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By Steve Breazeale
In their final match together as members of the 949 Volleyball program, the 18U team finally reached the goal that had eluded them for four years.
On July 4 the team captured the 2013 Junior Boy’s Volleyball National Championships, going a perfect 12-0 to claim the tournament gold medal.
The team, which is made up of several high school standout players from Southern California, has had their share of chances at winning the elite tournament in the past. As a 15U squad, they advanced to the finals, only to come up short. In 2012 they placed third.
This time around they ran the slate with 12 consecutive wins, including a three-set win over Manhattan Beach Surf in the semifinals and a two-set sweep of regional rival Balboa Bay in the finals.
Former San Clemente High standout Lucas Yoder was named the tournament MVP. San Clemente’s Jack Yoder, JSerra’s Carl Nolet and Aliso Niguel’s Nick Amado earned All-Tournament honors.
Dana Hills standout opposite Christian Hessenauer suffered an injury before the tournament began and was unavailable, which made the 949 team’s run to the title that much more impressive, according to 949 Athletics founder Justin DeBlasio.
“They’ve been together for four years and never won…to go ahead short-handed really solidified the work ethic and drive of these guys. That was a very, very impressive run,” DeBlasio said.
The tournament marked the end of the club season for 949 Volleyball.