Boys 16s stage two huge comebacks, make Open Division

The Page Youth Center/Santa Barbara Spikers Boys Volleyball Club finished the Junior National Qualifier with the U-16 team earning a bid for the Open Division for the Junior National Championships in Austin, Texas in July 2010. All other age groups are going to the Club Division for the same event.

The Santa Barbara 16s Spikers finished 11th place out of 66 teams from all over the country, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.

“The 16s team is our strongest team in the program, since the players have been together for almost three years now,” said Club Director Ricardo doMonte. “All the other age groups are in a rebuilding year, but with lots of talent. They finished really well, considering the level of the competition”.

The 16s, coached by Ben Koski and Andy McGuire, is a team that was expected to finish well and earn the Open bid as one of the top 32 teams in the country — but it was not an easy road to get there. The match to qualify for the Open Division was a real battle that included a one-in-a-million comeback.

Playing San Gabriel 16s Black in the final match, Santa Barbara was down 24-18 in the first set but came all the way back to win 28-26. As if that wasn’t remarkable enough, they trailed 24-17 in the second set before coming back to win 27-25.

“It was unreal’ said Koski. “In a rally score game, in which every point counts, to come back from such a huge deficit was incredible. The players worked really hard.”

The team is composed of Nick Clark, Holden Ploch, Casey Slaught, Keaton Arutian, Gavin Trudeau, Gavin Conried, Kristian Squires, Kyle Estabrooks, Vince Velasco, Gabriel Burdick and Ryan Worley.

The Santa Barbara 14 – 1 Spikers, coached by Miles Evans, finished 23rd out of 41 teams. The team played its last match against Pali 14 Kaepa and lost 25-20, 25-21.

The team is made up of Barron Mainz, Nicholas Mayner, Austin Hudgens, Kip Lawrence, Harrison Schell, Cooper Liparoto, Connor Albright, Jake Pighetti

The Santa Barbara 14 – 2 Spikers, coached by Justin Hertlein, finished in 33rd place, playing its last match against Beach Cities Boys 14s, losing 25-14, 25-16. Players on the team are Cole Wenal, Brian Su, Andrew Fay, Will Busch, Bryce Peters, Chandler Swift and Piper Davis.

The Santa Barbara 17s Spikers, coached by doMonte, Steven Zelko and Matt Townsend, finished 27th place out of 47 teams, playing their last match against Ocean Bay 17 Quick from Florida and losing 25-22, 25-20.

The team consists of Spencer Shull, Jaiden Pina, Josh Avery, James Fazio, Johnny Brand, Robert Connolly and Keilan Meertens.

The Santa Barbara 18s Spikers, coached by Mike Maas, finished 35th place out of 79 teams, playing their last match against Long Island VBC 18 National from Georgia and lost 25-15, 25-19. The team includes Matt Sims, Preston Mullen, Kyle Hoffman, Mark Outwater, Cole Arutian, Dylan Head, Mike Ellsworth and Sean Reed.

All the age groups above (besides the 16’s) are going to the Junior National Championships in Austin, Texas in the Club Division (the top 32-64 teams in the nation).