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Daily Pilot Newport-mesa Boys’ Volleyball Dream Team:

Caldwell’s reign complete

VOLLEYBALL: This versatile talent overcame setbacks to dominate the final year of his highly distinguished prep career.

June 22, 2008|By David Carrillo Peñaloza

But what are most important to Caldwell are the relationships he formed with teammates and coaches.

“I want to thank everyone for their friendship and support,” Caldwell said. “I’m sad about leaving [Newport Harbor] and at the same time excited. The future looks promising.”

It sure does, even before Caldwell starts his career at UCLA, where he’s considering playing basketball as a walk on.

Caldwell is currently working out with the U.S. men’s junior national team at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, where the Americans are preparing for the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation Under-21 Continental Championships in El Salvador, June 30-July 5.

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“It is going to be a great experience,” said Caldwell, who’s joined on the U.S. team by Corona del Mar senior middle blocker Gus Ellis, another Dream Team pick.

Both local players are trying to help the Americans qualify for the Federation Internationale de Volleyball Junior World Championships.

“It’s just a crazy time right now,” said Caldwell, who will play opposite. “I just graduated and grad night will start at 8 p.m. and end at 4 a.m. on Friday, the same day I have to be in Chula Vista for an afternoon [practice] session. It’s going to be fun.”

Here are the rest of the Dream Team members:

GUS ELLIS

Corona del Mar, senior

The Stanford-bound middle blocker led the Sea Kings to an undefeated Pacific Coast League season and the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs. The 6-foot-6 Ellis earned league MVP honors after amassing 237 kills, 73 blocks and 37 digs. Ellis was also one of two players to receive first-team All-CIF Southern Section Division II recognition for the Sea Kings (26-7, 8-0 in league). Ellis is a repeat Dream Team selection.

TUCKER PELEUSES

Newport Harbor, senior

The USC-bound opposite helped the Sailors to an undefeated Sunset League season and the CIF Southern Section Division I championship match. The 6-4 Peleuses was first-team All-Sunset League and first-team All-CIF Southern Section Division I after leading the Sailors (31-4, 10-0 in league) with 328 kills to go with 68 digs and 49 blocks. Peleuses is a repeat Dream Team selection.

MARK LIEBERMANN

Newport Harbor, senior

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