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First Premier Division Brings New Look to Second West Tour Stop in San Diego


Note: This post was written by Mike White.

As the early season moves along, players head to beaches of San Diego, California, for the second Tour Stop of the 2018 Spikeball™ Roundnet Association (SRA) season. Many familiar West faces will be back as well as a few out-of-towners making the westward trek as the winter drags on back east.

The San Diego Tour Stop will be the first tournament of the year to feature a Premier Division, which is a division that players must qualify for. With that taking place, the Advanced Division opens up a bit. Many teams will be hoping to place top 2 and earn their own Premier qualification. San Diego will also feature a 29-team Intermediate Division and 6-team Women's Division.

The Premier Division on Saturday will include an even 8 teams. Leading the pack is #2 power ranked and Huntington Beach Tour Stop Champions Wabi Sabi (Jarratt Rouse and Preston Bies). The Santa Barbara pair coasted to their win in Huntington Beach and although there is a bit more competition for them in San Diego, another win is surely expected.

Preston Bies spikes a ball at the 2017 San Diego Tour Stop.

Two other top 10 power ranked teams will be in attendance on Saturday. The first is the East's Spicy Rubi (Anthony Rentsch and Daniel McPartland). Spicy Rubi is currently ranked at #5 after their explosive second place finishes at both 2017 East Regionals and 2017 Nationals. Those are the only two SRA events that Rubi competed in, so many eyes are on them as they travel and compete with new teams.

The most highly anticipated match for Saturday may be Spicy Rubi versus the #8 power ranked Point Loma Spike (Kenny Ortega and Zach Wood). After their great late-season finishes, Spicy Rubi flew up in the rankings, and a win again Point Loma could further solidify their position among the top teams. On the other side, Point Loma slightly trailed the top teams during 2017 and a win against Spicy Rubi would send the message that they will be a force again in 2018. Ortega and Wood also exited Huntington Beach in the quarterfinals, which was a bit earlier than expected, and will have a chance for redemption this weekend.

Three other teams from the Huntington Beach Tour Stop will also be returning in San Diego: Sloppy Seconds (Ian Golembeski and Chris Hornacek), Sub-Par Team (Josh Fragiacomo and Jacob Martinez), and Marlon and Me (Marlon Fleming and Robbie Brisco).

Chris Hornacek of Sloppy Seconds serves at the 2017 San Diego Tour Stop.

After a missed flight and an illness, Hornacek and Golembeski found themselves playing together at Huntington Beach. With a decent bracket draw and some strong play, the pair scored themselves a second place finish. If they can put the pieces together again this weekend, a second place finish is not out of the question. 

Sub-Par Team notched a fourth place finish at Huntington Beach tournament and jumped up four spots in the Power Rankings to #17. Now they'll have to back up that performance. Can they compete with Sloppy Seconds and the other (much higher) Power Ranked teams? 

Marlon and Me came from outside the Power Pool at Huntington and scored a top 8 finish after upsetting NorCal Gravity. They'll be looking to turn that top 8 finish into a top 6 finish this weekend.

Rounding out the eight-team division is a couple of mash-up teams. The first is Cream Chico (Skyler Boles and myself) and the second is Death Valley, featuring Alex Gong of Valley 'Dogs and Zac Vance of the East's MAXIMUM EFFORT.

We asked the community to predict the results of Saturday's Premier Division. Here are the results:

Premier Top 6

Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th T-5th Total

Wabi Sabi - Jarratt Rouse and Preston Bies

33 8 0 1 0 157

Spicy Rubi - Anthony Rentsch and Daniel McPartland

6 26 6 5 0 119

Point Loma Spike - Kenny Ortega and Zach Wood

2 6 12 14 8 68

Sloppy Seconds - Chris Hornacek and Ian Golembeski

0 2 21 9 6 60

Cream Chico - Mike White and Skyler Boles

1 0 2 4 30 27

Sub-Par Team - Josh Fragiacomo and Jacob Martinez

0 0 0 0 28 14

Death Valley - Alex Gong and Zac Vance

0 0 0 0 11 5.5

Marlon and Me - Robbie Brisco and Marlon Fleming

0 0 0 0 3 1.5

 

With most of the Premier players isolated in their own division, the Advanced Division is wide open. Here are four of the top contenders heading to San Diego. 

Shake and Bake - David Gonzales and Kit Ryan

Many people are surprised Kit Ryan is not Premier qualified and that should say something about the expectations for this team. Ryan has been a top West player for many years and David Gonzales made up half of the long-time team Bolivia, who reached #5 in the rankings last year. The big question is (as it always is): how will Gonzales do on the sand?

David Gonzales winds up to hit a ball at the 2017 Philadelphia Tour Stop.

HOOPLA - Schon Siguenza and John Shurance

In Huntington Beach, HOOPLA ran into Santa's Helpers (which featured half of the #1 roundnet team in the country in Tyler Cisek) and exited earlier than expected. Siguenza finished third at his last Advanced Division appearance before that (2017 Nationals) and this may be another chance to shine. 

Shib Sibs - Kasey Shibayama and Skylar Shibayama

Skylar Shibayama makes up half of the pre-season Power Ranked Spiker, No Spiking!, who finished fourth at 2017 Southeast Regionals. Teaming up with his brother Kasey, they should make quite a force.

BULKY - Connor Francis and Jacob Payer

Jacob Payer showed his stuff last weekend at the Southwest College Sectional where his team took the #1 seed and finished in third. He'll be teaming with West 'baller Connor Francis this time around, who lost to Sloppy Seconds in the round of 16 at Huntington Beach.

We asked the community to predict the results of Saturday's Advanced Division. Here are the results:

Advanced Top 4

Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total

Shake and Bake - David Gonzales and Kit Ryan

16 6 1 3 87

HOOPLA - Schon Siguenza and John Shurance

5 7 3 1 48

Shib Sibs - Kasey Shibayama and Skylar Shibayama

3 5 7 2 43

BULKY - Connor Francis and Jacob Payer

3 3 2 2 27

McDonalson - Mark Donalson and Dan McCarthy

0 3 5 4 23

Called To Serve - Timmy Whelan and Jon Fuentes

1 3 1 3 18

Sons of Thor - Taylen Peterson and Luke Christopherson

0 1 4 2 13

ThunderLopes - Chris Bradley and Jadon Wilson

1 2 0 3 13

Set Me Better - Taylor Church and Mckay Hooker

1 0 2 2 10

TAMU SPIKE - Grant Laughlin and Fredric Hinkle

0 0 4 1 9

Spike5life - Austin Rawlings and Isaac Klump

1 0 1 0 6

SJ Invictus - Jason Kim and Chris Barros

0 1 0 2 5

 

Six women's teams will be competing in San Diego. The front-runners appear to be Dunkin Dutch Babes (Kayla Swayze and Leah White) and Green Bananas (Jordi Vigna and Elizabeth Gilley). Alex Lynch, who placed third at the Huntington Beach Women's Divison will also be competing with Kalin Miramontes.

Jordi Vigna of Green Bananas serves at the Huntington Beach Tour Stop.

We asked the community to predict the results of Saturday's Women's Division. Here are the results:

Women's Top 4

Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total

Green Bananas - Jordi Vigna and Elizabeth Gilley

23 9 0 1 120

Dunkin Dutch Babes - Kayla Swayze and Leah White

11 22 3 0 116

Safe Sets - Veronica Ward and Kayla Wu

0 1 15 4 37

Pawnee Goddesses - Jessica Kim and Loren Samuelson

1 2 6 9 31

We're the captains now - Alex Lynch and Kalin Miramontes

0 1 7 14 31

Unison - Allison Hill and Unna Mangune

0 1 4 7 18

 

Got something related to roundnet that you want to know more about? Have any topics you want to be discussed on the podcast? Contact Mike White at mwhitey17@gmail.com or @mwhitey17 on Twitter.

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