Fox Chapel has strong influence on Pittsburgh club
The Pittsburgh Volleyball Club headed to Reno, Nevada last week to compete in the 34th annual United States Boys Junior National Volleyball Championships which will end today, July 4.
The Junior National Championships feature the top teams in the country in seven age groups. There is an 18-and-under, 17-and-under, 16-and-under, 15-and-under, 14-and-under, 13-and-under and 12-and-under.
The Pittsburgh Volleyball Club's 18-and-under team will compete in the Open Division.
“The Open Division is definitely the toughest division,” Fox Chapel boys volleyball coach Phil O' Keeffe said.
O'Keeffe is coaching one of the 16-and-under teams and he'll have a lot of familiar faces surrounding him. There are seven Fox Chapel players at the championships.
“This will be a positive experience for all of our players,” he said. “They'll be playing against some of the top players in the country. Most of our kids have been at Nationals before. It's a great way to improve during the off-season and it's always a lot of fun.”
2013 Fox Chapel graduate Josh Tublin, an Ohio State recruit who was recently selected to the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Class AAA All-State Team, is a libero on the 18-and-under team.
“It's been a great experience for all of us,” Tublin said. “We're doing pretty well against some of the best teams in the nation. The West Coast teams are very good, as expected. They all play beach volleyball, too, so they're an experienced group.”
As far as leisure time during their stay, Tublin said the local player are making the most of it.
“We have a good amount of free time but usually we're pretty exhausted,” Tublin said. “For the most part, it's watch TV and go to bed but we did get to see a match between the USA and Bulgaria. That was great.”
He said tournament will be a great benefit as he prepares to attend Ohio State.
“It's highly beneficial,” Tublin said. “We're going up against highly competitive players and that can only help me out when I get to college.”
Other Fox Chapel players at the tournament include Jeret Zaleski on the 14-and-under team; Andrew Tublin, Matt Herrman, Max and Ben Depellegrini on the 16-and-under team; and Jaysen Zaleski and Darren Depellegrini on the 17-and-under team.
Former Fox Chapel assistant Dave Neely, now the head coach at Pine-Richland, is coaching the 17-and-under team.
Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.