New Mexico Beach Volleyball Videos

Aspen Battle, 2007 Part I Part II

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mid Season Thoughts

Well, I suppose it is time to check in and reflect as we're at about the half way point for this season. It started way back in March, practicing on cool windy days in the sands of Santa Fe and Albuquerque, leading to our first tournaments in Southern California at the end of the month. Coming into the season, we were both highly motivated, thanks to a few last minute slips at the end of last season including losing a 14-11 game three lead late in the Aspen tournament and giving up a similar lead in a Phoenix final. We both worked hard in the off season, in the gym, the sand and on our mental game. Some of my personal goals coming into this season included being able to side out a very high percentage of the time and being able to compete as a team at a very high level. I feel as though both goals have been met, and I am very pleased about that. Travelling to California early helped set a strong pace. We did well in the first tournament, before running out of steam from a lack of playing on the sand at that point. The second tournament didn't go as well, as we were pretty tired (turns out one of the teams in our pool, Mayer and Keenan, finished 3rd recently at an AVP event). That helped us to focus and push harder, meeting up weekly to practice together and focusing our skills. As the season has been progressing, we've done very well locally. The Sneakerz events have been having good turnouts, with new and changing combinations of competitive teams. Matt Valencia has been playing particuilarly well, making the finals in all three events, two with Thomas and one with Rob. Chris' short retirement has been good as he has finished well with a few different partners. Thierry and Colin have played a couple events and done well. Jeff and Desi have put in a number of strong matches. After finishing 1 & 2 at the King of the beach, we've gone on to win all the Sneakerz events and have not dropped a match as a team. More importantly, we haven't allowed teams to go run points on us and have been very steady. Our conditioning has been paid off, as we have been getting stronger at the end of events rather than becoming tired. We spent Memorial Day weekend back in California, playing a big CBVA event. After a shakey start, we pulled it together and defeated numerous teams before dropping a well played close match at sunset, finishing 13th of 43. This has given us the confidence that we can indeed compete at a high level. As Loric has been spending a better part of the last month in Phoenix, I picked up a partner for the big King of the Mountain tournament in Vail. We worked through to another strong finish, 4th out of 29. Loric's been keeping up with playing some good ball in Phoenix. Best part has been the most fun I've had playing in a very long time!
So, here we are, halfway through. The first half has been very good, most importantly, lots of fun. We've gotten support from some sponsors and supporters (see left column) and have gottent to do some great travelling. Looking forward, I think the goals will be a little loftier. I will be working one day a week in Albuquerque, so Loric an I will have lots more quality practice time together. We'll sit down and figure out a travel schedule. Aside from local events, we'll be at the Motherlode in Aspen, possible the EVP event in Tempe and more. Of course the blog will keep going, for better or worse. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sneakerz #3 Results

We had another good showing this past weekend. Ten teams showed up to make the third event of the series a success. While the weather fluctuated during the day, the tournament ran with some parity as various teams celebrated victory over each other at different times. We had the first double final of the season, closing the tournament at sunset. I've got to thank Matt G. for playing great down the stretch and helping to lead our team to the win. Matt V. and Thomas also had another fine showing, winning the winner bracket and making their second finals appearence in their second final. As always, here are some of Paul's great pics. Next event is July 15th. Here's the results as I recall them:
1) Matt Gordon/ Adam Rubel
2) Matt Valencia/ Thomas Parks
3) Chris Hammock/ Brian Post
4) Desi Vigil/ Jeff Poole

My little shredded toe was killing me after the event as my sandsock tore a good hole that ducktape wouldn't keep sealed, so I'm gonna take some time off from the sand for now. I'll be posting up my mid-season thoughts soon. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Good showing at Vail King of the Mountain

This past weekend was the big King of the Mountain event in Vail. I played with Matt A. , whom I met up in Vail on Friday, where we spent a little time on the court getting to know each others preferences. The men's open had a good sized field, with a draw of 29 teams, mostly Colorado locals but included a couple of national team players and others.
Our day started early Saturday where we were surprised with the news that our first couple of matches would be played in another town, 15 miles away. Even worse, we had to play my friends from Santa Fe, Thomas and Matt. Well, we packed it up and drove over to the remote courts. With a lake on one side and railroad tracks on the other, not the best setup for two courts. What's worse was the condition of the courts, real rocky and whatnot. Hopefully the TD's will go out to the court in advance next year and make sure they are in a good, safe condition for the players. We beat Thomas and Matt in a shakey first game. Our second game was against the 8 seed (we were 9 seed) of Eric and Ryan. They were solid. We were in our third game tied at 9 when I dropped to dig a ball and in cutting back wound up slicing off a good portion of the bottom of my big toe. A little tape job and I was back on the court, but we were out of it and they finished the match running 5 of the next 7 points. We got the unfortunate news that somebody in Vail had a heart attack while playing on one of the grass courts. Found out later he was doing well and was flown to a hospital in Denver.
Back to Vail and we played a couple more games in the double elim tournament, beating Ryan and Chad and another team. Thomas and Matt pulled it together and won a couple matches before going down at the end of the day. We came back on Sunday and played Wes and Lucas, a very solid team. We managed to pull a win there, and then proceded to beat the next team we played. We got to Jason and Paige, a very strong team from Denver. Jason actually hooked me up with my partner from the tourney. Fortunately, the more we played the better we got and we were able to take them down. This put us into the semifinals of the loosers bracket where we had to face the team that beat us the previous day, Ryan and Eric. They played very well dueing the game to 25 and we began to run out of steam. Thus ended our run through the loosers bracket, but not before walking away with a 4th place finish. It was my personal best at the event, so I'm not complaining. The big payout for the event: we got an old t-shirt. Oh well...

Sneakerz #3

Time again for another battle in the Abq. oven. Looks like Loric and I will be sitting this one out. Loric is in Phoenix until next month and I'm nursing a flesh wound from Vail. Here's the list of entries so far:
1. Chris Hammock/ Brian Post
2. Thierry Thelliez/ Rob Pierce
3. Jeff Poole/ Desi Vigil
4. Matt Valencia/ Thomas Parks
5. Paul Sanchez/ Brett
6. Matt/ Ben
7. Tavake/ Kameron
8. Doug/ ?
9. Ricardo Sanchez/ Vanessa
10. Matt Gordon/ Adam Rubel (OK, I'm a volleyjunkie and have grown barely enough flesh on my toe to play)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Next Stop: King of the Mountain

So, the next tourney stop is the King of the Mountain event in Vail, CO. Unfortunately, Loric has had to go to Phoenix with his family for about a month to go through a teacher training program along with his wife so he won't be able to make the event. I am fortunate in that I was able to partner with a player from Denver, Matt A. Of course there are always challenges with a new partnership, but Matt sounds like a very solid player and I'm sure we'll get to gel quickly on the court. I'm gonna give a shot playing left side, where I started my playing days and played several tournaments over the last couple of years. The tournament is always a good time with a 28 team men's draw in a great setting. Looks like the men's open has closed out. They also run women's open in the sand along with numerous grass divisions. Last year, Loric and I did well in our first tournament together out of state. I'm hoping for a strong showing again this year, and definately a good time!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Sneakerz #2 Results

Well, it was a long, hot day, but everybody survived, more or less. We've been hit with a heat wave and Saturday saw no wind or clounds and recorded temps in the mid 90's, no doubt higher in the sand. It was a great tournament, however, with a solid ten team turnout. We wore shorts from our sponsor,, and handed out some suncreen donated by one of our supporters, Badger. A revised format proved to be more to everyone's liking. A short pool play round that finished before noon gave way to a full double elim tournament. A number of teams played well and had strong showings. Matt V. looks to be unstoppable in second place, I think he has finished there in every tournament he played in the past year. He and Thomas played well during the day, taking us to 3 games in the winner bracket final, the first game Loric and I dropped in NM all year. They battled through the looser final and we met them again in the final final. I felt a bit better after probably being dehydrated and a little bloodletting via my nose. Next event is June 24th. Here are the results, as I remember them:
1) Loric Box/ Adam Rubel
2) Thomas Parks/ Matt Valencia
3) Rob Pierce/ Chris Hammock
4) Thierry Thelliez/ Colin Vito
5) Jeff Poole/ Desi Vigil
Thanks again to Paul Sanchez for the great pictures of the event!