Kainoa Wade attacks for Outrigger

ORLANDO, Florida — Day three at the AAU Boys Junior National Volleyball Championships was critical as all the teams finished pool play. The top three teams were seeded in a three-team pool, with the top team being placed into Wednesday’s championship bracket of eight teams. 

The 18s, 16s, 13s, and 12s tournament ends Wednesday, while the 17s, 15s, and 14s are arriving for their competition that begins Thursday. Plese continue to send me story ideas, pictures and clips that I can post on my @kprecruiter account and @vbmagazine. 

Recapping Tuesday in Orlando

— 18s open teams championship bracket; MB Surf, Outrigger, Pinnacle, WAVE, Cinci Attack, Team Rockstar, Arizona Fear, and Balboa Bay.

— 16s open championship bracket; Sports Performance, MB Surf, Balboa Bay, Triangle, Team Rockstar, Winter Park, C2 Attack, and Coast.

— 13s open championship bracket; Torrimar, Cinci Attack, Bay to Bay, SC Legends, 949, Mountain View, Coast, and Serve and Spike.

— 12s open championship bracket; Serve and Spike, High Performance St. Louis, Borinquen, Mountain View, Bay to Bay, MB Surf, Evolution, SCVC.

Bay to Bay club directors Matt and Arielle Houlihan don’t hesitate to take a stand.

A few weeks ago, one of their coaches, Natalie Gallegos, brought her newborn son Gregg Jr. with her to a tournament. Gallegos, along with her husband, Gregg, was coaching their 16 Premier team and officials told her baby Gregg could not be on the sidelines, so much as being held by his mom during play, explaining they were concerned that the baby could get hit by a volleyball and they did not want the tournament to be liable.

Gregg, baby Gregg and Natalie Gallegos

The Houlihans noted on ocial media that a baby could just as easily get hit on the other side of the court sitting with spectators. So they took matters in their own hands:

Greg Gallegos is the youngest competitor in this tournament. 

They registered Greg on the Premier 16s team and now he can be on the sideline here. And no wonder: When she was growing up, Arielle was often on the sidelines from the time she was a baby when she was with her late father Barry Goldberg, the legendary American University coach.

As Aielle recounted, her dad would sometimes get some grief that she was on the sidelines as an infant. He would firmly let any administrators or officials know, “We’ll take responsibility.” So this Baby Gregg incident struck a chord with Airele.

“Growing up as the daughter of a volleyball coach shaped everything that Bay to Bay Volleyball Club has become. The dedication it took my parents to involve us in the volleyball world, took a ton of sacrifice and work on their part. It is important that we make it accessible for people to do the same.” 

By the way, it’s well worth following the Houlihans on Instagram at @matthewjhoulihan and @ariellehoulihan. 

JP Candrian from Winter Park earned our 18s player of the day. The 6-6 outside hitter recorded nine kills, one ace, one block and three kills in the win against Pinnacle. He attends Horizon High School in Winter Garden, Florida, and is headed to Purdue Fort Wayne.

“The open division is a grind. You can take out the number one seed in pool, finish 5-2 and still not advance in the championship bracket. The level of play challenges you mentally, physically and emotionally,” said Candrian.

Grant Lamoureaux, a 2025 outside hitter who is committed to Pepperdine plays for Triad United 18s. Recently, Lamoureaux was the captain of the U19 USA squad that won a gold medal in Puerto Rico. In September he will be representing team USA in the beach world championships in China.He’s a 6-10 outside hitter who attends West Forsyth High School in Clemmons, North Carolina.

Sam Bazargard

— Speaking of 949, outside hitter Sam Bazargard earned our 13s player of the day.

“I love playing here in Orlando,” Bazagard said. “The environment is great and it is very competitive.” 

— Outrigger’s Kainoa Wade is heading to his hometown team, Hawai’i. The 6-foot-8 opposite is forgoing his senior year of high school. Last season, Tread Rosenthal did the same thing and was not only the starting setter for Hawaii, but was an AVCA honorable-mention All-American.

“I have been watching from the stands for about 15 years,” said Wade, whose father, Charlie, will be his Hawai’i coach. “Now I’m ready to get started on my next journey.”

His team is 8-1 and plays its first championship-bracket match against MB Surf. Wade’s team, Kamehamehe, won a high school state title this year.

Cincinnati Attack earned our 18s team of the day by procuring a spot in the championship bracket, finishing Tuesday at 8-1. The Attacks has impressive wins over Coast, Serve and Spike and Pulse. The Attack was led by setter Aidan Berkemeier and libero Jordan Brockman, who is committed to University of Maryland Eastern Shore

— AAU Nationals Championship week creates team-bonding opportunities. Mountain View 18s jumped on a hovercraft and explored the swamps of Orlando. Absolute 18s took some hacks at Top Golf. The Bay to Bay coaching staff visited “the happiest place on Earth” before the tournament, Walt Disney World.

Mountain View 18s

VolleyballMag contributor Kevin Pratte is the boys varsity coach at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, California and Grant elementary physical education teacher. Pratte, who lives in San Diego, played at the University of Pacific. He was a graduate assistant at Nebraska, an assistant at Pacific, and has coached at the junior college level. He also is a college recruiting coordinator, Rotary member, president of the www.kevinprattefoundation.com, host of the KP HERE Podcast and editor of the boys volleyball website middlehitter.com


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