Northern Mariana Islands Volleyball Association passed its “test run” for the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022 with flying colors after successfully holding the 25th Marianas Cup: Battle of the Beach last weekend at the Crowne Plaza Resort sand courts.
NMIVA president Somia Quan said they have always organized the Marianas Cup in the past but in a grander scale with several teams from off-island and at one time attracted professional volleyball players like Phil Dalhausser, Paul Baxter, and Jeff Carlucci.
“We took the opportunity to host the Marianas Cup beach volleyball event, although much, much smaller than it traditionally is. This gave us a chance to do a test run of a multi-day tournament for the Pacific Mini Games. We had multiple men’s and women’s teams from Guam and one women’s team from Yap. Palau was invited but last minute could not make it. This dry run was encouraged by the Pacific Mini Games team and they were instrumental in getting all four SENOH beach volleyball court systems up and ready by the beginning of our tournament.”
Aside from using the Battle of the Beach as a dress rehearsal for the Mini Games this coming June, Quan said the two-day Marianas Cup also served as the start of CNMI-Guam yearly tournament between the islands’ respective sports teams that the Northern Marianas Sports Association has recently championed.
“NMSA president Jerry Tan has encouraged all sports to develop an annual competition between the CNMI and Guam to give our athletes something to train for besides the quadrennial events and we accomplished that this weekend.”
As far as results went, Guam swept the men’s and women’s divisions with the CNMI’s southern neighbor even making the semifinals an all-Guam affair.
In the men’s side, Beach Bums of Ryan Eugenio and Anthony Santos defeated Guam Coaches of Dave Rillera and Manny Guarin in the finals, 21-17. The women’s championship, meanwhile, saw K Squared of Kendra Byrd and Kristen Serrano get the better of Beach Bums of Kara Eugenio and Jeneal Besabe in a tight one, 22-20.
The CNMI’s Salty Digs of Tyce Mister and Chris Nelson and Sideout Saipan of Kathy Winkfield and Charnessa Lizama came in third in the men’s and women’s divisions, respectively.
“Although we didn’t get the results that we wanted competition wise, we learned quite a bit in competition planning, organization and logistics and that in itself was the main goal of hosting the Marianas Cup again. The data we’ve gathered is an important tool we’ll use to fine tune everything before the Mini Games. I am grateful to the NMPMG2022 team for giving us this opportunity to host a great tournament and learn from it to ensure that the beach volleyball event at the NMPMG 2022 is an even better and bigger success,” said Quan.
A total of 22 teams—evenly split among the men and women—took part in the 25th Marianas Cup: Battle of the Beach.