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Westminster resident Jacob Pasteur set to join USA Volleyball’s Junior National Training Team

Westminster resident Jacob Pasteur goes for a kill with his Yorktowne Volleyball Club team. Pasteur is part of the under-21 USA Junior National Training Team for 2020.
Westminster resident Jacob Pasteur goes for a kill with his Yorktowne Volleyball Club team. Pasteur is part of the under-21 USA Junior National Training Team for 2020.(Billy Shellenberger)

Jacob Pasteur said he learned most of what he knows about volleyball through his four years spent as manager of the girls varsity team at Westminster High School, watching how the game was played and learning from coaches and their lessons.

The homeschooled senior possesses his own court skills as well.

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Pasteur has been climbing the club level ranks in recent years, after first getting into volleyball as a curious eighth-grader. Pasteur attended a summer camp at Carroll Indoor Sports Center, then began dominating with his skills and athletic frame once he had the fundamentals figured out.

Two years ago, Pasteur was part of a club team that competed in the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships, considered to be one of that organization’s signature events. The exposure led to college interest, and Pasteur garnered Division I looks.

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Last fall, he committed to Ohio State University and plans to play men’s volleyball for the Buckeyes next spring. Before that, Pasteur is line for another top-level opportunity ― the 6-foot-4 outside hitter is part of the 2020 roster for the under-21 U.S. Men’s Junior National Training Team.

Pasteur turns 18 in two weeks, and he’ll be playing one level up if he makes the men’s squad that plans on competing in the U21 Pan American Cup in Colorado Springs, Colorado, later this summer. Pasteur got there by attending multiple tryouts and being able to compete at regional and national events at the same time, therefore gaining more exposure along the way.

Volleyball Magazine’s website in a recent article had Pasteur ranked sixth in the nation for Class of 2020 recruits, and Ohio State as having the eighth best class going into next season.

“It’s going to be a busy summer hopefully, but it’s good I get to do both,” Pasteur said about being able to participate in regional and national travel teams. “Very good practice.”

Pasteur credited the club scene for helping him get noticed ― he plays for Yorktowne Volleyball Club based in York, Pennsylvania, as part of the Keystone Region Volleyball Association. Pasteur said he remembers attending open gym sessions there a few years ago after which coach Josh Brenneman, for the most part sight unseen, sent video clips of his performance to college coaches.

“He did a lot of work putting my name out there, which was super beneficial for me,” Pasteur said.

Also vital to Pasteur’s volleyball growth, he said, was his experience with Westminster’s girls team. After getting acclimated as a middle-school student by former Owls coach Ed Benish, who ran the local boys summer camp, Pasteur stayed on as varsity manager.

“I had so much fun the past four years with that group in general,” Pasteur said. “It really got me into the game of volleyball before I even started playing. I learned all the rules before I started playing. I learned how rotations work. I got another angle of the game.”

When Evan Frock joined the program, he said he already knew of Pasteur’s talent. The two soon shared duties during Westminster’s practices, Frock said.

“He has grown to be basically another coach on the court,” said Frock, who guided the Owls to the Class 3A state tournament last fall in his first season as varsity coach. “In practice, I’ll give him a position group and he’ll go and work with them. His knowledge and skills really benefits those girls that he’s working with. He’s a class act. He’s respectful of adults and always thanks us on the way out.”

Pasteur’s summer plans are somewhat unknown right now, he said. Yorktowne won’t be attending any national tournaments, Pasteur said, even if they take place, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the regional and national tournament uncertainty, the Men’s Junior National Training Team plans to assemble in August to train for the Pan American Cup, which is set for Aug. 31-Sept. 9. Pasteur said he’s looking forward to enjoying some warm weather, outdoors, for the first time in a few years.

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But he’s not resting for very long, not with the potential of playing at such a high level and a college career on the horizon.

“For me, my biggest goal is try to and stay crisp with the game. Really try hard to stay in shape,” Pasteur said. “It’s good to stay around the game, but that can only get you so far.”

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