Club volleyball player returns to JOs |

Club volleyball player returns to JOs

Darin Olde, Tribune staff writer

Now setting the ball up instead of spiking it down, 16-year-old Shawn McLaughlin is headed to the USA Boys’ Junior Olympic Volleyball Championships in a new role.

McLaughlin, from South Lake Tahoe, heads back to the national tournament for the second year in a row with Diablo Valley Volleyball Club after an impressive showing last weekend at the Northern California Volleyball Association’s Boys 2002 18’s Regional Championship in Sacramento.

Diablo Valley’s 17 Black team was seeded 22nd heading into the tournament. The team won three matches, finishing as the eighth seed from the gold division.

Diablo Valley also finished as the top 7 team out of seven competitors in the 18-and-under division.

As such, Diablo Valley clinched a berth in the JOs July 5-8 in Phoenix, Ariz.

It’s the second time in a row for McLaughlin, but it’s his first time heading to the national tournament as a setter instead of an outside hitter.

McLaughlin, a team captain, switched to setter when it became clear the team needed a strong athlete to take up the role if they were to remain competitive. McLaughlin volunteered for the job, and now says he plays a more consistent game, although he misses hitting and playing more defense.

But’s he’s optimistic about the strength of his team.

“I think we played well and I think we have a good chance to do well in Junior Olympics,” McLaughlin said.

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