2008 Olympic Gold Medalists

2008 Olympic Gold Medalists
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Slacking on Vegas Post

About this time of year I began to slack. I would apologize but in truth it wouldn't be a meaningful apology. It is the end of the year and that is going to be my only explanation.

Vegas is always a player favorite to play in and this year was no exception. It was hot, which is normal, and the courts were very very hard packed but that is normal too. It was at a different location though. We were at Mandalay Bay this year. Almost as big as Ceasar's! Took a good 10 minutes to walk from my hotel room to the site and that was going through the Casino the entire time. Crazy huge.

The event itself had the top 16 players from each gender split into 4 pools of 4 players. I was in a pool with Anthony Medel, Brad Keenan and Jeff Nygaard. A good pool for me as I would be playing with 3 left siders and 2 of them would be big men. On Thursday morning at 8am I played with Jeff vs. Brad/Anthony. The first game was back and forth with Jeff and I pulling it out 25-23. The second game Jeff and I put it together and we won 21-12 which gave Jeff and I a huge upper hand to get out of pool. In the second game I played with Anthony against Jeff and Brad. Normally big/big beats little/little but Anthony sided out great and we scored just enough points to win 22-20 and 21-19. That meant all I had to do was score a total of 32 points with Brad and I would get out for sure. Early Friday morning, Brad and I ended up winning the match in three games. They won the first but Brad and I played well in the second and third and won the match. That meant that Jeff and I would get out of the first round of pool play.

In the second round of pool play I was with Jeff Nygaard again as well as Jake Gibb and Matt Olson. I have played with Jake a couple of tmes before and we have been pretty solid together with Jake playing the left side. Friday night my first match was with Jake and he started off on the left side. He was struggling to sideout and Matt Olson, who normally plays the left side was siding out like a god from the right side. Down 10-16 Jake had had enough and told me to go to the right side. They continued to serve Jake on the right side and we basically played them even and lost 21-14. In the second game they started serving Jake but he sided out at will and they went over to me on the left side. When I passed well I sided out well. We were up several points when I passed two balls poorly and they got it back to within about 2 points. I righted the ship and we ended up winning 21-16. In the third it seemed like we never got a clean side out but somehow kept managing to sideout. We won that game and I have to say I had a blast playing with Jake and having Mike Dodd in the box.

Saturday morning I partnered up with Matt Olson. I have never played with Matt so was looking forward to seeing how we did against the two big men. The odds were against us and we couldn't pull off the upset as they won 21-15 and 21-16. I had fun playing with Matt though. I think we were both a bit tired and sore from jumping on the hard pack sand and we just couldn't get up high enough to score points against the big boys. That loss meant that Matt and I were out of it and to go to the finals would be between Jake and Jeff. Saturday midday Jeff and I played Matt and Jake and we went at Matt. He was still sore and tired and wasn't as crisp as he normally is. Jeff played great the entire match. At 15-8 with us up in the second game, he re-injured his bum knee. We pulled the game out 21-19 to send him to the finals.

In the finals Phil picked John Hyden and Jeff picked me. Frankly the finals was ugly. Jeff struggled valiantly through it and we had some fun points but we got smoked. I think the scores were 21-15 and 21-10 or 12. Like I said, it was ugly. I was stoked for Phil though as that is the one title that has eluded him in his career. I would have liked to keep him from it but it was not to be. Congrats to Phil!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

'Nati and Dallas

Well just got back from the Red Bull Spiked event in Dallas. Phil and I went out there Thursday and did a bunch of media on Friday and Saturday. Also on Saturday we played 3 games to 15 points against three 4-man teams in the rain. It was pretty fun. Red Bull put on this challenge essentially and 16 teams qualified over the last several weeks to play in a qualifier with the top 3 challenging us. I thought it would be pretty tough for us but we ended up winning 15-4, 15-8, and 15-8. All good times though.

In the 'Nati we ended up taking 2nd losing to Sean and John. In our first match we played Zimet and Morrison and won pretty easily 14 and 12. In our second game on Friday we played Loomis and Patterson. The first game we beat them fairly easily like 21-16. Then the second game was a battle with us coming out ahead 22-20. We had a bunch of fans from the Special Olympics out there cheering us on. It was very cool. Phil and I "sponsored" them and they got a cool t-shirt and we got some great fans.

On Saturday we only had the night game so we caught a movie. Do not go see Extract. Might simply be the worst movie I have ever seen. You have been warned. We played Nick and Brad at 9pm and won in two. I can't remember the scores though. On Sunday morning we played Aaron Watchfogel and Billy Strickland and beat them in two. They were close games though as they had a great tourney and finished 3rd. I kind of thought we escaped with the win. Then in the finals we lost in 2 games to Sean and John. The first wasn't that close like 16. The second we should have won as I had a sideout for game. John scooped me twice though and put it away and then Sean stuffed me and John scooped me. They again played well.

Nice to be home on the first weekend of NFL Sunday.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Quick 30 hour tourney in the windy city. I expected heat and humidity but got mostly cold temps. Probably a good thing. If it had been hot and humid, guys would have been fallin' like leaves in such a quick tourney.

In our first match we played Jake Elliot and Jonathon Guida. Jake has been playing for awhile now as I remember playing he and Riley Salmons back in Belmar ages ago. Good guy and a really good player. We played well and served Jonathon most of the balls. He hit mostly and Phil had a lot of blocks. The scores were not close. Something like 8 and 13. In our second match we played Jeff Carlucci and Larry Witt who we had played the weekend before in Muskegon. In Muskegon it was a battle in the wind. This game the wind wasn't too bad and we played well. Won 21-13 and 11. In our third game on Friday we played Matty Furbs and Billy Allen who had taken a 25th in the wind of Muskegon. They were much better this tourney and had already won 2 matches vs. good teams. We again played well and beat them 13 and 13. With more time together this could be a solid team. Not sure what will happen with Casey and Matt in the future but certainly Billy is throwing his name in the hat to move up for next year. In our fourth and last game on Friday we played Nick and Brad in the semis of the winners. We again played well and won 13 and 13. At one point Brad said to me that it seemed like Phil was touching 14 feet. Never played 4 games in the winners bracket in one day before. Even at my elderly years new things are happening.

On Saturday we played Jake and Rosy in the semis of the winners. Rosy has been nursing a busted up wrist this past month and I think has to get surgery to fix it after the season. One thing I know for sure, it doesn't affect his hitting. He crushed some balls hard. Hopefully he can play out the end of the season and then take care of his injury. The first game was a battle that they won in the end, 25-23. The second game we pulled ahead and never let go winning 21-15. In the third they were just out of sorts and we won 15-5. They had lost in the second round and then grovelled through the losers bracket. They played 5 matches on Friday and 3 matches on Saturday, 2 of those matches in the early morning before we played them. In the finals we lost to John and Sean. John played some of the best volleyball I have seen. Sided out really well and scooped driven balls and shots. The first game they crushed us from the get go beating us 21-17. The score looks a lot closer as we scored some points at the end. In the second we were on and they were not and we won 21-15. The third was back and forth until 12-12. I believe John scooped me and put it away, then I hit a ball out by 2 inches down the line and then John scooped me and put it away for game. The first point might have been a stuff on me by Sean. Can't remember for sure. At any rate, they played well and we didn't raise our game to their level. Now on to Cincinnati and what I am hoping may be the biggest crowd the AVP tour has ever seen.