Champions Crowned In Three Divisions By Joe McGivney
The Rockaway Beach Volleyball League concluded the 2001 season with a playoff extravaganza on Saturday at Riis Park. The day included exciting volleyball matches, great camaraderie, refreshments and fun for players and fans alike. Grandstands and tents for the spectators were top shelf touches adding to the festivities.
Not even occasional rain could dampen the high spirits of the day. In fact, some of the veteran players with questionable stamina were thankful that the sun was not burning too brightly. Now let’s go to the videotape (newspaper style) for the results!
In the Red Division, Abbracciamento’s beat Just Healy’s 3-0 in first round action only weeks after sweeping their regular season match. A late night bachelorette party contributed to Healy’s woes and rumor has it that the team will never be the same again. Abbracciamento’s Hall of Fame player Jimmy King flew in from the West Coast for inspiration (and the free beer). Patty, Tricia and Leah all seemed to elevate their play with Jimmy nearby but Rocky, Joe, Frank and Kevin were not impressed. (The jury is still out on CB.)
In the second match, an up and coming, young Jameson’s squad upset a reeling Connolly’s team 3-0 to advance to the semi-finals. Tom Dahlgish was benched early on for tardiness by the iron-fisted leader, Steve Gifford and was never able to get hot. Tom’s hitting and Coach’s savvy had been two strengths throughout the last few years and today both were missing. Jameson’s played solid, if not spectacular ball to advance.
Unfortunately, the victory sent them into the semi-finals against top seeded Coppersmith’s. Mike "I Own Joe McManus" Buckley apparently lost his ownership deed and was dispossessed. By the time Joe finished beating him like a rented mule Coppersmith’s emerged victorious 3-0, advancing to the championship. Better luck next year to the Twin Towers, Sean and Mike.
In the other semi-final match, Abbracciamento’s and Generation X & Y split the first four games just as they had during the regular season. In the earlier match, Gen X won the deciding game five as Frank Gnunn lost his balls when Linda bumped one right between his thighs. This time Frank and his teammates didn’t lose any balls but only lost the game 11-3. Terrific all-around play by the deep Gen X unit carried the match.
Although they were knocked out of the playoffs, Abbracciamento’s refused to go home. They drank and ate and ate and drank and then did it some more. In fact, they closed down both the 91st St. block party and Connolly’s. Good on you, mates!
The Championship match featured a very high level of play as Coppersmith’s prevailed 3-1 to win the title. With only a couple of more points in game four Generation X & Y would have forced a pressure filled fifth game. Although some thought the absence of Stevie Collins was the difference this was the third time this summer that the results were the same (with and without Steve). Captain Craig Carey cited fine play by all but singled out the setting of the Gatorade sisters, Clair (Marie’s sister) and Marie (Clair’s sister) as critical to the win.
Chants of "MVP" were showered on Joe McManus and the team should look to lock him up with a long-term contract before a better offer comes along. The only thing that marred a near perfect tournament was Mark Gentile discovering that his beach chair had the cup holder on the left side instead of the right. He made the adjustment, drinking cross-handed but he is going to let Eddie Bauer know about it. Congratulations, Coppersmith’s – we look forward to seeing you at the awards dinner in your tuxedos, a classy touch!
In the White Division, The Rugby Fisheads defeated The Beach House handily 3-0 in the opener. This was the third meeting between the teams this year and the results went the same way each time. Does the word "domination" come to mind? Since there was no Men’s Championship Thong Pageant for the men of the Rugby Club to attend they all showed up and were a force to be reckoned with. Maybe next year the Beach House should sport thongs of their own to distract the fashion conscious Rugby Boys.
In the second match, IBK New Addition was awarded a 3-0-forfeit victory over Dig This for using an illegal player not on their roster.
The Fisheads next faced off against Fillmore Insurance in one of the most exciting bouts of the day, winning 11-6 in the fifth game, reversing the score of their mid-season meeting. These two teams are about as evenly matched as possible and should have a heated rivalry in the future.
Kerry Hills Pub lost game one of their semi-final to IBK 11-8 but came back to win the next three games, 11-8, 11-8 and 11-5 to advance to the finals. In the final series, Kerry Hills fell behind again by losing the first game 11-5 and bounced back again to win the final three games of the season, 11-4, 11-6 and 11-9.
The Fisheads hung in valiantly and almost extended the series to a fifth game. Liam led the attack by actually using his hands to set the ball for his spiking teammates. Years ago he perfected the foot set and now he is working on the handset. Earlier in the season, the team dedicated their efforts to John Hayes and they came through famously. Captain Peter Kearns wouldn’t go so far as thanking Rocky and Joe for their help and guidance through the last 12 years but he knows they were instrumental in this championship march.
Because of a prior commitment, Captain Noel advises that the team will not be able to attend the annual awards dinner on 8/25. However, their gracious sponsor has invited them and all league members to a mini-celebration this Friday, 8/17 at the new Kerry Hills Pub. I’m sure they’ll have some of their championship Shepherd’s Pie on hand. You can’t go wrong if you stop by.
Finally, in the Blue Division, The Beach Club swept through three rounds, winning nine games and only losing one. They vanquished Tap and Grill Island, It’s All Good (the first place team) and The Tap and Grill in succession. Jerry’s Kids and Tap and Grill Island came up short against the eventual finalists while heavy favorites, The Circling Sharks and It’s All Good failed to make the title game. The Sharks lost a heartbreaking, five gamer and Bugsy’s Disappointments succumbed in four.
Both of these long-time groups would like to attribute the defeats to a drastic disruption of biorhythms, which was brought on by having to play during the day. These "night people" were at a distinct disadvantage. Maybe instead of going out Friday night they should have stayed in and watched the "Joanie Loves Chachie" marathon on TBS. Congratulations to The Beach Club who were in last place after the first week but climbed to the top. Also, congratulations to regular season champ, It’s All Good, for a fine year; they should do great when they are moved up to the Red Division next season.
The Beach Club had a great time this year and was thrilled to win the Championship. There are a few people we would like to thank:
First, we would like to thank Patty, Steve, Bugsy, Joe, John and Rocky for a great first year at running the league. What a great job they did. Guys, it can only get easier Steve and Kenny Goode for once again cheerfully sponsoring our team. We really appreciate it.
We would also like to thank Gilligan for his prayers and making that one big pressure serve, Maryanne--for always hosting the party, regardless if we win or lose. Maverick--for just being the "Mav". Peggy--for keeping "Mav" in line. Lisa M--for jumping in a point early to celebrate. Jim, for keeping his elbow up. Lisa, for bringing us Jim and Owen, for his acrobatics but not his serve. Carol--for going to the Irish circle when I couldn't make it and being the best water girl any team could have. Laurie--for the appendage, Ron--for a great rookie year and Joe--for his witty ditties.
Donna (me)--for the Margaritas (somebody else has to learn to make these things), to Kerry and George-- the best cheerleaders any team could have, and Kathy--for a great rookie year and for being such a trooper at the watermelon eating exhibition afterwards. Last but not least, Nancy--for knowing all the rules, and for not losing her mind the past 7 years while trying to teach us.
The league would like to thank everyone who helped out this year. Your assistance, both large and small, as well as your kind words was appreciated. A special thanks to all of the hard working referees for their attendance, punctuality and professionalism. We hope to see you in 2002.
Finally, don’t forget about the 2001 RBVL Awards Dinner on Saturday, 8/25 at the Knights of Columbus hall on 90th St. Please RSVP to Rocky at 718-338-3951 ASAP so that proper arrangements can be made. We need to know the right amount of people for which to order food and drink. See you on the 25th of August!
Red Division Champs
White Division Champs
Kerry Hills Pub
Blue Division Champs
The Beach Club