MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (Aug. 1, 2018) – Three days of competition at the USA Volleyball Beach High Performance Championships concluded Wednesday with finals in eight divisions.
In the final, London Wijay (Porter Ranch, Calif.) and Sofia Williams (Marina del Rey) beat Malyssa Cawa (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.), 22-20, 21-14.
Third-place: Isabella Adishian /Nikole Egan def Maddy Byrne / Izabella Mahafey, 21-19, 21-10.
The Boys U13 division played a “best of the beach” format. Dominic Shtylla of Culver City, Calif., came out on top. Reiter Madden of Burlingame, Calif., took second and Nathaniel Arnold of Jay, Fla., finished third.
Gala Trubint (San Diego, Calif.) and Kelly Belardi (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) beat Jordan Boulware (Tallahassee, Fla.) and Katie Miller in the final, 21-10, 21-11.
Trubint: “Overall, I thought the tournament went really well. We stayed really consistent over the past two days.”
Belardi: “I think our energy was really good. It helped us throughout the game. I thought we served really aggressively to get other teams out of system so we could play defense and get the ball back.”
Third-place: Chloe Hooker/Delaney Karl def Bailey Showalter/Jenna Colligan, 21-18, 21-17
The final saw Marcello Souza (Riverside, Calif.) and Mick Bakos (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) beat Gavin Blanchette (Brentwood, Tenn.) and Thomas Hurst (Plano, Texas), 21-11, 21-13.
Souza: “This was a really fun tournament. It taught me to be a better player. It was a fun experience. I learned how to be a better blocker. My coach really helped me throughout the experience.”
Third-place: Christopher Connelly/Nico Paula (both from Florida) def Alejandro Miranda/Yadiel Delgado (both from Puerto Rico), 10-21, 21-10, 15-13.
Delaynie Maple (Temecula, Calif.) and Meg Kraft (San Diego, Calif.) beat Olivia Bakos (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Peri Brennan (Laguna Beach, Calif.), 21-12, 24-26, 15-11.
Maple: “I think we grew completely from the first game to the last game. I think it was a completely different game. We had our coach, Barbra Fontana, who absolutely helped us so much throughout the whole thing. There’s nothing like playing next to your best friend.”
Kraft: “I learned how to compete and strategize when something isn’t going your way and changing it. I think we did a good job of that, especially with Coach Barb’s help. It was really fun to compete against some of the best teams.”
Both Maple and Kraft have verbally committed to the University of Southern California for beach volleyball.
Third-place: Camdyn Doucet/Simone Gibson def Kate Reilly/Xolani Hodel, 23-21, 21-18.
In another final-round battle, Grant Strong (Clearwater, Fla.) and Kyle Johnson (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) defeated Adam Hartmann (Cooper City, Fla.) and John Ziska (Odessa, Fla.), 21-14, 18-21, 16-14.
Strong: “Our thing throughout the tournament was playing steady and being aggressive because other teams can’t really adapt to hard swings.”
Johnson: “This morning we didn’t play as well as we wanted to. But then in the semis we definitely brought it back and played our best game.”
Strong and Johnson are both 15 and hope to keep playing beach volleyball, perhaps on the FIVB and AVP tours.
Third-place: Luke Turner (Hermosa Beach, Calif.)/Dylan Zacca (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) def Eric Winn (Cumming, Ga.)/Blaze Woller (Austin, Texas), 21-11, 21-15
Stanford-bound twins Audrey and Nicole Nourse of Newport Beach, Calif., beat Devon Newberry (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Lindsey Sparks (Huntington Beach, Calif.), 21-19, 17-21, 16-14. Newberry and Sparks recently finished fourth at the FIVB U19 World Championships and in October will compete at the Youth Olympic Games.
Nicole Nourse: “I think the great thing about the tournament is it gives you time to learn from your matches because you have a lot of time in between. Early on, it was a little shaky, we had a tough time getting into it. By the time we got to the finals, our growth over the tournament helped us pull it out.”
Audrey Nourse: “We learned about connecting with each other and trusting each other. We learned how to adjust when we’re lacking in some areas like serving or sideout. We learned to come in with an aggressive mindset and play together.”
Third-place: Brooke Buckner (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.)/Jaden Whitmarsh (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) def Harper Hallgren (Southlake, Texas)/Sam Strah (Capitola, Calif.), 21-10, 21-0.
In the final, Tim Brewster (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and John Schwengel (Santa Monica, Calif.) def Dane Johnson (Manhattan Beach, Calif.)/Brett Sheward (Newport Beach, Calif.), 21-14, 21-11.
Brewster and Schwengel were part of the Junior National Team that competed at the FIVB U19 World Championships. At Manhattan Beach, they got a big semifinal win over Puerto Rico’s William Rivera and Randall Santiago, who had beaten Brewster and Schwengel in the qualifier for the Youth Olympics.
Schwengel: “We peaked for this tournament. We were playing our best volleyball. (Rivera/Santiago) beat us in Cuba and we really wanted to play hard and not lose on our home beach.”
Brewster: “It was really nice to come out and beat both those teams and play like we know we can play.”
Both players are going to college and hope to continue playing beach volleyball. Unfortunately, beach volleyball is not an NCAA-sanctioned sport for men.