Tag: league

Moveo takes the crown

It was only a few days of beach volleyball over what seemed like a very quick month of January, but the drama built up perfectly for a thrilling conclusion only 2 weeks ago. There was certainly more drama than the Championship Sunday (NFL) that followed. Apologies for the delay in publishing this write-up, but I’ve made sure to make it extra thorough.

The regular season came down to the final day of matches, but ultimately Dunbar Cycles and Active ReLeaf couldn’t do enough to make it through to the money rounds. Volleyball BC snuck into the 4th seed, needing to win their last 3 Matchups in a row to steal the last playoff spot, and earn a semi finals date with top seeded Volleyball Stuff. The latter pulled ahead of Moveo in their final regular season meeting. It was Moveo’s only loss of the season, but it was enough to drop them into the 2nd seed, where they lined up against 3 seed, Natura Solutions.

All in all, the regular season oved smoothly. Teams were feeling each other out at the beginning, and each day seemed to be played with a little more fire than the last. Players started getting into it a little more. Strategies developed for the new Overtime format. A few more fans started to come out to watch each time. Teams were building chemistry, and working together with their gender counterparts in ways that haven’t happened before. But none of it compared to Playoff Sunday.

The best was truly saved for last. Starting with #1 Volleyball Stuff vs #4 Volleyball BC. Right from the start, you new this matchup was going to be a nail biter. On the women’s side, we saw the top 2 drafted players (Kumiko Chow and Denise Wooding) pitted against one another. Kumi alongside super athletic Katie Wuttunee for Vballstuff, and Denise paired with the hard hitting Meghan Brown for VBC. The last time the 2 men’s pairs had played in week 1, VBStuff had pulled a crazy 3rd set comeback to win, but this was before the addition of Krzyzstof Orman to VBC.

The matches didn’t disappoint, both first sets going into extra points and VBC going up 1-0 on both courts. VBStuff was not going to lay down, however, winning set 2 on both courts and set both matches to the deciding 3rd set. Volleyball Stuff drew first blood, winning the women’s match 15-13 on a dig and transition kill from Kumiko Chow. Jonny Wiskar would answer shortly thereafter with an ace to seal the men’s match 17-15 for Volleyball BC, and send both teams into Overtime. The alternating points seemed to suit Vball Stuff early on, and they were able pull away point by point until the eventual 15-10 Victory, to book their spot in the NBVL Inaugural Season Finals. VBC fought hard to earn their playoff berth, but couldn’t keep their run alive, finishing 3rd and walking away with $500 to split.

The next semi was similar, and yet very different. The way #2 Moveo vs #3 Natura Solutions started it seemed like things could be over quickly. Jared Krause and Murf Laidlaw got off to a very fast start for Natura, dominating the first set over the Moveo men, winning 21-12. On the other court, it was Moveo that got off to the early lead, starting up 8-1 and later 12-6, but Joanna Braun and Jaz Kim hung tight and rallied back, evening the score at 13-13 and eventually pulling through in the first set with a 21-19 finish to give Natura the edge in both matches.

Moveo refused to give up on either court, however, and similar to the first semi final, both matches were pushed to the 3rd set. Natura Solutions would prevail in the men’s match, and a Jana Weir block would ice the women’s match for Moveo, giving the fans what they wanted, a 2nd semi final overtime. Neither team wanted to back down, but Moveo’s balanced men’s and women’s pairings edged them ahead of their opponents, ending Natura Solutions season in 3rd place.

So the finals stage was set. #1 vs #2. Volleyball Stuff vs Moveo. Kumiko Chow and Katie Wuttunee vs Jana Weir and Aly McKay. John Galloway and Joel Caschetto vs Ryan Gandy and Alexander Harvalias. The best 2 teams from the regular season proving that their rankings were deserved. After a brief rest, they were ready to face off in front of a full 6 pack crowd.

On the women’s court, Kumi and Katie struck early and often. They had an answer for everything that Jana and Aly could throw at them. It was the first straight sets match victory of the night 21-14, 21-16, and in doing so Volleyball Stuff confirmed the strength of their women’s pair, as the only duo to remain unbeaten in regulation play all season. But it takes more than one pair win the NBVL crown, and so all eyes turned to the men’s court, where Gandy and Harv needed to find some magic to keep their team alive. Magic which they were able to find, gutting two straight 2 point wins 21-19, 21-19, and sending the NBVL Inaugural Season Finals, fittingly, into Overtime.

Up until the finals, Moveo was unbeaten in Overtime play, winning their previous 4 such matchups. Volleyball Stuff had a 2-1 Overtime record, but in the previous matchup between the 2 teams, no extra play was needed as VB Stuff had won in 2 straight matches. In the early goings it seemed like the Moveo magic would continue, going ahead 10-7, and then 11-9, but just like that the tides changed as VBStuff rattled off 4 straight points, giving them a 13-11 lead out of nowhere, and really demonstrating how impactful each earned point can be in the NBVL’s Overtime format. It seemed like the momentum had shifted enough for Stuff to taste victory, but Moveo was undeterred. They managed to seal the championship with a never bigger 4 point swing of their own, and the 15-13 OT win. Volleyball Stuff had come so close, but would walk away in 2nd place, splitting $1000.

It was a victory for Moveo, and for the NBVL in it’s inaugural season. The finals proved that it takes teams competing together to win a championship. Moveo could boast neither the strongest male, nor female team, as individually, both teams finished the season with records only slightly above .500 in regulation play, but working together they were unstoppable, with a perfect 5-0 in overtime performances. Chalk it up to the veteran savvy of Ryan Gandy and Jana Weir, or the youthful energy and exciting play of Harv and McKay, or possibly the foresight of Moveo’s all female management team of Lisa Tam, Sarah Jung, and Felicia Culham who saw the potential and drafted the NBVL’s first ever championship team. Whatever the keys to success, here’s to hoping it sparks future conversations about beach volleyball, and future exciting seasons for the NBVL.

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Draft Order Selection

Ben selects the draft order by random draw during the NBVL Inaugural Season’s Owner’s Call(why the phone is glued to his ear.)

In case there is confusion about why Active ReLeaf and Dunbar Cycles are drawn separately from the rest, it’s because Team Owner’s Krystian Wetulani and Rob Venables are also registered players for the Inaugural Season. As Player Owner’s, they are required to select themselves in exchange missing their first round pick. This is why they have been relegated to the last 2 picks of the first round. This was explained earlier in the Owner’s call.

Next video will be the live stream of the NBVL Inaugural Season Draft

Draft preview

Just a week left until the NBVL Inaugural Season Draft. Update on registration: Both the men and women have hit the minimum number of required players (though there are an unlimited number of spots available, and until Dec. 7th to register). Still looking for that last Owner to step up to become a part of NBVL History, but it’s shaping up to be a fun Combine, and an entertaining Draft.

I’ve mentioned this in our intro videos, and in the League vs. Tour article that was posted about a month ago, but since I was a child, I’ve always loved pro sport’s leagues, and wished I could be a part of them. I’m not alone in this, countless households tune in to various pro sport activities on a daily basis. So many children and adults alike are captivated by their favorite players and teams as they take action in all the various National “Insert sport” Leagues/Associations. I would always track how Steve Nash’s assist total would grow over the course of a season for the Mavericks and Suns (we won’t talk about the Lakers). I’d try to guess whether Peyton Manning for the Colts or Tom Brady with the Patriots would break the next QB record. I’d get excited knowing that Jerome Iginla was about to heat up for the Flames now that November had rolled around. When Lisa Leslie dunked in a game for the first time, it changed what people thought was possible, and gave the WNBA it’s due in the male dominated world of pro sports leagues.

Professional sports league’s bring with them a countless number of narratives, that revolve not only around the Teams, but also the players themselves. An athlete can become a hero over the course of a season. Their play can define the stories that will be shared about them from one game to the next. It’s the strength of the team as a whole that wins games/seasons/championships, but it’s the individual efforts that can win lifelong supporters.

As we move into the Inaugural Season Draft, I want to recognize those players that are taking the leap to register. The NBVL is providing a platform for beach volleyball to grow in Canada, but these players in Vancouver will get the chance to write the first chapter of the narrative. Here’s the story as I see it heading into Draft night.

The key thing to pay attention to during draft night, is the comparative value of men versus that of the women. There is still a week left to register, so we don’t yet have the whole picture when it comes to numbers, but as it stands, the count is at 12 Women, and 18 Men (Sadly the women’s number dropped after an unfortunate injury to Jayme Lepp, we wish her a speedy recovery). This means that comparatively, each woman’s value amongst their own gender, in theory, should be more valuable than their equally ranked male counterpart by a ratio of about 3 to 2 (I’m not entirely certain if that’s how the odds should work in this case, please feel free to correct me) What I’m getting at is that the top women are more valuable than the top men, because from a simple numbers standpoint there should be more top men to choose from than top women, meaning that each top female player should provide more of an impact on a per game basis compared to the field of players. To summarize further, Ladies rule, Fellas Drool.

Theoretically (again) it is possible for every player to be of equal skill, and for every team to be exactly equal in all ways, and we haven’t seen how the Inaugural Season will play out, so for all we know that may end up being the case. Someone still needs to get picked first, however, so every player will inevitably be ranked. I won’t personally be the one to put out a player ranking, if that’s what you’re here for. I could, but there are still likely to be some last minute entries that could turn any pre-draft predictions on their head. Plus, I want the team Owners to come to their own decisions and not draft based on what I’ve written down for them (no cheat sheets here). Instead, I will give a few interesting preseason facts about some of the players that are blazing the trail for the NBVL.

-At 21 years old, Justin Faester is currently the youngest player registered, and will hopefully be a mainstay in the league for years to come. At 44, Ryan Gandy is the “most wise”. Tamiko Young is neither, but remains forever Young
-The average age of all players is 32.3 years. The women are far more youthful, averaging 32.2 compared to the elderly men averaging 32.4
-Only one of the players has won the Vancouver Open, Denise Wooding earlier this year. Joanna Braun has come the next closest with a 2nd place finish in 2015
-The most common name is John/Jonny shared by John Galloway, Jonny Wiskar, and Jonny Wong
-The first player to register, on Saturday, October 27th, was Kumiko Chow, making her THE trailblazer amongst trailblazers. Chloe Stone is our most recent addition, over a month later on November 29th.
Krystian Wetulani is the only player guaranteed to be drafted as the only Player/Owner so far. This will negate Active ReLeaf‘s first round pick, however, and makes Krystian ineligible to be chosen as the coveted first ever #1 pick in NBVL History

This Wednesday, December 5th, all team Owner’s will be locked and the Draft order will be selected by random draw. All the  players will have the opportunity to show themselves off at the NBVL Combine, then twenty four athletes will be selected at the NBVL Draft on December 8th, at 6Pack Indoor Beach. Choices will be made, players will be chosen, and the very first stars of the NBVL will be born. I hope you all enjoy the show.