May 29, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

After winning tournament, Beckman volleyball team had hopes of winning PCL title

Beckman’s boys volleyball team poses for a picture after winning the Las Vegas Invitatonal. (Photo courtesy Beckman volleyball)

Beckman’s boys volleyball team, after a successful start, was looking forward to Pacific Coast League play and bringing home a league title. The Patriots earned their first league title last year going 10-0.

They’ve picked up where they left off last season, winning the Las Vegas Invitational March 6-7 in preparation for league play.

Then the coronavirus pandemic struck and the squad, like most others in the state, had its season suspended for at least a few weeks. It’s not clear when or if sports will resume.

“It’s been hour by hour,” said Beckman Coach Darin McBain.

Beckman did defeat Portola on Thursday in three sets 25-19, 25-22, 25-19 in the league opener with no fans in the stands as a precautionary move. The next day, athletics was suspended and players, coaches and fans were left wondering if that was the last match of what had been a promising season.

“Our team got off to a really good start this season, at this point we’re 19-4,” said McBain said. “Overall, it’s been a fantastic start, especially with this group that we’ve got.”

Seniors Brendan Vu, Jonah Park, Keenan Yoshikawa and Chris Wilbert, junior Jake Morrison and sophomore Nico Uribe, all returning players, have led the squad.

Despite graduating 11 seniors from last year, Beckman has maintained its winning ways.

“Brendan and Jonah are our two captains,” McBain said. “Brendan is a team leader and so is Jonah, Jonah from the setter position and Brendan is our libero. So the two most critical positions on the floor, we have senior leaders in there so that’s really translated into a good start.

“Chris, another senior, really stepped into that starting outside setter role, this is his third year on varsity but this year having to step up and be the go-to guy for us, he’s done a great job. Keenan is our fourth senior. We get jump serving out of him and some really good passing and defense and serve receive.”

At the Las Vegas invitational, the Patriots won all nine matches. Vu and Uribe made the all-tournament team and Morrison was named the MVP.

“That was our fifth year going there and the fourth time we’ve won it,” McBain said. “All five years we’ve been in the finals, so we go up there and know we have a little bit of a target on our backs. They went up there and just handled it better than I thought they would. We didn’t drop a set. The semifinals and finals were very competitive. We just played incredible volleyball in that tournament.”

The squad, led by Morrison, defeated Casteel High, one of the top teams in Arizona, in the finals. The Patriots also defeated Cornado, another top Arizona squad, in the semifinals.

“Jake was absolutely unstoppable,” McBain said. “He’s only a junior so we’re excited to have him back next year, especially the way after it seems the season has ended. We’re still kind of hoping that we might be able to squeeze some in at the end, but who knows. Jake was a first-team all-league guy as a sophomore and he’s our go-to guy. We get him the ball every single chance we get.”

Now, McBain and his players will wait to see what happens next. He hopes his players will be ready should the season resume in a few weeks.

‘We’re actually in the middle of putting together a little program for them,” said McBain. “I’m doing it for my club as well. We’re trying to put together some workouts on Instagram and that way they have access to them daily. Whether they do them or not, that’s really up to them. We will be putting together volleyball-related stuff that they can do at their own houses.

“I was telling the kids ‘you will never go through anything like this again most likely the rest of your lives.’ It’s weird how much my life revolves around sports, high school sports, youth sports with club and sports on TV. That’s my entertainment, that’s my job and everything I enjoy. And it’s weird how when that is taken away, it throws everything into chaos.”

-Tim Burt,. OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com