The tried and tested pair of Tyce Mister and Chris Nelson ruled the men’s division of the 2016 Endless Summer Beach Volleyball Classic held over the weekend at the Hyatt Regency Saipan.
Mister and Nelson, who teamed up in local and regional tournaments in the past several years, clinched the division championship after beating Russ Quinn and Guam’s Dave Rillera in the finals last Saturday, 21-12.
The eventual champions were undefeated in the double-elimination playoffs, getting the first finals berth after downing Team Blind’s Bruce Berline, 21-9, and Dan Westphal and Quinn and Rillera, 25-23, in the winner’s bracket.
Team Blind dropped to the loser’s bracket, but remained in contention after ousting Balls & Chains’ Nick Gross and Steven Beyer, 21-17. With the victory, Team Blind earned a chance to challenge Quinn and Rillera for the last finals berth and the latter prevailed, 21-19, to get a second crack at Mister and Nelson.
In the finale, Nelson and Mister enjoyed a twice-to-beat advantage and went on to secure the division title early after taking control of Game 1 en route to the 9-point victory. The winning duo built a 6-1 advantage off good ball placements and led by as much as 9, 15-6, after Quinn and Rillera hit wide shots. The second finalists ended the slump, 7-15, when Quinn went for the kill and dropped the ball at the backline with both Mister and Nelson on the front.
Nelson and Mister then won the next exchange with the latter moving their team a point away from wrapping up the match, 20-12, after his spike also fell to the backline with Quinn and Rillera anticipating and rushing near the net for a block. Nelson served for the match point and scored when Quinn received the ball, but failed to return it as the leather fell to the sand court.
Mama Duo wins
In the women’s division, Mama Duo’s Nicole LeBlanc and Kathy Winkfield also went unbeaten in the double-elimination playoffs to claim the championship.
Mama Duo, who had a perfect record in the pool play to take the top seeding in the playoffs, marched into the finals first after prevailing over Haole-Pino, 21-16, and Brinohh, 21-18, in the winner’s bracket. In the finals, Mama Duo was paired against Last Minute’s Shawn Davis and Kriszelle Esteves and won anew, 21-16. Last Minute barged into the finals after defeating Brinohh in the loser’s bracket semis, 21-18.
Meanwhile, the Northern Mariana Islands Volleyball Association-sanctioned tournament also held a 4-person competition last Sunday and results will be reported in Saipan Tribune later this week.