Local success on the sand at Beach Nationals!


Kate Rothery

August 24, 2013, Vancouver, BC (ISN) – Here at Spanish Banks, Day 2 of the 2013 Beach Nationals has come to a close with BC and Ontario dominating the Senior Division Semi Final schedules for tomorrow!

In the Senior Women’s competition, 16 year old McNamara twins continue to make headlines as they continue on their quest to be Canada’s youngest ever National champions, or indeed finalists. In their first game they were definitely tested by Ontario’s Ng / Cockrell, losing the first set 15-21 before recovering to win sets 2 and 3, 21-10, 15-19 and secure the first round bye for playoffs. UBC’s National CIS champion Briana Liau-Chan- Kent played out of her skin with partner Rachelle Thomas to knock out first Riley / Wiskar then #1 seed Woolley/ Bukovic from Ontario, but perhaps ran out of steam in the quarters as they went down 14-21, 16-21 to the McNamaras. Cowley / Smit (ON) knocked out Ng / Cockrell to set up their Semi Final against the twins. The other side of the draw drew big crowds on the outside courts with plenty of BC favourites vying to make the last 4. It took Vlcek (ON) / Wooding (BC) 29 points to dispatch Chow / Thomas (BC) 21-10, 29-27 to set up their Semi Final with fellow Easterners Altomare / Hamer (BC). With three Ontario teams in the last 4 – can Tsawwassen based Megan and Nicole McNamara bring home local gold? Or will Denise Wooding, originally from North Vancouver but now training in Toronto, be the crowd pleaser?

BC Gold looks perhaps more likely in the Senior Men’s with one BC team guaranteed to make it to the final. After an excellent start yesterday, Vancouver Island’s Sean and Dan Casey were bitterly disappointed to lose their quarter final and find themselves out the running for Gold. 7 foot tall Ryan Gandy was an impenetrable wall at the net and with partner Dave Beleznay closed the match out 22-20, 21-15 to set up an all BC semi final against Marshall / Orman. They beat Klassen / Galloway 29-27, 21-15 to advance. Originally from Poland and now based in Vancouver, former World U21 Bronze medallist Krzysztof Orman is now perhaps BC’s biggest chance at Gold.

“I originally moved to Canada when the Head Coach at VIU Chris Densmore (now VBC’s Executive Director) saw me playing at Worlds and offered me a volleyball scholarship. I love playing here and this tournament has gone particularly well – yesterday and today were excellent builder days for finals tomorrow.” Orman commented.

“We’re feeling confident about tomorrow,” added partner and former TWU player Steven Marshall. “We already defeated Beleznay / Gandy in pool play yesterday and hope to repeat that result in the Semis.”

In the other half of the draw, Cam Wheelan (ON) and Langley born Mike Plantinga continue their textbook tournament with a straightforward win against Wiskar / Lebourdais (BC) in the quarter, 21-15, 21-14. They face Ontario’s Nusbaum (World U21 silver medallist) and his partner Will Sidgwick in their semi final tomorrow. We look set for a big BC / ON clash in the final – join the crowd down here at Spanish Banks East at 3pm to watch!

The nation’s top youth teams also continue to battle it out for 14U, 16U and 18U titles. Today saw the Power Pool stages, where teams were regrouped according to their Friday finish – with strong performances rewarded with superior seeding for tomorrow’s playoffs. After perhaps a disappointing first day, the Ontario 18U Boys teams really raised their game while BC perhaps found it hard going. Identical twins Palmer/Palmer continue to be favourites and will rank 1st, but BC hopes are strong with beach specialists Dunn /McCrea posting three wins themselves.The top pools in the 18U were extremely tight with several tied teams and some tough math for the Nationals staff! Emily Maglio and Amanda Ramsden reversed their Provincials finals loss to beat Stone/Pantovic 21-17, 21-8 – they will take the top seed going into tomorrow’s Playoffs. In the 16U Girls , Reeves and Westwood are a great bet for Manitoba Gold here at Nationals – they didn’t drop a set in Pool AA, one of the top Power Pools. BC’s Birker / Fayad, however, also posted a 3-0 second day with no sets dropped– they will hope to use the home advantage to continue their winning ways on the National level.

Finals will start tomorrow afternoon from around 1.30pm, with the Women’s Senior Gold at 2pm, followed by the Men’s at 3pm. If you can’t make it down to the beach, both will be streamed live at www.sportscanada.tv. Fans can also follow the action on Twitter – @BeachNationals.

Tournament Details

Dates: August 23-25, 2013

Location: Spanish Banks Beach, Vancouver, BC

Times: 9am – 5pm daily

Gold Medal Match: Women – Sunday August 25th, 2pm

Men – Sunday August 25th, 3pm

More details and live results updates: http://www.volleyball.ca/contenfivb.t/2013-beach-nationals