2008 Olympic Gold Medalists

2008 Olympic Gold Medalists
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Friday, July 30, 2010

Long Beach

I just wrote a long post on Long Beach and of course right as I finished the internet went out on me. So, I am not going to retype it all. Needless to say, we played pretty well. Finals were fun to play and from what I am told, fun to watch. The word for the weekend really wasn't about the play though. It was about the viability of the AVP in the coming months and years. I hope to touch base on that as I find things out but to date and I don't have much information to go on. When I do I will post something.

Long Beach

Long Beach was a strange tourney. With all the uncertainty surrounding the AVP it had a very rough air around the whole tourney. Would the players have a place to play? Would the AVP survive? Would we get paid for Long Beach? Essentially, what is going to happen? For players like Phil and I and most of the other top teams we can rely on the fact that the FIVB is not going anywhere. It is not our first choice due to all the travel and being away from family, friends and the comforts of home. However, they pay well, they pay on time and they have a lot of money. They are one of the richest sports organizations in the world and that is a comforting thought if you are a beach volleyball player looking for a place to play. That being said, only a handful are allowed to play so if you are not well positioned or willing to take a serious financial risk, you are looking at other job options.


The tournament itself was smooth. Only 16 teams for this event. We played well pretty much the whole tourney. Played Brazao/Dykstra in the first round and won in 2 games. 1st game beat them badly and then the second game was close. Then played Prosser/Mayer, a rematch from the finals in Hermosa. They were actually up 16-14 serving in both games but we went on a couple of scoring runs at that point and won 16 and 18. Our third match we played Watchfogel and Strickland. Beat them in 2 games. Can't remember the scores though. Think they were in the high teens.


Sunday we played Jake and Rosy. Phil made some sick digs and we had some great rallies in the match. We won a tight first one and then the second one we won going away. In the finals we played Sean and John for the 4th time this year. Game 1 we came out a bit sluggish but they were really mixing things up. Serving me short to the pin, John blocking instead of Sean and just basically really mixing their schemes up. It worked as they won 21-17. In the second game we steadied out and pulled ahead by a couple of points mid-game and maintained that throughout. In the third game it was tied at 5-5 when we went on a 9 point run. A sideout, couple of errors, digs and blocks and it was 14-5. End score was 15-6. Great to win but really overshadowed with all the hoopla surrounding the AVP. Hopefully this won't be my last AVP tournament post ever.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hermosa #1

Nice to be playing back in the states and a two day tourney to boot. Love those two day tourneys. Wish they were all like that. Throws a little of the ole time must be in shape flare. Not completely ole time as those guys were in amazing shape playing matches that could last longer than two hours. But at least we are playing more than one or two matches a day.

Hermosa was pretty epic. Weather was hot and sunny and the crowds were out in full force. I love playing in Hermosa. I would say it is my favorite sand to play defense in. We won all 6 games but not without tight ones and controversy.

On Saturday we played Chris Icaza and Brook Billings. I played against Ish (Sean Icaza), Chris' dad way back in the day in an A and AA tourney in Santa Barbara and Sorrento. He smacked me down. Now I am playing against his son. Crazy old am I! I got a little revenge on Ish by beating Chris in two games. Second round we played Marchewka and Carambula. Won in two. Adrian Carambula has arguably the best sky ball in the game! Thing goes up to the moon and back with back spin. Gave Phil some fits. In our third game we played Casey and Brad. Went 3 games. In every game we had a 3 or 4 point lead towards the end of the game but gave up a bunch of points each time. First game we lost 21-19 after being ahead 18-14. Next game we were ahead 18-14 again and barely won 21-19. 3rd game we were up 10-7 and they tied it up at 14 all. Controversy set in with a net call on me that was overturned after I went ballistic. Casey then went ballistic and frankly rightfully so. Up ref called a net on me and then conferred with his down ref who said no he didn't net it was the ball. Changed the call to a sideout for Phil and I and Brad hit the next ball out.

Sunday we played Mayer/Prosser in the winners semis. Won in 2 games although fairly close games. Played Casey and Brad in the crossover match. Won in 2 games. Fairly easily in the first game but the second was a battle. We were down game point about 4 times before I served a float ace up the middle and then Phil stuffed Casey. In the finals we played Mayer/Prosser again. They had a great tourney beating Rosy/Jake in the second round and then Watchfogel/Strickland in the 3rd round. After they lost to us they played Sean/John and beat them 16-14 in the third game. Then beat Nygaard/Olsen in the crossovers. The finals were not so good for them though. We beat them 14 and 11. We played well and it was their first finals. 5th in a row for Phil and I at Hermosa. Love playing there.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Gstaad

Gstaad was good for Phil and I as we won our second cow bell. Didn't start out that well though.

In Pool Play on the Thursday we were once again in Jake and Rosy's pool for the umpteenth time. We lost to them in 3 games. Killed them in the first, lost a very tight second game in overtime and then they smoked us in the third. Rosy was scooping balls and both guys were siding out like champs. In our second match that day we played a young Polish team. We didn't play great but won in 2 games. On Friday we played the Czech team and won in 3 games to take 2nd in our pool. No bye to 9th so we had to play our first single elimination round game Friday afternoon. We had a good draw playing the Spanish qualifier team of Mesa/Lario. It was a tight game but we prevailed 18 and 19.

On Saturday morning we played the Kiwis who had won their pool. Pretty good draw there too as they are a good team but had played in the qualifier. We won in two games. We then again had Jake and Rosy as they had won our pool to receive a bye and then beat Pedro and Harley in their first elimination game. We were supposed to play at 6pm but a crazy mountain rain/hail storm came in at 4pm for about 2 hours. Pretty cool to watch as the hail was the biggest I have ever seen. Ended up clearing up around 6pm and we played at 7pm. First game was back and forth and we ended up winning by a couple of points. Second game they came out strong and took a 4 point lead or so and never relinquished it to win going away. The third game was back and forth the whole time. They scored a late point and were up 14-12. I sided out to make it 13. Served Rosy and Jake threw the set to tie up the game at 14's. No complaints as it was definetely a bad set. Rosy sided out the next ball as did I. Phil served Jake and stuffed him for us to go up 16-15. Jake sided out the next ball but I did as well. Served Jake again and Rosy chucked the set for game. Wasn't quite as bad as Jake's set but was bad according to how the ref had called the game. I had a chuck set in the 1st game. I told the ref it sucked to end the game on a chuck set. He agreed but what could he do. He kept the standard the same the whole game regardless of score.
On Sunday we played the top Polish team in the semis. We played very well and beat them pretty easily. In the finals we exacted a little bit of revenge from the Germans. David and Eric started off pretty bad having lost their first two matches in pool play but then had fired it up and made it all the way to the finals. Phil and I were remembering Norway as we played them and we played very well to beat them 18 and 15. Very satisfactory ending to the trip.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Gstaad vs. Klagenfurt

Just played in Gstaad, Switzerlandand it is such a beautiful place to have an event. Probably the most beautiful of all the places we play. Mountains with snow on them in the distance, rushing rivers and generally beautiful scenery everywhere you look. Pretty idyllic place is Gstaad, Switzerland.

The tourney is really nice too. Looking at the total package I would say Gstaad and Klagenfurt are neck and neck for best tourney on the schedule. Location: They both have great positives. Klagenfurt has the lake and the dock which is really hard to beat and although it isn't in the Alps, it is still in mountainous country. Gstaad is in the mountains and it is a smaller quaint village. Slight advantage to Klagenfurt. Food: Used to be off the hook in Austria but has been scaled back since the recession hit. This is where Klagenfurt really stood shoulders above everyone else. It is still very good but they no longer are way ahead. Every year Gstaad food has become better and better to where I would say it is now on par with Klagenfurt. I would say it is a tie now. Hotel: Klagenfurt used to lag big time on this. The Rokohof was nice but was a couple of miles from the site. They have since upgraded to a hotel that is very close and modern for internet ect... Gstaad has a great hotel in the Bernerhof that is very close to center court. Rooms are really nice with balconies and has a very nice feel to them. Slight advantage to Gstaad. Fans: Klagenfurt has rabid beach volley fans and they come out rain or shine. Gstaad has great fans as well although I don't think they are quite as rabid as the Austrians. I would have to give a slight advantage to Klagenfurt here. Intangibles: Location of the center court, village and side courts is all pretty much a tie to me. Sand is about the same. One thing that Klagenfurt does have over Gstaad is entertainment. There is a lot more to do in Klagenfurt. They have a waterslide right at center court and they have a lot of interactive stuff in the village. Zip lines, rock climbing ect... They also have a Red Bull boat to take people out on the lake and fun stuff like that. Advantage Klagenfurt for intangibles. I think I would still rank Klagenfurt as the best tourney but Gstaad is right behind them and every year it seems like they are closing the gap. Kudos to Rudi, the promoter, and his staff.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Stavanger, Norway

Bronze in Norway. Felt like we let one slip away. Lost a tough match in the semis and if we had won we would have been playing Norway for the Gold. Great tourney for the Norwegians on their home turf though. Cool to see all the Norwegian fans going crazy over their team. I am sure the promoter was on cloud 9.

Pool play was a bit rocky for us. Played Matt and Nick first game and went 3 with them. Beat them soundly in the first and then the second they steadied out to win. The third had a million rallies in it but we ended up prevailing. Later that day we played the Russians and they beat us pretty good. Tight first game and then the second they served us off the court. Igor has a gnarly serve when he has it going. Next day we played Norway and beat them in two fairly handily. Came out 2nd in our pool behind Russia who went 3-0 so we didn't get the bye.

In the single elim playoffs on Saturday, we started off against Switzerland. Played poorly in the first. Could not convert a lot of point chances. Picked it up in the 2nd and 3rd to win the match. Next game played the 2nd Latvian team. They were super scrappy and gave us all we could handle. Left sider is a lefty who is really smooth and the right side guy is the same guy we played and lost to in the Olympics. He scooped a lot of balls but we were able to win 18 and 19. Third match that day we played Emanuel and Allison. I must say we played really well. Was our best game of the tourney by far and it had to be to beat those guys. We won in 2 with the first game being not very close. The 2nd game being a battle where we scored a real one to win 21-19.
Sunday we lost to the Germans in the semis. They played really well. The first I played poorly and we pretty much got smoked. The second we picked it up and won. The third was close. I passed a ball about 20 feet off the net at 13-12 down and then hit a waffle ball about 20 feet out to give them match ball. Sided out the next one but then David hit a knuckle pokey deep angle over Phil as I went to the cut shot. Shot landed on the line. Gutsy call but it worked. In the bronze we came out and played solid ball. The Spaniards had just been upset by the Norwegians about 45 minutes earlier so I think they were still in a bit of a funk. Not there best game for sure.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Belmar

First win ever in Jersey! Played there a lot of times but never won. Other than the sea shells, I really like the sand in Belmar. Pretty deep on center court. Although I heard the outer courts were much more packed. Center and court 1 were deep though. Weather was warm but I have played in Belmar when it was hotter and even more humid. Hottest we have played in this year though. The finals were probably the warmest of the weekend. The wind was coming onshore and it was a nice cooling breeze. Then as the finals started the wind stopped, it became super humid and then it started up again but coming offshore. I was told that when it becomes offshore it is a hot and humid wind. Experienced that first hand.

Played 3 games on Saturday. Billings and McKenzie first round. Fairly tough first round matchup. We won in 2 games but the first was pretty close. Brook Billings went to SMHS, my old high school. Used to go watch him play when I was in college. Second match we played Tramblie and Marchewka. Phil put on a clinic on how to block vs. Tramblie. Must have had at least 10 blocks, maybe 15. Third round we played Casey and Brad. Tough first game. Casey scooped me a bunch and converted. Second game not as close.

Sunday we played 3 more games. Watchfogel and Strickland in the winners semis. Beat them in 2 games. Felt in control for the most part but close games. Then Wong and Patterson in the semis. Tough match. Killed 'em the first game and then lost a tight 2nd game, although we were down a bunch of points late in the second. Made a comeback and tied it up at 20 but couldn't get over the hump to win in 2. The third was back and forth. Ended up winning on a block by Phil on Kevin. The finals we played really well. The first we were up 18-14 but gave up several points to let them back in. Phil got scooped, I hit in the net and then Hyden scooped me and put it away to make it 18-17. We sided out but so did they. Had a long rally and I ended up hitting a line shot out to tie it up at 19 all. Sided out and then won 21-19. In the second game we won 21-15 and had everything going our way.