It’s All Very Good For Rockaway Beach Volleyball League
On Saturday, volleyballs flew all day on the sands of Riis Park as contestant’s fought for the fabled winner’s sweatshirts in the Rockaway Beach Volleyball League playoffs. The weather was an ideal 84 degrees, mostly sunny and virtually windless until midday and the quality of play seemed to match the quality of the playing conditions. Nine different division champions were crowned by day’s end and the mood was both festive and bittersweet as the 2012 season ended and the joy of another terrific year was offset by the sadness that many friends would go their separate ways over the next 10 months, not seeing each other quite as regularly anymore. More than a few people were weepy! Commissioner Patty Moule outdid herself again although she selflessly deflected credit to her committee of Rocky, Steve, Denise, John and Joe for a job well done. Thank you all for making the season a great success and making Saturday one of the RBVL’s most spectacular playoff days ever. Your camaraderie and friendship elevate the league to heights no other league enjoys. As always, the exciting games, food (Kudos for the delicious sandwiches and wraps) and music (More kudos to DJ Scott, who rocked the finals) help but you are what make the day so special. Nets were available at 9:30 AM and a Rockaway miracle occurred – everyone showed up on time and set up the courts promptly, for the second year in a row. At 10:30 AM, players were bumping, setting and spiking (and flubbing, fanning and whiffing) in heated playoff action.
All four higher seeds won their first round matches in the Ocean Division proving the regular season was a true indicator of ability. Then the second round went the other way as Flip Cup beat out top seed Freedhand’s and fourth seed West End Tents dispatched Gatemate.net. The Quarterfinal match between Flip Cup and S&G started out with Flip Cup going up 2-0 but S&G kept the match alive with the game of the day, a 28 – 26 OT thriller. S&G also won game 4 in OT 22 – 20 but the comeback was ended by Flip Cup in Game 5. The Semis between Freedhand’s and Flip Cup was a RBVL Classic. Freedhand’s came charging out and won game one. The strong ocean breeze put a premium on team play and Flip Cup regrouped and won games two and three in exciting fashion. Game four had Freedhand’s jump out to a 6-0 lead but hundreds of RBVL players and fans witnessed the Comeback of the Year and the Upset of the Year as Flip Cup rallied for a 21 -12 win to seal the match. Unfortunately for Flip Cup and their fans, there was no Hollywood ending in the Finals. They lost in four well played but tough games. For the second time in the past three years the Flip Cup All Stars knocked off perennial favorites Freedhand’s. In both matches Freedhand’s won the first game and were then swept away by the younger squad. Liz Murphy’s leadership and setting skills kept her team focused and raised the level of play of her teammates. The depth at the setting position kept all the girls fresh as Katey, Trish, and Jackie were solid in the match, keeping balls alive and setting up the big hitters. The Sica brothers, Mike and Brian, left it all on the court as Mike suffered leg cramps late in game three, and Brian suffered heat exhaustion after the finals. It didn’t affect their play though as they passed and hit their way to victory. Mike Gambino played one of his best games, spiking down with authority. Kenny Kearns played like the wise veteran that he is, mixing up his shots and scoring in every different way. But just like in 2010 The Flip Cup All Stars couldn’t get over the final hurdle in the finals, once again losing to West End Tents. The Sica family fell just short of reaching super hero status – Mike (Iron Man), Brian (Spider Man) and Trish the Dish (Trish the Dish). Coach gave a yellow card to “Mr. Congeniality” Frank Ganun in the finals and received a rousing ovation, the biggest of his playing and reffing career. It seemed to quiet Frank down. Teri Ganun inquired where she could buy those yellow and red cards and wondered if they would work at home. After the match, Coach did what he does best. On Monday, he called Q104.3 radio station and had Ken Dashow play his 3 at 3 set about Alfred Hitchcock. In case you were counting, the West End Tents have won 3 of the last 4 Ocean titles. This vintage final’s duel displayed the best ball of the day on the beach as it usually does when these two rivals battle. Even though the big hitters of West End Tents fired away, the setters, Nicki and Katie, were the true MVP’s and led their crew to the championship.
The Ocean Breeze Division was won by top seed, Kenosha Kickers, in convincing fashion. Their big day was made possible by great all around team effort and play. That gave them both the regular season and playoff titles in dominating fashion. The semifinals featured a dogfight between Casino Auto and JG Electric which ended with a JG 21-19 win in game 5. After that war, they had to face a wellrested Kenosha squad and couldn’t pull it off. In the Wave, the Boardwalk Boarders were discussing the benefits of sweeping through the first round of the playoffs after winning the first two games against Connolly’s. The extra rest would come in handy in the later rounds. Well tell it to Bill Buckner and Greg Norman as the Boarders were stunned losing the last three games and being knocked out in what could only be described as a collapse. Connolly’s picked up their game behind solid play all around, refusing to let anything drop until they played Off the Net. Then things dropped and Connolly’s exited. The 6th seeded Miley Quality Home Improvement team beat the 3rd seed, the 2nd seed and the 1st seed in three rounds to win the Wave Division. This completes a Three-peat for Miley, who won the Beach last year and the Boardwalk in 2010. Miley’s goal moving up to the Wave Division was a three-peat but it didn’t look likely with the season they were having. After week nine they were in last place. But somehow pulled it together and got the Miley MO-JO back in the last two weeks and road the momentum into the playoffs. Facing 3rd place team Cabana in the first round it went to five games and was intense to the end. The fifth game was a nail biter with the lead switching back and forth and Miley’s won in OT. In the semifinals Miley’s faced the 2nd place team Healy’s and took it in four very competitive games. The final barrier to the three-peat was the 1st place team Off the Net who hadn’t lost a game in the playoffs. Miley took the first two games despite the wind but Off the Net battled back and won the third. But once again, Miley won the decisive fourth game for the Wave Championship. Miley Quality Home Improvement is very proud of the entire team and how they turned around the season by sticking together and remembering the team motto, “If it ain’t fun, it ain’t worth it.” Thanks again to the Commissioners of the RBVL who once again gave us all a great VB season.
ROC FAM moved up to the Beach and won it just like they won the Boardwalk last year. They are on a two year roll and promise to be a threat if they move to the Wave next season. All the higher seeds won along the way setting up a final matchup of 1 vs. 2 against Kerry Hills. ROCK FAM won in 4 games and wonders if 2013 will bring a three-peat. The Beach Bums mirrored the exploits of the Miley Posse by beating the 6th seed, the 2nd seed and the 1st seed, Sal’s Auto to capture the Boardwalk title, Captain Bobby Balmes made some of the slickest pick-ups from the waiver wire filling out his roster with champions. And it doesn’t hurt to have Bay Ridge represented on the squad. The Sun division regular season leader, the Stanii, faced off against perennial league member, It’s All Good, who made it up from the 7th position, led by the Goldberg Boys, Patrick and Alex, who have assumed the roles formerly held by Brian and Allison Bagley in the family volleyball hierarchy. They run all over the court retrieving balls while the veteran (old, washed up) players remain, unmoving in their own tiny circles of death. Their superior efforts just fell short of bringing the family a championship. Talk arose that the youngsters might be picked up by teams in higher divisions but Uncle Cement Shoes has a contract on his refrigerator that appears to have been signed in Goldberg blood. The kids cannot leave until they bring home a title. It shouldn’t be too long. CNN reported that It’s All Good 2012 championship sweatshirts were reportedly being worn by the children of Senegal, who always get a fresh supply of losing team shirts. Now they have the 1986 Red Sox, the 2004 Yankees and the 2012 It’s All Good models to wear around the campfire. Kirby, period. The Stanii want to thank Kevin Begley for being the glue that held the team together. He was the addition the team needed to change from being unglued last season to being a cohesive team in 2012. Playing good friends, It’s All Good, in the finals was a nice way to end the season, especially when both groups joined together for a Walkway Dance at the after-party. But the real kudos go to our #1 fan, Joanie. She not only came to every game, she brought the 10 by 10 tent to shelter us, the champagne to celebrate us and also the wisdom to let us know when it was time to switch to light beer during the season. Joanie, you’re the best! Stay tuned for the next episode of Keeping Up with the Kanel-dashians. Last year, Debbie left It’s All Good and joined the Stanii just in time for a championship. But what about daughters, Jackie and Michelle from ROCK FAM and Janine from the Sand Spikers? Who will be moving where? Who will be dating NBA star, Dwight Howard? And who will be doing the laundry since she did not win in 2012? We shall see.
The Sun Ray Division produced one of the biggest upset of the day with 8th seed, Notorious D.I.G.’s, eliminating 1st seed, Atlantic Service Sandsharks in three straight but then things got dicey for the Notorious ones. To win their prized sweatshirt they beat the Comeback Cats 24-22 in game 5 and the Attack Pack 23-21 in game 5. Wow! Two overtime wins in successivegame fives! Unprecedented! That sweatshirt was well-earned. The Moon Division went according to regular season form matching up the top two teams in the final match. For the second year in a row the Social Yachties ran out of steam, losing to the champs, William J Lachner Painters (formerly the Rockaway Breakers). With two sweatshirts in two years, an unnamed player is enlarging his closets to make room for the new winter wear. (And his pink scarves.) Lachner’s spectacular back-to-back playoff runs might make them the first team in history to jump six divisions from the Moon to the Ocean Breeze next year. They would then become the first team ever to compete wearing the coveted pink scarves in either of the top two divisions. As one of their aging, well past his prime, former greats, says, “Everybody loves a winner.” Congratultions, Benita. In the Star Division, the Hamilton Hardware Hammer-heads peaked at the right time and took home a coveted title with victories over Wii Not Fit, Servpro NW Brooklyn and EZ Company. That was a lot of hard work for the 5th seeded squad but they persevered. Three #1 seeds, one #2 seeds, two #3 seeds, a #5, a #6 and a #8 seed ended up taking titles, making 2012 the year of the underdogs. Only 4th and 7th place look jinxed. The RBVL does not like to leave anyone home so the two teams who were eliminated from the playoffs were invited to play each other in the Fun Bowl. They played and they had fun. The IFMA’s prevailed over Simba’s Pride 21-15 in game five and both teams were rewarded with a case of their favorite beverages for taking the time to come down for the fun of it. After all, isn’t that the point?
Patty and Denise and the men of the RBVL committee would like to say, “Thank you” to all the well-wishers for their kind words, hugs and kisses on Saturday and all along the way. And thanks to all who helped out on “Playoff Saturday,” reffing, tracking scores, updating the scoreboard and basically doing whatever was necessary to make the day run smoothly. And a special thanks to three young ladies who worked all year with their moms and did an amazing amount of work, Caroline Brunner and Lauren and Juliana Moule. Well done! Everyone in Rockaway is getting a bit verklempt just thinking about the season coming to end. What the RBVL does for Rockaway is quite magical. Just because the league is officially over doesn’t mean that the volleyball games must stop. Action should continue around the beach for several more weeks.
Don’t forget to check our website at www.rbvl.com. You’ll find a lot of playoff pictures shortly. See you on the beach in 2013! Practice week is scheduled for 5/22/13.