2008 Olympic Gold Medalists

2008 Olympic Gold Medalists
(click on picture to see larger picture)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sanya, China

Rough matchups for Wong/Olson and Furbs/Mayer. They could both end up losing their games and then play each other in the losers bracket. Wong/Olson have no points so are playing the #2 seed in the tourney, Spain. Could be a good match if they serve the right side guy and stay away from Pablo. They could win but I would favor Spain. Furbs/Mayer are the 15th or 18th seed and play Russia. Barsouk is solid so it will depend on how good his new partner is. I have heard he has a ton of potential but is a little raw. I favor the Americans slightly in this game. The last team is Brad and Nick. I think they have a great draw as the 12th seed. They should win their first game and then play a team they could beat in Thiago/Benjamin from Brazil. If they can win their first two I think they should win their third game as well probably vs. Norway who is the #4 seed. They could make it all the way to the winners semis if they play well. The last team was Morrison/Jackson. They won their first match in the quali but lost their second match to a solid team from Italy.

On the women's side the main draw has yet to be set but Hanson/Rutledge are in the quali. They have a tough draw as they play a good Japan team. I think Brooke is going to have to sideout well and pick up and put away a lot of balls on defense. Hopefully they will make into the main draw though.

Friday, October 16, 2009

AVP Awards

Not to bad on the predictions. Was correct on the Women's side with the exception that I favored EY over Nicole. Not bad on the men's side too. For those of you that have not seen who won what:

MVP - Phil
Best O - Phil
Best Blocker - Phil
Best D - Hyden
Most Improved - John Mayer
ROY - Jonathon Acosta

MVP - Nicole
Best O - Nicole
Best Blocker - Lisa Rutledge
Best D - Brooke Hanson
Most Improved - Lisa Rutledge
ROY - Rachel ? - Can't remember her last name. From Brazil

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Predictions - AVP Banquet

AVP Banquet tonight. Here are my predictions for who wins what.

MVP - Phil
Best O - Phil
Best B - Phil
Those 3 were easy. I think if he doesn't win all 3 it is a major upset.
Best D - I think John Hyden will win it but not as sure on that as with Phil. I think Nick and Rosy will be close with Matt Olson and John Mayer as dark horses.
Most Improved - Tough again. You can make an argument for either Sean Scott or John Hyden. You can also throw in Nygaard, Mayer, Olson, and a handful of others. Really up for grabs here.
ROY - I think it will be Jonathon Acosta. There are 5 or so other guys but he had the best season out of all of them.

Women will be much tougher to predict.
MVP - Should be either EY or Nicole. I will go with EY as Nicole could get a couple of these in the future.
Best O - Nicole
Best B - Lisa Rutledge - I watched her block and she is impressive up there. EY could also win it but she split a lot of time with Nicole up at the net.
Best D - Brooke Hanson - scooped up more balls than anyone else on tour by a lot. I think the fact the top teams split block and split defend will make it tough to give it to one of them.
Most Improved - Lisa Rutledge - She went from pretty low down in the rankings to a top 8 team.
ROY- I have no idea who is considered a rookie on the women's side so I can't venture a guess here.

We shall see tonight.

Friday, October 2, 2009

AZ: Last AVP Tourney of the Year

Last tourney of the year in AZ this past weekend and it was the funnest one of the year too. What a great feeling to have all of the other American players cheering us on while the Brazis cheered Harley and Alison on. I was really pumped up to play as not only was it the finals of the tourney for Phil and I but it would determine the outcome of who won the country vs. country contest.

Flew in on Thursday midday and did a clinic with Phil at the Victory Sports Complex in conjuction with the AZBVA. It is the 4th or 5th year I have done the clinic and every year it has grown. Good to promote the sport to the locals and hopefully it helps Jeff and Marina at the AZBVA as they try and grow beach volleyball too. Special thanks out to Brian as well for all the hard work he puts in and Jan too for letting him do it.

On Friday we played our first match vs. Billy and Bruno at 9am. Phil hurt his back in the finals in Vegas and wasn't sure if he was even going to be able to play at all. He said it was really tight and hurting as he warmed up that morning. Fortunately it was hot in AZ as expected and getting a good sweat going is pretty easy. Billy and Bruno mostly served me throughout the match and we won in 3 games 21-18, 17-21 and 15-10. They have been in and out of the main draw all year and I expect they may take over a main draw spot in the future depending on what the other brazilian teams do as far as partners ect... are concerned. Our second game on Friday was against Harley and Alison at 8pm at night. The early morning and evening games are nice to play in Glendale. It isn't cool but not blazing hot with the sun beating down on you. Phil was still hurting but they brazis did not realize it at all and I probably sided out the best I have ever sided out against them. The first game was tight but the second game we won going away to go to 2-0 overall with scores of 23-21 and 21-14. At the end of the day the Americans were up 10-6 thanks to a late push in the evening session. Misty/Kerri and Jen/April were 2-0 and EY/Nicole were 1-1 with Jenny/Annette at 0-2. On the men's side we made a late push after a bad morning as Sean/John, Nick/Brad and Jake/Matt were all 1-1.

On Saturday we again played at 9am vs. Benjamin and Pedro. We controlled the game for the most part. They came out serving Phil short and he did not appreciate that due to his back. It worked a little at first but as Phil warmed up into the game he started being more aggressive and at the end of game 1 he actually hammered a couple like he normally does. This made them switch to me but the end was pretty much the same. We won 21-19 and 16. Our second game this time was at noon vs. Emanuel and Ricardo. It was hot as smokes at noon and the game was hotly contested as well. At 2-0 Emanuel poked a ball off of me but the refs did not see it and it went out of bounds. They argued the call and were looking at me to call the touch. I didn't call the touch as it is the refs job to do that. They got super pissed and were yelling at Phil and I. I told them it was the refs job not mine to call the touch. After the game Emanuel came up to me and apologized and explained that he felt that ref had screwed them the day before on a call. No harm no foul and they ended up winning the match with scores of 21-19 and 23-21. Phil and I moved on into the finals the next day as we were 3-1 overall and the other teams were all 1-2 as they had all lost their morning matches. I guess the mornings were tough for the american men as we went 2-7 overall for the whole tourney. We did better in the evenings as we went 5-3 in the later matches. Fortunately the women did not have the same troubles as us. They went 5-4 in the mornings overall and 7-1 at night.

On Sunday morning the score was 18-14 in the red, white and blues favor. Jen/April started the day off right by defeating Talita/Maria for the bronze medal and an extra 3 points. We were now ahead 21-14. But Brazil came storming back to win the men's bronze medal match as Emanuel/Ricardo beat Nick/Brad to put the score at 21-17 USA. If Misty/Kerri could win their Gold medal match then we would win. They lost though as Misty just ran out of energy. I will say the night before Misty played an amazing match. Considering she hasn't played at this level, coming back from an injury, and playing arguably the best team in the world and they beat them down in 2 games. WOW!!!! Kerri played great but Misty was simply amazing when you throw all of that out there. I was astounded and am amazed at how damn good she is! But the score was now 22-21 in the brazis favor and it would come down to our match. It was the first time since the Olympics that I was actually nervous. I think the adrenaline was running high for Phil and I before the match as Phil told me before the match that he felt pretty good and was going to try and jump serve. He had been jump floating all tourney long as he hurt his back in Vegas on a jump serve. I said go for it and boy did he ever. He played fantastic and the Brazilians were shell shocked. He served 7 or 8 straight points in the beginning of the first game. I think he had 4 aces and 3 stuffs during that run. It was Phil at his finest and simply amazing to watch. That game was pretty much over at that point and we cruised to a 21-14 win. The second game was a little bit closer but both Phil and I were playing well and we steadily pulled away to win 21-15 on a Phil dribbler ace. We were mobbed by the rest of the american players and it was a really cool feeling. All the American players who were there and the next top 4 teams on the AVP split an extra $50,000. Great tourney and I hope they do it again next year either in Brazil or in the USA.