A Conversation with the National Champions

Pakmen players Andrew Kos and Sahil Punni are fresh off of an 18u Men’s National Gold Medal at the 2014 Beach National Championships. This week Pakmen got a chance to sit down with duo, and got a behind the scenes look at what happened at the tournament. Sahil and Andrew, who are both headed for their final season with the club as members of the 18 and under Men’s Team have been with the club for their entire volleyball careers.

Pakmen: Tell us a bit about the tournament and how it played out

AK: Nationals was a roller coaster. We started off playing decent but things went downhill in the second day. We finished the second day with a losing record, 1-2, and really had to pick it up on day 3. Things weren’t going our way so we decided to switch up our game a little. We started spin serving into the wind, and that really helped.

SP: After the second day me and Andrew sat down and talked about how the tournament was going. We decided that we needed to approach each game in a different way, like we had nothing to lose. Something clicked between us and we started winning. As a team, we believed in ourselves and were confident. The mental aspect really made all the difference.

Pakmen: If you could give credit to one thing for the victory, what would it be?

AK: Our energy, passion, and being over the top with respect to the mental aspect. As a team we really believed in ourselves and went all out. We played like every game could be our last and we wanted to leave everything on the court.

SP: Like Andrew said we really did play like every game could and would be our last. We didn’t play our best volleyball on the second day but even still losing wasn’t an option. One of our biggest strengths is communication and we sat down after each day and talked about what we could be doing better. Once we started executing properly we started winning.

Pakmen: Besides winning, what are you most proud of in this tournament?

AK: Just the fact that this whole season was a roller coaster and we ended it on a high note. We started the season strong, played in the u24 Youth Open and we did pretty well there. We were in a slump for a few tournaments, not performing as well as we should have. After we came second at provincials we were even more motivated to win, and we did.

SP: Every single team that we beat in the playoffs was a team that we had never beaten before. There was another team from Pakmen that beat us before this tournament, and the team we beat in the finals was the team that beat us in the provincial finals a few weeks before. We had some unfinished business with those teams and we took care of it when it mattered the most.

Pakmen: What are your goals for the upcoming season?

AK: I haven’t thought too much about the indoor season yet, to be honest. But the goals don’t change to much each year. I want to win provincials, nationals, and hopefully get a few university offers.

SP: My goal is to win our tournament in the States, provincials, and of course nationals. Each year our team heads to the States to play in one tournament and we’ve finished in second place almost every year. I’m really trying to motivate my team to win that one along with all the big tournaments in Canada.

Congratulations on the win boys! And we wish you all the best for your 18u season!