ORLANDO, Florida (May 30, 2016) – Twice a groomsmen, but never a groom, OCVC Chacarron (Southern California) was ready to taste victory at the USA Volleyball Open National Championships.
OCVC earned its moment in the spotlight on Monday, topping Florida Wave (Florida) 25-13, 19-25, 17-25, 25-20, 15-7 in the Men’s AAA Championship.
“This team has earned six medals in 11 years, so this feels fantastic,” OCVC libero Todd Campen said. “It really came down to (coach) Miguel Monterola keeping us focused.”
Each team started hot, finishing short rallies with emphatic swings. As the match wore on, both Florida Wave and OCVC struggled to limit errors. Opposite blocker Davis Cannon sparked the OCVC offense in the fourth and fifth sets with powerful attacks from both the front and back row, complemented by middle blockers Kyle Radecki and Kevin Vaz.
“Honestly, Davis made so many plays late in the match it was crazy,” Radecki said. “We weren’t keeping stats, but I bet if we were he probably had 30 kills.”
Including pool play and the semifinals, the two teams faced each other four times in the tournament; OCVC was victorious each match.
OCVC won the semifinal 25-19, 25-21, 18-25, 25-17, after defeating PursuitVolleys (Canada) 25-21, 25-15, 25-23 in the quarterfinals, accumulating a 7-0 record.
Florida Wave defeated Arizona Heat (Arizona) 25-21, 25-15, 25-23 to advance out of the quarterfinals, finishing 4-4.
Although it was completed in two sets, the Women’s A provided as much excitement as Cameltosies (Old Dominion) – or “The Toes,” – battled Foxy Ladies (Gateway).
The Toes faced a 21-17 deficit but rallied to win the first set 25-21, sparked by Lindsay Callahan’s serve and aggressive attacks by Erin Weniger,
“It was insane. I vaguely remember this point when Erin just decided she didn’t want people to dig her balls anymore and she was just putting everyone down,” Toes libero AJ Cushman said.
In the second set, the Toes found themselves on the winning side of a controversial side-out call when a line judge ruled a ball dead, despite a valiant effort by the Foxy Ladies’ libero to dig the ball.
“The whole match had so many momentum shifts, so we knew that wasn’t necessarily going to knock them out,” Cushman said. “This team was amazing how we just kept fighting and grinding. It’s not like any other team I’ve ever played on.”
The Toes also defeated the Foxy Ladies in the semifinals 25-22, 19-25, 15-11, and Seattle Mayhem (Puget Sound) 25-16, 25-21 in the quarterfinals. The Toes finished the tournament 12-0.
Before falling to the Cameltosies in the semifinals, Foxy Ladies defeated eventual bronze medalist Fun Size (Southern California) 25-21, 25-12 in the quarterfinals, finishing the tournament 11-2.
In its 87th year, the U.S. Open National Championships is being played in Florida for the first time. Co-hosted with the Florida Region, the event features 578 teams with 75 foreign teams playing on 55 courts. Pool play began Friday; the tournament concludes Wednesday afternoon. Six courts are being livestreamed throughout the tournaments.
Gold Medal: Wasabi (Southern)
Silver Medal: Blue Balers (North Texas)
Bronze Medal: Florida Wave AAA (Florida)
Gold Medal: The Original Bombpops (Great Lakes)
Silver Medal: NFVB Buffalo Beasts (Western Empire)
Bronze Medal: AdvoSpike (Arizona)
Gold Medal: Luau Chicago (Great Lakes)
Silver Medal: Legion (Southern California)
Bronze Medal: Mama’s Sauce (Old Dominion)