Beach volleyball team vows to give all


The CNMI National Beach Volleyball Team for the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022. From left, Kathy Winkfield, Charnessa Lizama, coach Tyce Mister, Logan Mister, and Andrew Johnson. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

The CNMI National Beach Volleyball Team of Andrew Johnson, Logan Mister, Kathy Winkfield, and Charnessa Lizama have been working their tails off to become the best versions of themselves for the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022.

“We’ve been working everyday in preparation for the Games. There’s always a chance to place, we just need to be more hungry for it than the other teams are. Our expectations are high, but it’s tough to determine the level of play the other teams will be bringing,” said Johnson, who  graduated from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo in 2019.

He said playing the Mini Games also afforded himself the chance to return home.

“It’s a blessing to be back because I get to see my family and friends again. I’m also extremely honored to be able to represent my home in such a large event that we are hosting. We will do our best to bring a beach volleyball victory to the CNMI.”

Mister said he feels nothing but excitement for the Games which will have its opening ceremony this Friday, June 17.

“I expect that Andrew and I will give it our all. We are not sure how our competition will be, but we are expecting to play at the highest level and are striving to win it. Playing at home is amazing, having the support from the crowd will definitely help us take it to the next level.”

Like Andrew, Mister said nothing really compares to being back home.

“It’s great to be home. I’m happy to see so many familiar faces and reconnect with those that I grew up with.”

For Winkfield, her doubles team with Lizama is hoping for the best in the Mini Games.

“We are mentally preparing for the Games and expecting some good competition in hopes of a medal. Do we have a chance? There is always a chance. It’s always good to have an open mind to all possible outcomes.”

She said the wildcard in the CNMI’s chances for a podium finish is the home crowd.

“Advantages of playing on home soil is that we have the support of our family, friends, and community first hand and being comfortable on our home turf.”

On strategy, Winkfield’s main focus is to read and analyze and predict where the ball would end up and get there as soon as possible. 

“More like predicting where the ball would drop and getting there as soon as possible but not as fast as possible,” she said.

Winkfield said the CNMI is blessed to host the Games.

“Good luck to everyone in the Games and if you have time, come watch volleyball and we hope to give you a fun and exciting time and show. Go CNMI.”

Lizama, who got her start playing the CNMI’s indigenous sport of Rocball, said she feels ready for the Mini Games, while admitting she is both excited and nervous. 

She added winning a medal is not far-fetched and looks forward to the support from the community and family during the Games.

National beach volleyball coach Tyce Mister likes what he sees in the foursome of Mister (his eldest son), Johnson, Winkfield, and Lizama.

Before returning to Saipan, Mister said Logan and Johnson played in many high-level tournaments like the Triple Lay Slash open tournament in Santa Cruz, California. 

Winkfield and Lizama, meanwhile, are two seasoned beach volleyball veterans who have been through a lot in the sand courts of Saipan, according to the former Marianas High School teacher.

Mister will be assisted in the team by assistant coach Chris Nelson. Both won beach volleyball gold in the 2006 Micronesian Games on Saipan. (Angel Li)

Contributing Author
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