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January 2006


Molten 18-Navy: Head Coach Kurstan Olaso, Assistant Coach Jolynn Faatulu-Olaso, Chad Arnett, Klayson Barlow, Jameson Bevans, Jacob Brockmann, Stewart Hamblin, Doug Kaanaana, Joseph Kauliakamoa, Jr, Travis Knight, Jesse Noble, Sean Ostrander, Justin Peterson, Gavin Tanner

Molten's Six Paves Way to Region Title

Six matches.

That is how Molten’s 18-Navy coach Kurstan Olaso had put it to his team.

Six matches and a region championship…

And with a thrilling 22-25, 28-26, 15-13 win over Gary Durrett’s AZ Rage 18-Red squad, number six was done.

“Before each match we counted them down to ensure that we remained focused on what the team goal was for that day.” Olaso recalls. “We played well all day long, but before the final match we told them that nothing mattered except for this last match. Win or lose, we were proud of the improvements they made individually and as a team during the season.”

After having played the Rage 18-Red twice before, Olaso knew it was going to be a war.

“We expected the championship match to be us versus Rage and we knew it would not be an easy match. I think that we came out a little tentative in the first game and then got comfortable to make a move.” Kurstan said. “We had focused on our middle attack and defense all day long because we knew that would be a huge factor going into the finals. We defended well and our outside hitters did a great job of finding a way to put the ball down for us in the end.”

This particular Molten boys team was the first time that Olaso didn’t have a big nucleus of talent returning.

“Because we did not have a lot of experience returning, we had to focus a lot on mental toughness and leadership this year.” Olaso said. With only two returning players, there was a lot of preparation to get the team into the Regional finals.

“We knew this team had the ability to win, but it was a matter of getting everything, physical and mental, together before the Regional Championships...and we did. These boys trained very hard all season long and we worked on mental endurance a lot throughout the season. It was tough for them in the beginning, but by the end of the season, they knew exactly what I needed from them. We were very proud of their improvement throughout the season and their accomplishment that day.” lauded the Coach.

While the team stayed in the top five the entire season, it was still frustrating at times for Olaso and his staff. “Usually we are able to compete at a high level at the beginning of the season, but this year we knew that there was a lot of improvement that needed to take place in order for us to get back to the finals again.”

The team will travel to Minnesota to compete in the Junior Nationals. “We have 5 juniors on our team this year, four of which were starters for us, that will be returning to us next year: Klayson Barlow, Joe Kauliakamoa, Gavin Tanner, Sean Ostrander and Jesse Noble.” Olaso says smiling.

Club Cactus 16-1: Head Coach David Thistle, Assistant Coach Ho Huynh, Nick Barraza, Noel Carpio, Justin Gotchey, Logan Hale, Michael Meaney, Frankie Mulcahy, Sean Sicurello, Chris Steffes, Garrett Voge, Alex Yang, Kevin Yee

CCJ Compete and Complete the Four-peat!

Club Cactus’ Boy’s 16’s Coach David Thistle had been there before.

And now he’s been there again…for the fourth time as a matter of fact.

Thistle’s Cactus Boys won their fourth straight Region Championship with a 25-18, 25-18 win over AZ. Rage 16-Black squad.

“One of our team goals was to improve every tournament this year and we really saved our best playing for Regionals” Thistle observed, adding, “That was very exciting to see.”

His fourth straight title wasn’t a ‘gimme’ even though his team floated in and around the 18’s teams all season long. But Thistle was quick to point the glory onto his boys. “Every single year I am blessed with having a great group of kids but the one thing that set this group apart from others was there energy level and their
on-the-court talk.”

With his quadrennial repeat, his status as one of the premiere boy’s coaches in the Region isn’t going unnoticed. His secret? Chemistry.
“ We didn't really do anything a whole lot different as far as individuals or drills but we really wanted to keep this group as motivated and as positive as possible, nothing negative from player to player or coach to player, that was our main focus with this group.”

While it’s scary to think, the region will have to be on its toes for next year’s Cactus 16’s offering as well. “Next year I expect good things from this group.” Thistle predicts. “Four or five players will be moving up and about five are staying with me.” Thistle’s expertise has him evaluating the talent coming from Tucson as well. “Look out for Garrett Voge a freshmen this year, who definitely has college potential as well as Justin Gotchey a sophomore, both will be moving up to 18-1 or 17-1.”

Final Standings

Final Standings of our Boys Division are available by clicking here. You will need Adobe Acrobat to read it.

Jan 2006

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