Volleyball players of all ages and of skill ranges made their way to the beach on Saturday, December 7th to compete in the coed “Dig it to Win it” competition hosted by Heatwave Volleyball Club. This was the 4th edition of the competition, and it seems that the doubles event is growing in popularity. “When we first started this event our aim was to share our love for doubles with community at large. For six weeks we offered doubles tutorials before the recreational Corona league on Sundays, in hopes of luring some of the fours players to try their hand at doubles.” explained Heatwave’s President, Heather Thompson. Since then the number of teams registering has increased from an average of 12 teams per competition to 20. Vice President, Nathan Dack, chalks it up to the supportive structure of the competition. He explained “The one day competition consists of three divisions: Advanced, Intermediate, and Beginner, which allows players to enter themselves in an appropriate division according to their level of experience and comfort level.”
The Beginner division consisted of 4 teams, who battled it out in a round robin to determine their ranking going into the semi finals. Husband and wife duo, Stephanie and Adrian Jackson finished at the top of their division with a flawless record. They added another victory to their record when they eliminated Yesha Manoy & Gideon Manoy from the running in the semi finals 21-18. Adam Dolan and Joshua Browne secured their spot in the finals, after beating Solange Alfaro and Mona Kazemi in the semis 21-10. The finals was a long winded match with both teams eager to take home the title of division champions. In the end, the Jacksons managed to keep their flawless record in tact, as they claimed the victory with a slim margin of 21-18.
Meanwhile in the intermediate division, the competition was getting heated as the 6 teams fought for a spot in the semi finals. There wasn’t a single team that stood out from the rest following the round robin because there were 3 teams that finished with 4-1 record. Mathew Van Beek and Charlie Mariasusia, Mahendra Gahatraj and Diane Manoy, and Elena Testori and Mauro Giannini moved onto the semis, and they were joined by youth players Andrea Tognazzo and Anjia Delapenha, who secured the last spot with their 2-3 record. Testori and Giannini wasted no time in annihilating Tognazzo and Delapenha from the running for the finals, when the beat them 21-9. The other semi final game wasn’t nearly as quick, with both teams playing point for point. Gahatraj and Manoy gained momentum late in the game which enabled them to narrowly clinch the lead 21-18. The teams in the final were neck and neck for most of the game, but Testori and Giannini took the lead 21-18.
The Advanced division had action packed games left, right, and centre because with 10 teams registered they were divided up into two pools and played across three different courts. After regular pool play the top two teams from each division were scheduled to play the other two top teams in the semi finals. In Pool 1 JoAnna Poyssick and Vince Gregotski emerged as the untouchables with a perfect record, followed by Alicia Proud-Rabess and Casey Santamaria with 3 victories and 1 loss. The teams from Pool 2 that would be joining them were: Kalle Selin and Heather Thompson with their 4-0 record, and Scott Boase and Kalyn Klaess with an even record of 2-2. Poyssick and Gregotski’s momentum from pool play carried them through the semis with ease, as they quickly put an end to Boase and Klaess winning 21-14. Meanwhile Sellin and Thompson were feeling rather confident going into the semi final match, but that quickly faded when Proud-Rabess and Santamaria came out swinging and demolished them 21-10. Having already played each other in pool play, Poyssick and Gregotski intended on exploiting Proud-Rabess and Santamaria weaknesses that they learnt about in their earlier match. Their game plan paid off, and Poyssick and Gregotski were titled the Advanced divisions champions.