What do you get when you mix top coaching, dedicated and talented players and supportive parents?
How about the first USA Junior National Volleyball Championship for a Northern California club team.
The Pacific Rim 17-and-under boys team of Pleasant Hill, headed by coach Roger Worsley, earned the historic first with a 25-20, 25-20 sweep of Balboa Bay 17Asics-Newport Beach in the championship match in Houston on July 5.
Worsley has more than 15 years experience as a college coach, including as a Stanford assistant in its run to the 2010 NCAA title. He also coaches the Albany High girls team in the fall and the College Prep-Oakland boys squad in the spring.
The Pacific Rim squad boasts Worsley's two sons: Joe, the setter who was MVP of the national tournament, and his younger brother, Gage, both Campolindo players who grew up in the sport. The brothers are accomplished beach players as well. Joe has been training with the national team as a libero, his dad said. Other Campolindo students on the team include Stephen Buhl, who will be the club's first four-year graduate, and Jack Eisner.
Deer Valley star Jordan Ewert, an outside hitter, was an all-tournament selection at nationals. Sean Valsima of Clayton Valley Charter, a middle blocker and right side hitter, also was an impact player in his return from a knee injury. Mitchell Brooks of Miramonte was a front row stalwart.
Connor Keowen, a California High standout, is a backup setter and defensive specialist on the elite squad.
"Really, it was a complete team effort. It wasn't 'this guy' or 'that guy,'" coach Worsley said. "Everybody made contributions along the way. That's why we're so fortunate to have the group we have."
In just its fourth season, Pacific Rim was 23-0 over the summer after a dominating run in the fall. The team earned the bronze medal at nationals in 2011. Pacific Rim entered the Junior Champioships as the No. 1 seed after winning the SCVA Classic the previous week.
On Day 3 in Houston, Pacific Rim rebounded after dropping a set to beat SoCal Team 949. On Day 4, Pacific Rim earned thrilling victories over Coastal Virginia, Rochester Pace Bootlegger and SoCal power Balboa Bay.
Track and field
Deer Valley's Bernard Stephens was honored as the Northern California Girls Track and Field Coach of the Year for 2014 at the recent California Coaches Association banquet in Sacramento. This year, Stephens' Wolverines won the Bay Valley Athletic League championship, the North Coast Section Tri-Valley Area title and took second at the NCS Meet of Champions. Several Deer Valley athletes also competed at the CIF championships in June.