VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — If you happen to make it to a Kellam boys volleyball game this season, don’t be surprised when you hear the crowd chanting, “Joel time!” which was coined in their quarterfinal game against Ocean Lakes last season.
The Knights have become a force to be reckoned with and a large part of their success is due to one of their biggest threats: lefty, opposite hitter, Joel Eanes. Shockingly at 6'8", he’s just a sophomore with a long career ahead of him.
“Last year we were playing against Ocean Lakes and I got this one block on one of their bigger middles and it was just kind of like, ‘What time is it? It’s Joel time,’ and everybody would just start yelling it,” Joel said.
“He’s obviously a scary guy if you aren’t 6-foot-8,” said head coach Aaron Campbell, who is in his second season with the Knights.
With a 6'1" mom, 6'4" dad, and a sister who played volleyball in college, it was only a matter of time before he found his way to the court. Joel’s sister has been extremely influential in his volleyball career and is one of the main reasons he picked up the sport.
“Me and my sister are definitely very close. She is definitely, I think, one of my biggest inspirations,” he said. “Despite her living in California we still talk all the time. When she comes to visit, she’ll find open gyms for us to go to for us to play together.”
The height gene, however, does come at a cost.
“The growing pains for sure. On the court, it’s a huge advantage. But sometimes it can get a little old when people ask if I play basketball. I played a little bit a while back, but I honestly think it's never really been my sport,” Joel said. “People usually tell me how far I can make it in basketball with my height. I’m very blessed to be this tall and most of them don’t like it when I tell them I play men’s volleyball, but I don’t really care.”
At first glance, Joel is no doubt an intimidating figure, but if you’re on his side of the net, you’re lucky to have him as both a player and a teammate.
“If Joel wasn’t on the court, we would 100% have a different season. He’s the big brother,” said Coach Campbell. “Everyone knows they can go to him and he’s just going to make them laugh. He’s just a great guy, he’s always happy and you never really see him down. Everybody kind of sees him as the captain that isn’t captain. But everybody kind of knows its Joel time whenever it is.”