Wabi Sabi Takes Home Second Tour Stop Victory; BULKY Tops Advanced Division in San Diego


The Spikeball Roundnet Association (SRA) season continued last Saturday with the second Tour Stop of the year at South Mission Beach in San Diego. As noted in the tournament preview, competing in San Diego were eight teams in the Premier Division, eight in the Women’s Division, 36 in the Advanced Division, and 29 in the Intermediate Division.

Point Loma Spike (Kenny Ortega and Zach Wood, second), Wabi Sabi (Jarratt Rouse and Preston Bies, first), and Sloppy Seconds (Ian Golembeski and Chris Hornacek, third) pose a picture after the San Diego Tour Stop.

Premier Division

Heading into the weekend, eyes were on the top 10 power ranked teams Wabi Sabi (Jarratt Rouse and Preston Bies), Spicy Rubi (Anthony Rentsch and Daniel McPartland), and Point Loma Spike (Kenny Ortega and Zach Wood), as well as on mash-up Sloppy Seconds (Ian Golembeski and Chris Hornacek). Wabi Sabi placed first at the Huntington Beach Tour Stop without much challenge and Sloppy Seconds worked their way into second. Point Loma was eliminated a bit early at Huntington and did not meet either Wabi Sabi or Sloppy Seconds in bracketplay. Fifth-ranked Spicy Rubi traveled in for their first tournament of the year and was looking to shake things up.

On Saturday Wabi Sabi was able to take home their second Tour Stop win in a row. This win, though, was a bit more of a challenge than Huntington Beach last month.

Heading into bracket play, these were the seeds:

  1. Point Loma Spike
  2. Wabi Sabi
  3. Spicy Rubi
  4. Cream Chico (Skyler Boles and Mike White)
  5. Sloppy Seconds
  6. Sub-Par Team (Jacob Martinez and Josh Fragiacomo)
  7. Marlon and Me (Marlon Fleming and Robbie Brisco)
  8. Death Valley (Zac Vance and Alex Gong)

With Point Loma, Wabi Sabi, and Spicy Rubi as established top teams, a #4 seed v. #5 seed match-up between two mash-ups was appropriate. Game one between Cream Chico and Sloppy Seconds was a sloppy affair but Golembeski and Hornacek were able to take it 21-19. Game two went much more in favor of Sloppy Seconds who moved on to face Point Loma in the winner’s semifinals.  

In that match, Ortega was a force behind the six-foot foot line (as he was in pool play). Sloppy Seconds struggled with serve returns and fell to the #8 ranked team in the nation in two games, 21-17 and 24-22.

Anthony Rentsch of Spicy Rubi winds up to spike a ball in San Diego.

In the other winner’s semifinals, Wabi Sabi faced Spicy Rubi. McPartland of Spicy Rubi had a lot of serving success to start the match and led Spicy Rubi to a game one win with a score of 21-15. The rest of the series was a tight affair, especially the end of game two which ended at 26-24 in favor of Wabi Sabi. Both teams made some mistakes as nerves seemed to be high in the close match. Game three ended with Wabi Sabi just edging out Rubi for a 21-19 win.

In the loser’s bracket, Spicy Rubi moved into the top 4 with a two-game win over Cream Chico. Sloppy Seconds had a much closer, three-game battle with the West power ranked Sub-Par Team.

In the winner’s finals, Point Loma gave Wabi Sabi another challenge. Game one Point Loma carried a lead into extra points but were just not able to find the break they needed. Wabi Sabi found a pair of breaks for themselves and took that game 26-24, and then game two 21-18.

Spicy Rubi and Sloppy Seconds faced off in the loser’s semifinals with the winner moving on to play Point Loma, and the loser taking fourth. Game one went strongly in favor of Sloppy Seconds, in large part due to the hard serves of Chirs Hornacek that gave both McPartland and Rentsch trouble. Rubi fought back in the next one to force a game three.

Kenny Ortega of Point Loma Spike dives for a ball in San Diego.

Throughout the series, Hornacek and Golembeski excelled through strong second touches and hitting. Nearly each bad touch on a serve was saved by a solid recovery set and crushing hit. Spicy Rubi was not able to get much going defensively. Their lack of defensive chances may be attributed to a style change forced by the sand.

The match unfortunately ended in an anti-climactic manner. Golembeski was serving to McPartland up a break in extra points. The first serve was ruled a fault. On the second serve, McPartland returned the ball very high and then called a fault. Sloppy Seconds disagreed with the call, as did the observers, which ended the game, eliminating Rubi at fourth place.

Preston Bies of Wabi Sabi reaches for a ball in San Diego.

After this point, the tournament went as expected. Point Loma again held off Sloppy Seconds, leaving them in third place with scores of 21-19 and 21-17. In the grand finals, Wabi Sabi again took out Point Loma, claiming their second Tour Stop title wih scores of 21-19, 21-17. Point Loma took the lead a few times in the match but could not hold off Wabi Sabi for long enough.

Here are some takeaways from the tournament:

  • After missing out on the top 4 in Huntington Beach, Point Loma showed that they are still here to compete with the top in 2018.
  • Sloppy Seconds showed their second place finish at Huntington Beach was not a fluke. Hornacek also announced he will team up with Dylan Fogarty, who should help further his success. 
  • As the #5 team, Spicy Rubi's fourth place finish was unexpected. At the same time, the team did play Wabi Sabi extremely close. More results will show us better where they stand and the next true test for them will be College Nationals on April 28. 

HOOPLA (John Shurance and Schon Siguena, second), BULKY (Connor Francis and Jacob Payer, first), and Set Me Better (Taylor Church and McKay Hooker, third) and  pose a picture after the San Diego Tour Stop.

Advanced Division

With 36 solid teams competing in the Advanced Division and many unknown to each other and the community, predicting the results was near impossible. There were a handful of teams that could have made top 8, top 4, or even win. With five pools of seven or eight teams, there were bound to be some tight matches in the morning. After all those were said and done, these were the top 8 seeds for bracket play:

1. Set Me Better - Taylor Church and Mckay Hooker

2. Shib Sibs - Kasey Shibayama and Skylar Shibayama

3. Falcon Heavy - Jordan Davis and Andrew Leasau

4. BULKY - Connor Francis and Jacob Payer

5. Orange Mocha Frappuccino's - Brendan Huffman and Brad Hylton

6. HOOPLA - Schon Siguenza and John Shurance

7. Billy + Dennis - Billy Buchhauser  and Dennis Phan

8. Shake and Bake - David Gonzales and Kit Ryan

In extremely atypical fashion for SRA tournaments with a Premier Division, seven of these top eight seeds made it into the Advanced Division quarterfinals. The last team sneaking into the top 8 was #15 seed TAMU Spike (Grant Laughlin and Fredric Hinkle) a team who traveled from Texas for their Spring Break. TAMU Spike upset the #2 seed Shib Sibs in a three-game affair. 

Andrew Leasau of Falcon Heavy serves in San Diego.

In the quarterfinals, the higher seeds won out again in all but one series. In another close three-game match, HOOPLA was able to advanced into the semifinals over Falcon Heavy of Denver. 

This lead to these semifinals match-ups:

Set Me Better v. BULKY

Billy + Dennis v. HOOPLA

In this event, the semifinals meant a bit more than usual, with a win guarenteeing a Premier qualification for those players.

BULKY noted that their match with Set Me Better was their closest of the day as they took it in three close games. Both teams were firing off some great aces and it was serving battle throughout. 

In the other semifinals between Billy + Dennis and HOOPLA, game one contained a decent amount of errors from both teams. Phan was able to hit some great left-handed serves to keep his team in it, but HOOPLA eventually took it 23-21. In game two, HOOPLA tightened up their offense and limited the defensive chances Buchhauser and Phan could get. This took them to another win, this time with a score of 21-18.

Schon Siguenza of HOOPLA serves in San Diego.

The Advanced Division finals found a mix of lowered play by HOOPLA and continued strong play by BULKY. Siguenza noted that Shurance tweaked his back a bit during their long quarterfinals match with Falcon Heavy. Combine that with a long day of play and you had a vulnerable HOOPLA. 

BULKY capitalized on this, especially Payer who was serving well. This lead to a 21-17 game one win for BULKY. In game two, HOOPLA adapted to Payer's serves a bit and the game was sent into extras. Once again, though, BULKY was able to finish it out to take the game and the tournament. 

With BULKY and HOOPLA in the top 2, Payer, Francis, and Shurance earned Premier qualifications. The third place game between Billy + Dennis and Set Me Better would decide the fourth qualifier joining them (as Billy Buchhasuer and Taylor Church were both Premier-qualified players already). Set Me Better took the victory, scoring a top 3 finish for the team and Premier qualification for McKay Hooker.

H+M (Hannah Coyle and Mana Hooker, second), Green Bananas (Elizabeth Gilley and Jordi Vigna, first), and Dunkin Dutch Babes (Kayla Swayze and Leah White, third) pose a picture after the San Diego Tour Stop.

Women’s Division

Green Bananas (Elizabeth Gilley and Jordi Vigna) took home first place in the San Diego Women’s Division on Saturday. Vigna and Gilley dropped one game in pool play to Dunkin Dutch Babes (Leah White and Kayla Swayze) and took the #2 seed heading into bracket play. However, in bracket play they were able to take out Dunkin Dutch Babes and all others en route to a victory.

The second place finisher was H+M (Hannah Coyle and Mara Hooker), who took the #4 seed going into bracket play and fell to Dunkin Dutch Babes in three games in the winner’s semifinals. In the loser’s bracket, though, H+M was able to beat Dunkin Dutch Babes and eliminate them in third place.

Yeggerchits (Spencer Schmidt and Connor Winters, third), Strictly Bangers (Travis Lema and Zach Hewittfirst, first), and Average Bros (Michael Mann and Troy Akin, second) pose a picture after the San Diego Tour Stop.

Intermediate Division

Strictly Bangers (Travis Lema and Zach Hewitt) eliminated Yeggerchits (Spencer Schmidt and Connor Winters) and Average Bros ( Michael Mann and Troy Akin) eliminated Spike Team 6 (Ryan Oswalt and Matthew Buck) in the semifinals of the Intermediate Division. Yeggerchits fought back to take third place. Strictly Bangers and Average Bros went to three games in the finals, but in the end, Strictly Bangers came out on top.

There is a ton of roundnet on the horizon. This weekend there are four College Sectionals around the nation. The Tour Series continues on April 7th in Atlanta and the West Tour continues on April 14th in San Francisco. 

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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