My name is Joey Hoyt, Libero for AJAX Volleyball Academy 18 Gold. This was my experience going to Nationals. Being our first year at the BJNC, we as a team didn’t know what to expect. We thought it would be similar to our prior tournament in Anaheim based on the knowledge of other teams.
When we first stepped into the Greater Columbus Convention Center, we were surprised on how much smaller it was than the SoCal Junior Boys Classic. This is due to the fact that 18u, 14u and 12u play on the first half of the week and the17u, 16u and 15u play on the second half.
Our first day of pool play was competitive. We played three best of three matches finishing second in our pool. We lost our final match on Day one to Division 1 VBC from Southern California for first place in our pool. On our second day we played extraordinarily well in our pool and arguably one of the best performances of the season. We thought we were done for the day and had second place locked up going into playoffs. We just defeated a strong team from Ohio in two sets so our team started icing. I iced my back and waited for the final game to be over. This is where it becomes interesting. As a result of the final pool match we now had to play in a tie breaking match against the team from Ohio to see who goes into the Gold, Silver and Bronze playoffs. Unfortunately we lost the one set match 22-25 and took 3rd in our pool which sent us down to the Flight 3 Bracket.
The Flight 3 Bracket was not where we wanted to be. We had the first seed position and we played a strong team from Hawaii Pilipa'a VBC in the second round ultimately losing in three sets 15-25, 25-23, 12-15.
Overall the tournament was one of the most amazing experiences that we've had as a team. We experienced success and defeat. We came up a little short but we grew and played as a team. I felt I played the best I've ever played and the team enjoyed the experience as a whole. I am so excited for next year! See you in Phoenix at the 2018 BJNC.
Joey Hoyt, Libero, AJAX VB 18-Gold