Boris Bukchin was on vacation when he found out. Zach Chang was in the seventh grade at Terman when he discovered it.
What the Gunn seniors found was a liking for volleyball and they’re trying to take it to the next level.
The Titans beat visiting Los Altos, 16-28, 25-16, 25-20, 25-19, in a SCVAL match Monday night with Bukchin (15 kills, 3 blocks) and Chang (11 kills) leading the way. Devin Shim added eight kills.
Palo Alto went five sets before losing to visiting Fremont, 25-16, 25-21, 23-25, 16-25, 15-11, in a battle of SCVAL unbeatens.
“The talent pipeline is not as flushed out as in high school basketball but they’re good volleyball players out there,” Bukchin said. “It’s a growing sport and you see more and more guys playing.”
Bukchin, Chang and a handful of other Titans are serious enough to sign on for club volleyball, in which you could be playing three or four times as often as you would in high school. He knows players at both Los Altos and Palo Alto who also play for clubs.
Bukchin was with his family in Mexico on vacation, where he wandered over to a group of guys playing volleyball on the beach. He joined the competition and his first serve was like a torpedo.
“Right then and there my mom said, ‘That’s it, you’re playing volleyball,’” Bukchin said.
As usual, moms make the best decisions.
Chang thought of himself as a basketball player first. There was some height in his family and he thought that’s where he could flourish.
For some reason he still can’t explain, Chang decided to try volleyball when he was a seventh grader. “I really got tuned in,” he said.
What they would like to see are Central Coast Section playoffs, though they are not overly optimistic about it.
They hear things at school suggesting that the difficulty of testing procedures hinders the concept. It’s almost impossible to play back-to-back nights.
“We’d love to compete against the best teams,” Bukchin said. “We’d love to be in CCS playoffs, if they have one.”
These days, though, it’s about playing together and getting better.