Red rolls to victory at JOs

John Kozak/Special to the Town Crier
Players on the Mountain View Volleyball Club’s 18 Red team, above, pose with their gold medals, plaques and trophy at the USA Volleyball Boys Junior National Championships. Seated, from left: Christian Menchaha and Chris Varsveld. Standing: Cole Gillis, Raymon Chen, Thomas Lawler, Jeffrey Kwan, Kevin Mathew, Ryan Sun, Gautham Dasari, Rajas Habbu and Jarrett Anderson. Not pictured: Ben Airola and coaches Jonah Carson, Tyler Hinz, Tyler Rigg, Todd Hollenbeck and Paul Leon.

When the season began last fall, coach Jonah Carson impressed upon his players that every one of them would be critical to the success of the Mountain View Volleyball Club’s 18 Red boys team.

That proved to be the case, as the squad won the 18 Open Division of the USA Volleyball Boys Junior National Championships last month by getting contributions from every player.

“The thing I’d say about this team is how well each player, over the course of our year, did their part to help the team succeed. Even back in tournaments in October, we talked about each player having a role and that every contribution would be important,” said Carson, who is also the boys volleyball coach at St. Francis High. “At nationals, that was true; some guys who were not named all-tournament really stepped up and contributed in big ways. And guys that had big roles, when asked to take a step back, did so without ego and supported their teammates.”

That sacrifice and teamwork resulted in a reward for each member of the team: a shiny gold medal for winning the toughest division of the national tournament, held June 30 through July 7 in Dallas. Although Mountain View swept six of its 10 opponents in the tourney, the team was challenged on its way to the title. The squad got off to a rough start, dropping its opening match to Hawaii. Mountain View then went 8-1 to reach the final against formidable Balboa Bay of Newport Beach. Mountain View won the best-of-three match by scores of 25-22, 19-25, 15-9.

After winning a close first set, Mountain View fell behind in the second set and could not recover. But during that time, Carson essentially emptied his bench – and it paid off.

“The guys who entered the second set played really well,” Carson said. “It was a really important moment for us (in) that match to show our opponent that we had more in the tank, that we had options, that we weren’t going away.”

He added that the move also made his team “realize and believe what we had been saying all year: that every player had a part in contributing to what we were about to accomplish. We lost the second set but demonstrated that we were a great team. I believe that momentum propelled us to win the third set.”

Five Mountain View players made the all-tournament team, headlined by Open Division MVP Jarrett Anderson. The 6-foot-5 opposite/outside hitter from Harker School is headed to Springfield College. Anderson was joined on the all-tourney squad by teammates Cole Gills (Branham High), Kevin Mathew (Monta Vista), Gautham Dasari (Monta Vista) and Chris Varseveld (Bellarmine).

Mountain View’s 12-man roster also included St. Francis High graduate Thomas Lawler, bound for New York University. Lawler, who plays multiple positions, was the Lancers’ co-captain last spring.

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