All-Bee boys volleyball Player of the Year: Rohit Paul

The Fresno BeeJune 12, 2013 

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Clovis High's Rohit Paul had a section-best 510 kills in leading the 34-6 Cougars to their first Central Section title in seven years.

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Rohit Paul is the Triple Crown winner in boys volleyball: Tri-River Athletic Conference Player of the Year, go-to player on the Central Section team champion and The Bee's Player of the Year.

But to highlight the Clovis High junior's season is to review that middle leg of the Triple Crown: an epic, 2-hour and 30-minute conquest of two-year reigning champion Buchanan that went 25-22, 23-25, 25-19, 21-25, 24-22 before a capacity crowd of 2,500.

"I actually pinched myself the morning after the Valley championship game," says Paul, a 6-foot-3 outside hitter whose 24 kills in the match exceeded any other by 10. "I first checked my bedside and saw the (section championship) hat and the medal. I was like, 'This really happened.'

"It was something that I had been dreaming about since my freshman year. And for it to come true like that — 2,500 people and the best sporting event ever — I couldn't ask for more."

A sporting event of Super Bowl proportions? No.

But the most electrifying in the section for all sports — boys and girls — in the 2012-13 school year? Arguably.

Paul, son of Indian immigrants, finished with a section-leading 510 kills for a 34-6 team that captured the Cougars' fourth section title and the first in seven years.

He averaged 4.4 kills per set, had a kill percentage of 51.2 and also delivered 157 digs, 42 aces and 30 blocks.

And, with Paul and four other starters returning, they've assumed a target on their backs, effective immediately.

"I look forward to it," he says. "I'd rather be that than the underdog."

For Paul, it all began in fifth grade at Red Bank Elementary, a Clovis High feeder, where a teacher/coach he admired, Charlie Ford, and his now seven-year teammate, setter Luke Occhino, recruited him to play volleyball.

The game has proved to be his identification: "Volleyball's the one thing that defines me as a person on campus," he says. "I love all aspects of the game; I actually love going to practice and working on the game. I know I can improve so many aspects of the game, and that's what makes it intriguing.

"I don't know, it's just something that's been a big part of my life — my favorite part of life."

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6366, aboogaard@fresnobee.com or @beepreps on Twitter.

Player of the Year

ROHIT PAUL

Grade: Junior

School: Clovis

His swing: Outside hitter and the team's go-to attacker since his sophomore year, he led the Central Section with 510 kills as the Cougars went 34-6 and unseated two-year reigning champion Buchanan for the section title. He delivered 24 kills, three blocks and an ace in their five-set win over the Bears in the championship. The 6-foot-3 right-hander also contributed 157 digs, 42 aces and 30 blocks for the season.

 

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