With the Olympic beach volleyball tournament going simultaneously over in London, kings of the court were also crowned Sunday (July 29) in Whistler with a repeat winner in the two-on-two division of the third annual WOVA Open.
Whistler’s Peter Krak, who won the event with a different partner last year, teamed up with Squamish resident Nick Searancke to capture the title this year at Rainbow Park.
Krak and Searancke went undefeated over their eight matches throughout the day Sunday and knocked off the team of Joey Facciolo and Skai Dalziel in a straight-sets final (21-11, 21-17).
Searancke said it was he and Krak’s ability to deal with weather conditions while limiting their number of matches that allowed them to cruise to the victory.
“I thought we performed really well based on the conditions,” said Searancke. “It was really windy and there was lots of ball control needed. It was nice and hot and stuff but the windy conditions made it challenging for everyone on the day.”
Since Krak and Searancke didn’t drop a contest throughout the tournament, that gave them some time to rest during the double-knockout playoff round. The duo played just eight matches compared to the 12 played by Facciolo and Dalziel, who reached the final after a hard-fought, three-set victory in the semifinal, winning the final set 15-11.
Searancke said they realized Facciolo and Dalziel were a strong pair when the teams played a close preliminary round match-up, with the eventual champs winning 26-24.
“We kind of knew they were our main opposition,” he said. “We brought our A-game in (the final) but it was a good challenge, though.”
Searancke, a regular in WOVA league play, said he and Krak haven’t played together much this season, but have teamed up in the past and recaptured some old chemistry on the court.
“Peter’s a good partner and a great guy to play with,” he said.
Team Oreo Double Stack was the winner of the four-on-four division, comprised of team members Sepe Dizon, Stephen Chow, Chris Norton and Emile Sanchez.
Tournament director Scott Rogers said turnout for the event was about on par with last year’s draw, while more than $1,200 was raised for Whistler Community Services Society’s Summer Camp Fund Program. That money will allow at least four youth from financially-restricted families to go to camp this summer.
Meanwhile, the WOVA regular season is winding down, with just a couple of weeks left until single-elimination playoffs begin. Rogers said he is expecting there to be tight battles down the stretch as teams jockey for position in the standings, looking to be among the top eight teams advancing to the playdowns.
“Looking at the Monday night league, one team is ahead of everybody by a couple of points, but then there are three teams tied for second place, three teams tied for fifth and two teams tied for eighth,” he said. “With basically four points up for grabs for each team in the last two weeks, there’s definitely some pressure on the teams that are tied for eighth.
“Every point is going to count over the last couple of weeks.”
Rogers also reported that the new King of the Beach division on Sunday nights, in which players are teamed up with new partners weekly and keep an individual win-loss record, has been very successful.
“It’s been really good in allowing people who have come to town a little bit late to get involved,” he said. “It’s nice because it’s a good way to get individuals involved in a team sport and we’re able to just keep adding players. It’s working really well with that format and we might continue it next year, too.”
Visit www.wova.ca for more league information.