Players from all around the nation have traveled to the Southeast this season for the Atlanta, Dallas, and Charlotte Tour Stops. The Southeast Tour Series is concluding this Saturday in Nashville, TN with over 100 teams in four divisions. Top level players will be competing in the 15-team Premier Division, which will contain far travelers such as Wabi Sabi and Point Loma Spike of the West Coast. The Women’s Division should also excite as Ogres Heroes, Cougs, and MOXIE will be in attendance.
The Santa Monica Grand Slam last month featured a stacked 17-team Premier Division. The Southeast Grand Slam is bringing out another strong group of teams. The Santa Monica Grand Slam Champions and #1 ranked team, Cisek/Showalter, will not be attending Nashville, but one player is. Peter Jon Showalter is teaming up with Dylan Fogarty of #5 Origin Vengeance as pie in the horse.
Showalter has taken first place at all three Southeast Tour Stops so far in 2018. Atlanta and Charlotte were won with his typical partner Tyler Cisek, and Dallas was won with Skyler Boles. If Showalter and Fogarty win on Saturday, Showalter will be the first person to ever win all four events in a Tour Series.
The two biggest threats for pie in the horse are traveling from the West Coast. #2 Wabi Sabi (Preston Bies and Jarratt Rouse) have scored three first place and two second place finishes in 2018. Last month, Bies teamed with Harding Brumby of L.E.D. to place second at SummerSpike 2018 as well. #4 Point Loma Spike (Kenny Ortega and Zach Wood), who will also be in Nashville, are the only team besides Cisek/Showalter to beat Wabi Sabi this season. Ortega is coming off of a Tour Stop win in Montreal with Tyler Cisek and the pair placed second at the Nashville Grand Slam last season.
Caleb Heck of The (717) swings at a ball at SummerSpike 2018.
Two other top 10 teams are joining the Nashville fray: #6 The (717) and #9 Tetelestai. The (717) (Caleb Heck and Joel Graham) has landed in the top 4 many times this year, including last weekend in Montreal. Tetelestai (Jesse Throw and Logan Cornelius) earned their best win of the year by defeating #10 Easily Dug at SummerSpike, but then fell to #12 Joey & Joey in Columbus. They are looking to get back into the top 4 this weekend.
There are many other strong teams in this division, but three specifically are big wildcards. The first is #11 SubPar Team (Jacob Martinez and Josh Fragiacomo) who shocked many with their second place finish at the Santa Monica Grand Slam. The pair defeated both Origin Vengeance and Point Loma Spike en route to the Grand Finals. Many will be looking to see how they do in a similarly stacked field this weekend.
Origin Worldwide (Patrick Drucker and Chris Wilkins) also had a surprise second place run. Drucker and Wilkins earned the 1 seed in the Columbus Premier Division and made a run to the Grand Finals, picking up a win over Origin Vengeance along the way. With Nashville being their second appearance, we will see if they can keep up the high level play.
Lastly, Dunkin’ Go Nuts (Zac Vance and Chris Hornacek) landed in second place at the last Southeast Tour event in Charlotte. Although the pair only beat a few mashup teams to find that finish, they should not be counted out this weekend.
Caleb Royse of Cho's Bros follows through on a hit at SummerSpike 2018.
There are a handful of Southeast Premier teams looking for success this weekend, including Cho’s Bros, Chocolate Milk, Bungee_Cord, Last Resort, and Phoenix.
This has been an exciting year for Women’s roundnet. At the last Southeast Tour event in Charlotte, the #1 ranked Ogres Heroes (Alli Kauffman and Becca Graham) outlasted Razzmatazz (Tori Farlow and Jordi Vigna) in two sets of Grand Finals. At the Santa Monica Grand Slam a week later, Razzmatazz edged out Ogres and handed them their first tournament loss in two years. A week after that at SummerSpike 2018, Farlow teamed with Ashley Gingerich of Cougs defeated Ogres Heroes again.
This weekend in Nashville, Ogres Heroes, Cougs, and #5 MOXIE (Julie Haselton and Jenna Coleman) will be in attendance. Gingerich of Cougs will have a chance to defeat Ogres Heroes again, this time with her normal partner Michaela Hershberger. Of course, this is also a chance for Ogres to land back on top after two second place finishes. Adding MOXIE, who placed third at SummerSpike, to the fray creates a new threat for both Ogres and Cougs as well.
Julie Haselton of MOXIE hits a ball at SummerSpike 2018.
A mashup team that could compete with the three about is Bronze Kneecap, the mix of Jackie Yoo of Doctor’s Orders and Olivia Jenkins of Twinz. Shook Up, the team of Sarah Zook and Krista Shrock, is another team to look out for.
Thirty-four teams will be coming to Nashville to compete in the Advanced Division. There are many mashups filling this division as well as a few established teams.
A few of the top contenders are teams which feature a Premier player. Two of these are Turkey Jerky (Ezra Dantowitz and Carter Clem) and Straight Sauce (David Gonzales and John Zook). There are also some strong Southeast mash-ups, like Aces Full (Tripp Pierson and Fredric Hinkle).
The Nashville Grand Slam will feature the 2018 return of Scott Wilson of Nashburgh and Kyle Kirkman of RIP as they team up as King Kyle & the Magician Wilson. Vinny Bonta, who placed fourth in Nashville last year, will be teaming with his early 2016 partner Sam Thompson as Usual Suspects.
A few other teams to look out for are Chiro Spikes (Drew Kline and Chandler Boggs), Origin Legacy (Jack Matthews and Avery Frain), and Zig Zag (Zeke Friedman and Zach Webb).
There are tons of other teams that can make a splash, so let us know what you think will happen in the Prediction Poll!
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