLA def LSU 3-0

Third Round
Florida State def Hawaii, 3-2

Third Round of Elimination
UCLA def Hawaii, 3-2

Final
UCLA def Florida State, 3-1