A Tale of Two Combines

One month to go until the NBVL Regular Season starts up in Both Calgary and Vancouver.

There’s been some time to digest since the NBVL held it’s combines and drafts in Vancouver and Calgary. Ample time to come up with a proper recap, and consider the repercussions on the coming season. Over the next few weeks, you can expect to see a small recap for each team and how they drafted. Today we’ll focus mainly on the Combine.

First was Vancouver. With a season already under its belt, the benchmark has been set for what to expect from players, owners and teams. The community is already aware of the high caliber of play that is to come in the 2020 season. The women’s side seemed especially eager to get things going, as 20 out of 22 draft eligible female players showed up to the Combine presented by MVMT Lab. Even defending champion, Aly McKay, joined in, despite having bypassed the draft as the kept player on Moveo. Sadly, only 6 of 18 turned out for the men’s side, which just meant that those present were given an extra large opportunity to stand out to team Owners. The two highest climbers from last season’s combine were Aleksandar Borisov and Danielle Curtis, drafted 8th and 16th respectively. After both missing the cut in the Inaugural Season, they will both get the opportunity to be major contributors this year. Felipe Humana-Paredes was the first overall pick by navaslab.com

In Calgary, attendance wasn’t an issue for either gender. 16 of 20 registered women and 19 of 24 register men showed up to their Combine on Sunday night to push themselves forward in the draft rankings. Excitement was high across the board, with this being a first of it’s kind pro beach league in Calgary. Calgarians have been craving an elite level beach community and they’ve taken notice that the NBVL has the potential to help them build one. Even Player/Owners wanted to get in on the action as all three of them took to the sand: Camille Saxton (Dome Defenders), Amanda Moppett-Beatch (PlayBeach), and Mike Funk (PlayBeach). It was Colton De Man who drew the most attention, however, as he went first overall to CBVA in the NBVL Calgary Draft, and also topped the Vertec with a spike touch of 10′ 10″. Coincidence? Unlikely.

Calgary combine photos taken by LeAnne Snyder – Instagram: @_joylanephotography

So which city has the best athletes? Who has the lead after the first bit of sweat has been shed on both fronts?

Let’s get the NBVL’s Vancouver-Calgary rivalry started and compare.

Scott Lahey runs agility. Combine testing was organized by his company – Playfit

First, the obvious, by sheer volume of participants and overall excitement Calgary currently holds the edge. While both cities registered 44 athletes of either gender (including kept players in Van), 35 got dirty in Calgary compared to 28 in Vancouver.

Looking at the numbers, it’s difficult to compare the agility or med ball tosses between leagues, since the standards differed slightly between the two, but the jumps can be directly linked. So we’ll rank the top 5 per gender (Van in Red, Cgy in Blue):

Ann Richards and Aleks Borisov in Vancouver were equalled by Calgarian counterparts Camille Saxton and Colton De Man atop the spike touch, but the former both stood alone with the highest blocks. Judging the two leagues by these jumping leaders, Vancouver looks to have the vertical edge going into the season.

At the end of the day, it will all come down to how they play, and how many people will take notice. The schedules for both leagues will be released tomorrow Dec 6th, so that you can start tracking your favorite teams. Tickets will be sold online and at the door by cash, come out Jan 5th to The Beach YYC in Calgary and 6Pack Beach in Vancouver to support your favorite team, or just beach volleyball in general, as the NBVL returns for its 2020 season.

Take a look below for the full numbers (with gold, silver, and bronze results in each category) from the NBVL Vancouver Combine presented by MVMT Lab and the NBVL Calgary Combine, which can all be found at https://nbvl.ca/2020-combine-results/

NBVL Calgary – Draft Preview

The Vancouver draft has come and gone, teams have been decided, and we’ll get to them in due time. But now it’s time for the co-Main event! It’s time for the NBVL Calgary to get it’s share of the limelight.

The Calgary beach scene may not be as well recognized as where we just came from, but they more than make up for it in enthusiasm. The Owners, Athletes, and of course the Beach YYC have been extremely receptive to the NBVL, and having shown a willingness to go the extra mile to see the beach volleyball community rise to new heights in Calgary and beyond.

The teams will be well represented, and we’ll go into detail on each of them over the next few weeks. For now we’ll introduce them as we announce tonight’s Draft order that was decided earlier in the week via coaches call. So without further ado, your teams making their debut for the NBVL Calgary Season:

1st pick – CBVA
Team Owner – Rebecca Morisson
GM – Dan Padva

2nd pick – ACE
Team Owner – David Wildman
Coach – Joanna Korzeniewski

3rd pick – Dome Defenders
Player/Owner – Camille Saxton
Coach – Don Saxton

4th pick – PlayBeach
Owner – Hailey Funk
Player/Owner – Amanda Moppett-Beatch

Tonight will be a be the start of a new experience for most, if not all of the teams and players at the NBVL Calgary’s Combine and the Draft. So it will be difficult to say where the cards will fall, but let’s have a little fun and take a stab at it, shall we?

Due to long winters and a strong indoor volleyball scene, Calgary’s players will be predominantly athletes coming from the hardcourt, but there is by no means a lack of beach talent. At the top end, there are more players with international beach playing experience here than in the NBVL Vancouver, but two of the strongest women’s players are taking an Ownership role and can’t be drafted. This could affect the draft in a couple of different ways. Either there will be a rush for the top end men to be chosen early on to counter balance the rosters, or else the remaining Owners will be desperate to get the remaining top end women to stay competitive on the women’s front.

Since I am only doing 1 mock draft, here’s which scenario I predict will play out for the first round of the 2020 NBVL Calgary Draft:

  1. CBVA selects Scott Lahey – Knowing that the women’s opponents will be guaranteed tough competition, taking Lahey depth of experience and talent would be a step towards trying to assemble a dominant male half of their team for the 2020 season
  2. ACE selects Jarron Mueller – Following CBVA’s lead, ACE won’t want to get lost on the weaker end in both the male and female side of things. Jarron has the skill and physicality to compete against anyone, and would make a good building block for any team.
  3. Dome Defenders select Luis Castillo – Camille Saxton had a strong case to be the top pick overall, were she not a player/owner, so I think the Defenders will look to complement her with a solid player with NORCECA experience in Castillo. Someone who already has a history with Volleydome training groups.
  4. PlayBeach selects Colton De Man – Not wanting to get left behind, PlayBeach will close out the all male 1st round, with another top male prospect. Since PlayBeach has the unique case of missing their 2nd and 3rd picks due to Moppett-Beatch and Mike Funk’s involvement in PlayBeach, their next pick won’t be until #13, so they can’t afford to miss out if the men are being snapped up early on.

I’m a little less familiar with the players in Calgary, so for all I know this could be way off, again it’s only a prediction. Regardless, I’m very excited to return to the city where I learned how to play the game, and to bring a new way of playing it with me.

Athletes start arriving for the Combine tonight at 5:00 PM MST

Then the Draft, including a live stream on Volleyball Source youtube channel starts at 8:PM MST

Draft Preview – NBVL Vancouver

The new season is getting nearer. The last time the NBVL was represented at 6Pack Indoor Beach, Ryan Gandy, the eldest and tallest competitor from the Inaugural Season, was hoisting the Championship Trophy over the heads of his Moveo teammates Jana Weir, Aly McKay and Alex Harvalias, after a thrilling Overtime Finals victory. That was 10 months ago. Now we get to do it all over again, with a few tweaks. Starting with the Combine presented by MVMT Lab, and culminating in the NBVL Vancouver 2020 Draft.

We all know about the addition of the new Calgary chapter of the NBVL, but I won’t go into that today. They’ll get a full draft preview of their own before their selections are made, tomorrow night. Another new factor is the addition of a 3rd player per gender, meaning 12 more athletes will be a part of the 2020 season than were in the Inaugural Season. But the change that most affects tonight’s draft, however, is the keepers. Returning teams from last season were allowed to hold on to one player from their previous roster, making those athletes the foundation around which the new teams will be built, and therefore the key to their team’s draft strategies

Here are the teams and athletes who will be flying the same flag for the 2020 season:

  1. AlyMoveo – Aly McKay
  2. Kumi Volleyball Stuff – Kumiko Chow
  3. krause Natura Solutions – Jared Krause
  4. DSC_0085Dunbar Cycles – Stephen Nash, Rob Venables (player/owner)

Rounding out the Draft, and picking First and Second overall (since they don’t get the advantage of a kept player) will be navaslab.com and Pacific Coast.

I’ll go into detail on all the teams over the next few weeks, but for now we’re in draft mode, so let’s talk about which names will have all eyes on them tonight at the Combine.

A total of 45 athletes (24 Women, 21 Men) are eligible to play this season, and 18 per gender will be chosen. Last year saw the women dominate the early rounds of the draft, due to the parity on the men’s side, making the highly sought after women’s players extra valuable. Thanks to the kept players and a better understanding of how the league runs after it’s successful Inaugural Season, I predict it will be a lot more balanced this season. With the addition of a couple players with World Tour experience on the men’s side, Grant O’Gorman and Felipe Humana-Paredes, it likely won’t be an all female first round this year.

There are many names for teams to choose from, and there’s no telling how things will go for real until we start the Draft live on Volleyball Source tonight at 9PM PST. Nevertheless, I’ll take a crack at predicting the minds of the NBVL Vancouver Owners. Without further ado, here is the Commissioner’s mock draft predictions for the First Round of this year’s NBVL Vancouver Draft:

  1. navaslab.com selects Grant O’Gorman – The most accomplished player in the field, with a few FIVB medals under his belt. Grant’s experience would make a great building block for any team to work with.GrantOGormanandBenSaxtonofCanada
  2.  Pacific Coast selects Denise Wooding – A first team All-Star from the Inaugural Season. Denise likely would have been kept, if her team had remained in the league. A great all around player, that can play and win with anyone.denise
  3. Dunbar Cycles selects Katie Wuttunee (Ball) – With 2 men already on their roster, Dunbar will certainly be looking for a female in this round, and who better than last season’s Top Scorer.DSC_0347
  4.  Natura Solutions selects Kaitlynn Given – A newcomer to the NBVL, but a strong performer on the BC beach circuit, Given was 2nd overall in points from the BC Beach Tour this summer. With Jared Krause on the team, this would give a solid base to both men’s and women’s pairs.
  5. Volleyball Stuff selects Jonny Wiskar – With MVP Kumi already heading the squad, this would make Volleyball Stuff the only team with two 1st team All-stars from the Inaugural Season. If the NBA has taught us anything, it’s that star power wins championships. Jonny
  6. Moveo selects Bailey Soolsma – If Bailey is still on the board, Aly will be pushing to keep united with her summertime partner. The VBC Provincial Silver medallists would go into the season with chemistry, which could take time to build on other teams.

No matter the order of things tonight, good luck to all the athlete’s! I hope everyone is as excited as I am to kick things for the NBVL Vancouver’s 2020 Season

Combine presented by MVMT Lab – Registration Opens as 5:30PM PST