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Balboa Bay 16Us earn 'three-peat'

The Balboa Bay Club 16-and-under Blue boys’ volleyball team, based in Costa Mesa, won the 16U Open national title Thursday at the USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championships in Columbus, Ohio.

Balboa Bay defeated SPVB B16 Mizuno of Great Lakes, 27-25, 25-20, in the final. In the semifinals, Balboa Bay beat MVCC 16 Red of Northern California, 25-22, 25-21.

This is the third straight junior nationals title for the team, coached by Rich Polk, which also won the 14 Open Division in 2015 (also in Columbus) and the 15 Open Division last year in Dallas.

Joe Karlous, a setter who attends Newport Harbor High, earned tournament MVP honors for the second straight year. Karlous is one of five players who has been on the team for all three junior national titles, also including outside hitter Max Dunk (Corona del Mar), middle blocker Matthew Olson (CdM), outside hitter Adam Flood (CdM) and libero George Knapp (Laguna Beach).

Balboa Bay rebounded from a loss to a team from Rochester in its first pool play match and went undefeated the rest of the tournament, winning 10 straight matches.

“I think this is probably the toughest 16-and-under division that we’ve ever had,” Polk said in a release. “The team that wins this tournament is probably not going to go undefeated. Most of the time it does happen, but this is a really good field. I said it’s all about responding to adversity.”

Other local players on the team included Edison libero Cole Power, Newport Harbor libero Ryan Schroeder and CdM setter Bryce Dvorak. Caden Pack (Tesoro), Aidan Grosz (Long Beach St. Anthony), Nathan Harlan (Tesoro), Kyle Vom Steeg (Aliso Niguel) and Ethan Hill (St. Margaret’s) also contributed.

Balboa Bay also won the 18-and-under Open Division title on Tuesday.

— From staff reports

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