16U Boys Capture National Gold Championship!

By Mike Albert

The Pakmen 16U Boys volleyball team are 2013’s National Gold Champions. The tournament was held during the weekend of May 3 – 5 at the University of Sherbrooke, located in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Pakmen was undefeated playing eight matches throughout the three day tournament.

The Pakmen 16U team had strong momentum going into the semi-finals until an unexpected ankle injury to their setter Ethan Ellison, last year’s National Championship MVP. As a result, the team had to regroup quickly during the first set. Sahil Punni was playing ‘left side’ at the moment of the injury, but, without any hesitation, stepped into the difficult task of replacing their setter. This was no easy transition, but the team managed to play strong and find a way to defeat the tough team of Markham Stingers 25-22, 21-25, 17-15.

There was no lack of excitement during the championship match. Pakmen seemed in control of the match with a first set win of 25-19, but Niagara rapids managed to fight back in the second set at 20-25. In the end, Pakmen was able to play strong and capture the ‘National Champions’ title with an exciting third set of 15-13. Congratulations to Pakmen 16U Boy’s 2nd consecutive National title.

Team members (front, from left) are: Andrew Kos, Shaunak Pandit, Javed Baksh, Sahil Punni, Zach Albert, Aman Rakkar, (Back, from left): Assistant Coach George Albert, Justin Albert, Dale Towe, Toure Nwakwesi, Ethan Ellison, Ryan Nowak, Head Coach Mike Albert. Players not in picture are Jovan Stojanovic and Mike Brzek.