Volleyball: Jacob Pasteur climbing club ranks in short period of time
By Joe Schiller
Carroll County Times|
Aug 20, 2018 | 7:30 PM
Carroll County isn’t known as a hot spot for boys volleyball players.
It’s only an official varsity sport at public schools in Montgomery and Harford County — and that makes Jacob Pasteur’s career that more unconventional.
But Pasteur, a 16-year-old homeschooled student from Westminster, has carved out a role as an outside hitter in just a few short years.
And he’s excelling in the sport.
Pasteur, a junior, competed with the Keystone Region Volleyball Association Boys’ High Performance Team at the 2018 USA Volleyball High Performance Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma, from July 24-28 — considered one of USA Volleyball’s flagship events.
“It was really fun,” Pasteur said. “I love the fact that I get to play up and I get to see this high-level competition volleyball and really push me to my limits.”
Pasteur said he was first introduced to volleyball from his parents, who played the sport for over 20 years.
As a curious eighth-grader, Pasteur said he saw a flyer for a volleyball camp at Carroll Indoor Sports Center and decided to give it a chance despite limited experience.
“We said, ‘Hey, this could be fun. Why not?’ I haven’t played this sport yet, it could be fun,” Pasteur said. “I had been to Carroll Indoor for soccer … so I just figured it would be another one of those events.”
It was there he met Westminster girls volleyball coach Ed Benish, who provided a catalyst. Pasteur said Benish began teaching him the fundamentals of the sport and offered him a unique opportunity to work with the Owls’ varsity volleyball team.
A win-win situation.
“We just gave him the basics and he paid attention when we were teaching our varsity team,” Benish said. “As the years have gone on he’s been able to work his way up the ladder a little bit and learn more advanced stuff.”
Pasteur has since spent countless hours at Westminster High School, filling in positions on the court, simulating blocks, honing his skills and helping the coaching staff run practices and training.
Benish said it’s uncommon for a player to develop their game as quickly as Pasteur has, and a huge help has come from working with junior Jilienne Widener, the two-time reigning Times Player of the Year.
Pasteur’s combination of length and athleticism has made him a prominent outside hitter — a role that encompasses all aspects of the game.
“I love the position because in order to be there you have to be good at everything,” he said. “You have to be able to serve receive, play defense, serve, block [and] hit. It’s just a hard position to fill and I enjoy playing there.”
Pasteur recently finished his first season with Yorktowne Volleyball Club’s 17 Blue team out of York, Pennsylvania, and is receiving interest from Division I schools.
He has made volleyball his top priority going forward and aspires to extend his career as long as possible — hoping to eventually play at the Olympic level and overseas.