School: Saint Francis (Mountain View, Calif.)
Quick Stat: Aylsworth helped direct Saint Francis to the CIF Northern California Division I regional championship.
School: Huntington Beach (Calif.)
Quick Stat: The 2015 Volleyball Boys High School Player of the Year led the Oilers to a repeat CIF Southern California Division I regional title.
School: Huntington Beach (Calif.)
Quick Stat: Diamond posted 294 digs and passed at a 2.46 clip on a 3.0 scale for CIF Southern
Section Division I champion Huntington Beach.
School: Loyola (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Quick Stat: MVP of the Santa Barbara tournament, Douglas quarterbacked the defense of CIF Division I Southern California regional finalist Loyola.
School: Deer Valley (Antioch, Calif.)
Quick Stat: Ewert blasted home 639 kills his senior year and finished his career at Deer Valley with 2,067 kills.
School: Buchanan (Clovis, Calif.)
Quick Stat: Gasman finished his senior season with 309 kills and 128 total blocks while leading Buchanan to its second CIF Central Section Division I title in a row.
School: Punahou (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Quick Stat: Maa led Punahou to another Division I state title and was named Interscholastic League of Honolulu Player of the Year.
School: Victor (N.Y.)
Quick Stat: Mahan contributed to Victor’s back-to-back state titles and was named state tournament MVP.
School: Corona del Mar (Newport Beach, Calif.)
Quick Stat: Moss helped CDM win a CIF regional title and reach the CIF Southern Section
Division I final.
School: Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.)
Quick Stat: Big contributions from Swartz in the middle elevated Glenbard West to a 40-2 record and the Illinois state championship.
School: Huntington Beach (Calif.)
Quick Stat: Tuaniga posted 1,158 assists, 174 digs, and 102 kills for Volleyball Boys’ High School Team of the Year Huntington Beach.
School: Brookfield East (Wis.)
Quick Stat: Wessel was named the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association Player of the Year.
Name | Height | Position | Year | School
Matt August | 6’4″ | MB/Opp. | Sr. | San Clemente (Calif.)
Alex Dickmann | 6’4″ | Opp. | Sr. | Addison Trail (Addison, Ill.)
Kevin Fults | 6’3″ | Opp. | Sr. | Corona del Mar (Newport Beach, Calif.)
Kyle Jasuta | 6’3″ | MB | Sr. | Loyola (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Dane Leclair | 6’4″ | S/OH | Sr. | McQuaid Jesuit (Rochester, N.Y.)
Andrew Lincoln | 6’7″ | S/Opp. | Sr. | Brophy Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Blake Markland | 6’4″ | OH/Opp. | Sr. | Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach, Calif.)
Dylan Missry | 6’4″ | OH | Sr. | Sachem North (Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.)
Branden Oberender | 6’7″ | MB | Sr. | Royal (Simi Valley, Calif.)
Ryan Smith | 6’7″ | OH/Opp. | Sr. | Buchanan (Clovis, Calif.)
Ben Vaught | 6’4″ | Opp. | Sr. | Huntington Beach (Calif.)
Kelsey Yogi | 5’7″ | L | Jr. | Punahou (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Name | Height | Position | Year | School
George Diehl | 6’2″ | OH | Jr. | Lindbergh (St. Louis, Mo.)
Noah Dyer | 6’5″ | OH | Jr. | Saddleback Valley Christian (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.)
Dante Chakravorti | 6’3″ | S | Sr. | New Trier (Winnetka, Ill.)
Steve Dinneen | 6’5″ | Opp. | Sr. | Saint Francis (Mountain View, Calif.)
Baron Hahn | 6’8″ | MB | Sr. | Winter Park (Fla.)
Frank Melvin | 6’4″ | OH | Sr. | Schuylkill (Mohrsville, Pa.)
Emmett Enriques | 6’1″ | L/OH | Sr. | Kamehameha (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Donald Foley | 5’11” | S | Sr. | Marquette (Milwaukee, Wis.)
Jake Russell | 5’11” | S | Sr. | Hilliard Davidson (Hilliard, Ohio)
Craig Nelms | 6’5″ | OH | Sr. | Deep Run (Glen Allen, Va.)
Michael Moreiras | 5’11” | OH | Jr. | Archbishop McCarthy (Southwest Ranches, Fla.)
Kevin Rocklein | 6’2″ | OH | Sr. | Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.)
Volleyball magazine Boys High School All-Americans Awards
Going Out in Style
Long Beach State-bound T.J. DeFalco is the 2015 Volleyball Boys High School Player of the Year
On the most dominant high school boys volleyball team in the country is the most dominant player in the country.
Long Beach State-bound T.J. DeFalco capped his amazing prep career by helping Huntington Beach win its third-consecutive California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division I and Southern California Division I regional titles. His play helped the Oilers stretch their state-record winning streak to an amazing 104 matches in a row.
DeFalco, a 6-foot-5 outside hitter, tallied 502 kills and hit .395 in his senior season, and he showed his all-around worth with 229 digs, 42 total blocks, and 38 aces. He leaves Huntington Beach with 1,247 career kills.
T.J. is the most talented volleyball player I have ever seen, said Huntington Beach senior libero Blake Diamond. Not only does he have the talent, but he has the inner fire that drives him when things arent going right. He pushes himself. He puts his team on his back and in turn that helps the team and it helps the other players on the team. The fire he brings to the court makes everybody better.
DeFalco said his Oiler teammates deserve a lot of credit for helping him become a better player.
I get a lot of practice playing against the best high school team in the country, said DeFalco. I get a lot of reps against the best blocks and am able to experiment with different shots against those blocks. It makes it easier to attack and produce the numbers that are talked about. I wouldnt be where I am today or have had the results Ive had without the guys Ive played with. Ive learned from many teammates about how to act and communicate and make others better.
Huntington Beach senior outside hitter Sean Morrissey added that DeFalco’s mere presence on the court provided a calming influence.
You can always depend on T.J., said Morrissey. If we were down in a match, wed go to T.J. If we were down 24-20 we knew he would hit and not get blocked. It’s a big relief on the court when you can depend on someone like him. Every team needs someone like T.J. He helped make us very strong.
Beyond the mechanics and technical aspect of the game, DeFalco said he took great pride in the advancements he made as a leader this spring.
I was more of a leader on the court in all ways, said DeFalco, who has been training with the U.S. Men’s National Team and was on the preliminary roster for the FIVB World League and the U.S. Pan-American Games roster (all this in addition to competing with his HBC club team that finished second in 18 Open at Boys’ Junior Nationals). That was a big help for my teammates. I changed my ways and made sure I was encouraging them and complimenting them for the good job they did throughout the season. That makes a big difference for any player.
DeFalco, who blasted home 41 kills in the Oilers five-set victory over Corona del Mar to win the Southern Section title, defined this season as a journey.
We had an awesome season. I wouldnt trade it for anything. It was an amazing and fun experience. Huntington Beach has changed my life. If I didnt go here and compete at the high school level and get the respect at the club level, I dont think I would be at the level I am at today. High school changed my life for the better just from the influence this program has.
Huntington Beach coach Craig Pazanti saw DeFalco take things up a notch even higher this spring.
He had 500-plus kills, he said. The kid was like a machine. He’s a special athlete. Im glad I was able to be part of it. I dont think Ive seen [any other high school player] accomplish what he has from an accolades standpoint. A guy like T.J. only comes around once in awhile.
Staying the Course
Corona del Mar’s Steve Conti is the 2015 Volleyball Boys High School Coach of the Year
Longtime Corona del Mar High School (Newport Beach, California) boys volleyball coach Steve Conti found himself in a unique position this spring.
CDM was without five players (Ryan Moss, Kevin Fults, Matt Ctvrtlik, Sam Kobrine, Mitch Haley), including four starters, for the first month of the season. That quintet was part of a Sea Kings basketball squad that played deep into the postseason.
The first three or four weeks you like to lay the foundation in terms of technique and skill, said Conti. This year was unique. We had to do things a little bit differently. We didnt get to lay that foundation early on.
Instead, that foundation formed as the season wore on. CDM lost two of its five matches at the early-season Best of the West tournament in San Diego, regarded as one of the toughest regular-season tournaments in the country.
But Conti said the team really hit its stride after a couple losses in mid-April. The Sea Kings lost in three to Loyola of Los Angeles at the Santa Barbara tournament and four days later lost a second time to Loyola in four.
That’s when the team had a bit of an epiphany, said Conti. The approach was different and things started to click. We started to play with much more purpose. We started to connect.
And off the Sea Kings went. CDM finally got a win over Loyola (the first time CDM has won at Loyola in Conti’s tenure) to reach the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division I final where it took powerhouse Huntington Beach to five sets. The Sea Kings capped the season by winning the CIF Southern California Division II regional title (there is no formal state championship in CIF boys volleyball).
We played the match we were capable of playing against a good and well-coached Loyola team, said Conti of the semifinal victory. We made the plays at the end of the game that win matches. And then we took a very good Huntington Beach team to five in the finals and came close to knocking off a team that hasnt lost in two and a half years.
Conti just completed his 20th season at CDM where he sports a 423-124 career mark and a 181-17 league record. Sea King teams have won regional titles three times under his guidance and Southern Section crowns five times (six runner-up finishes).
First and foremost we have committed athletes here, said Conti. They commit to play for their high school. We have a community here that wants its kids to do well in academics and athletics. I have an amazing coaching staff [including varsity assistant Scott Stafford who played for Conti at CDM]. We have an administration that wants the school to be good in everythingwhether it’s academics, athletics, or the arts. There is support across the board.
CDM senior outside hitter Ryan Moss said he has learned to appreciate Conti’s coaching style over the years.
The best thing about Conti is even during the times where you hate him, he’s doing what is best for the team, the USC-bound Moss said. You end up understanding the tough love. It’s a big part of why he is such a good coach. He really cares about the players. He’s invested in the players just as much off the court. He does what is best for us and we appreciate that.
Moss was equally impressed with Conti’s strategy given the team’s short-handed roster at the beginning of the season. He adjusted his timeline, said Moss. He deserves a lot of credit.
Conti said credit for the program’s success must be doled out in equal measures.
Im part of the team just like anybody else, he said. I dont think any one player or any one coach is bigger than the program itself. This year, the strength of our team was the team.
Huntington Beach High School repeats as the Volleyball Boys High School Team of the Year
There was a clear choice to make in naming the 2015 Volleyball Boys High School Team of the Year.
The Huntington Beach High School boys volleyball team once again ran the table, going a perfect 40-0 en route to winning its third CIF Southern Section Division I and CIF Southern California Division I regional titles in a row.
The 40-0 record pushed the Oilers amazing winning streak to 104 matches in a row, just eight shy of tying the all-time national mark of 112, held by Salem High School in New Hampshire. Huntington Beach last lost a match back on March 28, 2013.
Winning the Volleyball Team of the Year award is becoming commonplace for Huntington Beach. It’s the third year in a row the Oilers have won the honor.
We built on the experience of last season, said Oilers coach Craig Pazanti. We had a lot of returning players and I dont think there was a situation they hadnt been in. We also had great depth. All 13 guys on varsity could have started on most of the teams we played. The competition we had in practice was sometimes tougher than we got in matches. The competition we got in the practice gym allowed our guys to be the best they could be.
If there was one unknown area for Pazanti going into the season, it was in the middleboth of last year’s starting middles had graduated. But Pazanti’s fears were quickly assuaged by the play of 6’8″ Alex Wolf (who is also one of the top water polo goalies in the country and was named the Orange County Register Boys Water Polo Player of the Year), 6’7″ Shane Holdaway, and 6’3″ David Kim.
We had some great guys step up in the middle, said Pazanti. They had awesome seasons.
Add the middle play to the likes of T.J. DeFalco, Sean Morrissey, Josh Tuaniga, Blake Diamond, Davis Gillett, Ben Vaught, and Eric Beatty and it’s not surprising the Oilers had another season to remember. Huntington Beach placed nine players on the all-Sunset League team and five on the Orange County Register all-county teams. DeFalco and Tuaniga shared all-league MVP honors, while DeFalco, the 2015 Volleyball Boys High School Player of the Year, was also named the Orange County Register Player of the Year.
This is a tribute to the guys I have on the team, said Pazanti. I can orchestrate all this, but we have the luxury here of having great volleyball guys who want to continue what were doing here. Weve been building this since the time these guys were freshmen. The expectation is to be successful. We want to win as much as anybody else, but the key thing here has been watching the maturation of this group over the years. It’s been night and day seeing how they go about things. I couldnt be more proud of what these guys have done.
Morrissey said experience definitely helped this year’s group. Last year we had a lot of really good juniors on the team, he said. We had another year to mature and that helped make this team amazing.
Diamond noted the team’s dominance was made possible by an all-hands-on-deck philosophy.
We have some of the best players like T.J. and Josh, but it’s not just about individual players with us, he said. We were a real team. We were a group of guys that worked together. We didnt buckle and fall down when the going got tough and when we played tough teams. We executed and played to the highest level possible.
Morrissey noted there was pressure as the winning streak continued to mount, but it was pressure the team more than welcomed.
We came into this season with a target on our backs, he said. Everybody wants to beat the best team. We knew we had to keep winning and had to keep the streak going. That added some pressure, but weve all been in pressure situations and we know what to do in those situations. Pressure motivates you a lot. It helps push you and it helps you to keep getting better.
Pazanti added that the 104-match winning streak and the three dual titles in a row carry added significance given the meat grinder that is Southern California high school boys volleyball.
There is a reason teams dont go undefeated around here that often, he said. It’s because we play each other. If you go through without losing, that means youve played the best and have put it out there every single night.