Check out this blurb from Lori Okimura's (Chair of the USA Volleyball Board of Directors) blog post regarding the Boy's Junior National Championship:
"One club in particular that gained a lot of attention in Phoenix was the Bay to Bay boys’ volleyball club from the Northern California Volleyball Association (NCVA). Matthew & Arielle Houlihan manage both club director and coaching duties expertly with newborn daughter (and the youngest USA Volleyball member I’ve met this season), Rylie, logging more court side hours than most coaches. With 18 teams participating in the 2018 BJNC, the Houlihan’s were crossing the aisles of the Phoenix Convention Center on an hourly basis, going from court to court to oversee the progress of close to 200 boys under their supervision. Judging by the number of medals & trophies I had the honor to present to Bay to Bay teams, including gold, silver and bronze for young Rylie, I think the “Houlihan Method” works just fine.
Arielle’s father, Barry Goldberg, is the women’s volleyball head coach at American University. He and his wife, Bonnie, know a lot about running successful programs, building loyalty and the investment of time, energy and money it takes to really and truly “grow the game.” Barry has built a women’s volleyball dynasty at American University, and has his sights set on doing the same with men’s volleyball, perhaps inspired by what he sees happening with the growth at the boys’ high school and club level. He and Bonnie established the successful Capitol Hill Volleyball Classic in Washington, D.C. which local tourism officials credit with bringing an estimated 80,000 visitors and $21.5 million dollars in economic impact to the city annually. Building off the success of the Capitol Hill Classic, Barry is now focused on adding boys’ & men’s volleyball to the city’s tourism agenda, and to the campus of American University. When you consider that Barry’s collegiate career was cut short by the elimination of men’s volleyball at the University of Pittsburg in his senior season, it seems he is bringing it full circle by working hard behind the scenes to find investors to build facilities on campus that can showcase the successful women’s team and create new opportunities for men’s volleyball in the process. I have a lot of faith in people like Barry and Bonnie who have done some great things in volleyball, against the odds. And I have a lot of hope for what Matthew and Arielle, and all those other club directors out there across the country, are doing to continue the work at the grassroots level.
From coast-to-coast, there are more boys’ playing high school and junior volleyball and more of them continuing their playing experience in college and beyond. We must continue to make the investment in programs, create new opportunities, and support the base of junior club volleyball in order to keep this trend alive. While in Phoenix, many of the boys’ teams watched our U.S. Men’s National Team win a bronze medal in the inaugural FIVB Volleyball Nations League. And it was not lost on them that players on our current roster come from all across the USA and played for many different clubs and colleges from the East to West Coast. The bronze medal roster included superstars Matt Anderson, Max Holt & Aaron Russell from Penn State, Tom Jaeschke & Jeff Jendryk from Loyola of Chicago, Taylor Sander & Ben Patch from BYU, Micah Christenson from USC, brothers Kawika & Erik Shoji from Stanford, Team USA captain David Smith & Dan McDonnell from UC Irvine, and Dustin Watten, T.J. DeFalco & Kyle Ensing from Long Beach State."
Have a favorite memory from the 2018 BJNC that you would like to share? Head over to our Facebook or Instagram and comment your favorite memory. One lucky winner will receive free admission to a Bay to Bay Summer Clinic!