Serving up success |

Serving up success

Steve Neptune isn’t shy when it comes to his praise for the contingent of local boys in his Sacramento Volleyball Club program.

“Offensively, they’re off the charts. To a kid, they’re just unbelievable,” the Folsom-based club’s player development director and boys 16-and-under head coach said. “They all drive down an hour and a half every day just to come to practice. Their level of dedication is off the charts.”

“The attitudes on the team range from 1-10. The NU boys give me something to point to for those players (at the bottom of the range)” Neptune said. “Mentally, they’ve got it.

The seven players: Graham Davis, Andy Reed, Andrew Metroka, Cody Curtis and Sam Hochwald on the 15s team, Tim Lamphier on the 16s and Max McDaniel on the 17s will get a chance to cash in all of that hard work when the SVC heads to the 25th Annual USA Junior Olympic Boys Volleyball Championships in Austin, Texas this week.

The 2003 Junior Olympics attracted a record 1,028 boys and girls teams totaling 11,662 players.

Over 45,000 spectators flocked to Salt Lake City to take in the action.

The 16s will begin pool play Wednesday, while both the 15s and 17s will take the court at the Austin Convention Center Sunday.

Teams will be re-seeded after each round of pool play until the final bracket is set.

“It’s pretty exhilarating just to be able to play the toughest competition (from around the country,” said McDaniel, who played in last year’s Junior Olympics in Phoenix as a member of the 16s. “Last year I was pretty nervous. The top teams in the nation were there”

“This year I’m a little bit nervous, but not as much,” the 6-foot-4-inch middle blocker said.

The 15s ‘A’, which took 11th at the Southern California Boys Classic Volleyball Tournament in Anaheim earlier this month, has the perfect blend of height and basic volleyball skills according to SVC head coach Tim Hill.

“This team is the tallest, most athletic 15s team I’ve seen in northern California bar none,” he said. “This team has the potential to be the best in the country.”

Reed said while his squad’s physical skills on the court are solid, it’s going to take a turnaround in the mental part of the game if it has a chance to reach its potential.

“When things are going good, I think we’re fine. It’s just when things go bad, we (tend to fall apart),” the 6-foot, 3-inch middle hitter said. “We’re going to have to be able to concentrate (if we want to perform at our best).”

Davis agreed.

He said his main goal is for the team member to play tougher and not let the little things get to them.

“Once that happens, it’s pretty much over,” the 6-foot, 1-inch outside hitter said.

Lamphier, a defensive specialist/libero, who along with everyone in the local contingent except McDaniel is a first-year club member, said he’s glad he decided to join up.

“Playing against all of the tougher teams we play has really improved my game,” he said. “Coach Neptune is excellent. He’s (helped us all a lot).”

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