1. Cisek/Showalter (Peter Jon Showalter & Tyler Cisek)
Cisek/Showalter will attempt to make history this weekend as they go for their third consecutive national title. Tyler Cisek and Peter Jon Showalter have been two of the top players in roundnet for years, but securing a win at Nationals this weekend would make them the most successful team in the history of the sport. In both 2017 and 2018, C/S only surrendered one tournament loss all season (each time losing to Anchored LI). 2019 saw them lose in the quarterfinals twice (to Anchored LI in Seattle and Boysterous in Nashville). There are plenty of strong opponents in the Pro Division, but if history is any indication, C/S should be the heavy favorite.
2. Boysterous (Preston Bies & Caleb Heck)
Boysterous has been the number 2 team all season, but they’ll look to put an end to that on Saturday. Boysterous beat C/S in two games in Nashville before eventually losing to Mauktega in the finals. Boysterous then got revenge at West Regionals where they beat Mauktega in a tight 3-game final. Boysterous’s serving gives them a chance to beat C/S, but the biggest factor will be limiting mistakes. It’s common for them to have 1 or 2 unforced errors in a game and then come back to win - or maybe drop the game to then win in 3. To beat C/S they’ll need to be on their A game the whole series; there is no room for error.
3. Mauktega (Kenny Ortega & Troy Mauk)
Mauktega is the third best team in roundnet and one of two teams to win a tournament over C/S this year. Aside from a not-so-close series with C/S in Jersey - and then an epic collapse against Anchored LI - Mauktega has been stellar since June. In Nashville their clean play and strong serves earned them pitchers. Improved serving from Ortega since then only improves their chances at winning. Turf should be the best surface for Ortega’s ankles and even if they drop a series in pool play they’ll have a good path to semifinals. Flexual Healing looms large as the last game of their morning play, but if they keep up their late season form there’s no reason to think Mauktega won’t take the top seed in Pool C.
4. Anchored LI (Ryan Fitzgerald & Anthony Alvino)
Anchored LI enters Nationals with some momentum after winning East Regionals last month. Anchored LI is one of the teams with a legitimate shot to win it all considering their unmatched ability to knock off #1 Cisek/Showalter. Fitzgerald and Alvino have defeated C/S three times over the past three years, but never at the season’s final tournament. If Anchored can continue to generate breaks at an alarming rate on defense, they can compete with any team in the Pro Division. A strong pool play and favorable bracket draw should set this team up for a semifinals run.
5. Trippy Lizard (Andrew Card & Clark Marshall)
Southeast Regionals in Nashville saw Trippy turn in one of their top performances all year. They took down Flexual Healing en route to a regional title. Thanks to that showing, Card and Marshall vaulted up to #5 in the Power Rankings prior to Nationals. This team, much like Anchored LI, can find hot streaks through strong defensive play. If they are playing well throughout pool play, don’t count them out as a potential podium finisher at Nationals.
6. Flexual Healing (Travis Core & Jarratt Rouse)
First, third, third, and third make up Flexual Healing’s finishes in 2019. It will be difficult to keep that streak going at the biggest event of the year. Core and Rouse will need to take down Mauktega in pool play for a chance at a top 4 seed, but even with one loss they’ll draw one of Anchored LI, Trippy Lizard, and Graham/Throw in quarterfinals. Core and Rouse both showed improved serves throughout the season, but it’s to be seen how they’ll fair against the best teams in the field. They’re a combined 1-5 against teams currently ranked above them in pool and bracket series this season. Saturday will test the limits of Core’s athleticism and Rouse’s experience.
7. Club Spike Worldwide (Chris Wilkins & Patrick Drucker)
Despite forming as a team extremely late in the regular season, Club Spike Worldwide was able to score two second place finishes and earn a spot in the Pro Division. Drucker and Wilkins flashed their potential at Midwest Regionals, handling each of their opponents in bracket play on their way to the finals. In the finals, Worldwide was no match for Cisek_Showalter, but it was a good enough showing to land them at #7 heading into Nationals. Drucker’s serving will be the x-factor for Worldwide at Nationals. This team is very strong defensively, but will need to generate some breaks through their serves if they want to make a run at the semifinals.
8. Shake n Bake (David Gonzales & Matt Bohnen)
Shake n Bake had an up-and-down year, but their 3rd Place finish at Midwest Regionals was enough to earn them a spot in the top eight of the power rankings. Matt Bohnen’s strong serving combined with the experience and craftiness of David Gonzales make this a fun team to watch. Shake n Bake has plenty of potential to make a run at Nationals. At their best, they are a very tough team to beat, proven by their Boston Tour Stop title earlier this year. If this team is hitting their serves on Saturday, they may have what it takes to upset one of the teams ranked above them.
9. Schweppes (Micah Zimmerman & Jesse Showalter)
It has not all been good for Schweppes this year, but make no mistake, they have had some sneaky good results. Zimmerman and Showalter had second place finishes in Grand Rapids and East Regionals, along with an impressive first place finish in the Nashville Premier Division. With that said, this team has also seen some subpar finishes throughout the season. Their strong serve receive and quick reflexes on defense make up for their lackluster serving. A strong pool play could set this team up for a quarterfinal finish in Richmond.
10. Graham/Throw (Joel Graham & Jesse Throw)
Graham/Throw slides down 4 spots after a quarterfinals exit at East Regionals. More importantly, by finishing 41 points behind Spikers Synonymous they ended up in the pool of death. Graham/Throw beat Trippy Lizard both times they met this year, but have yet to face Anchored LI in bracket. The x-factor in their pool is KAPLOW! - or more accurately, Patric Chu. Chu and David Gonzales eliminated Graham/Throw in quarterfinals at Raleigh back in June. Graham/Throw will need to get back to their level of play from Columbus and Chicago to contend for a top 4 finish and secure Spikeball Elite.
11. Spikers Synonymous (Taylor Church & Tyler Stokes)
Taylor Church is back in the Pro Division, but this time with higher expectations. A loss to Kahooters in the quarter finals at West Regionals has probably fueled Spikers to prove their talent and skill at Nationals this weekend on turf. Other than placing top 4, a big focus could also be qualifying for Elite. They’ll need to finish above Graham/Throw to keep Elite hopes alive. If Stokes serves are on, this team is a scary draw for anyone in bracket.
12. Kahooters (Jacob Payer & Ryan Baillargeon)
Payer and Baillargeon can be hot and cold, but on the sand this year, they have proven to be at least warm. A big win over Spikers followed by a close semis loss to Boysterous turned heads and reminded ballers that they aren’t all foot blocks and chill vibes. The pool match-ups against Shake n Bake and Global Beans!!! are both winnable and critical for a fighting chance in bracket. Don’t be surprised to see Kahooters in a crazy entertaining round of 16 match that draws a crowd and cheers.
13. Power Sweep (Addison Powers & Micah Corbett)
Power Sweep snuck into the Pro Division with the last at large bid on points, but their #13 ranking tells the real story. Just ask any team that has competed against them and you will know how deserving this team is. Micah Corbett and Addison Powers both improved their game significantly over the past year, and they’ll look to add to their resume at Nationals. If Corbett and Powers can hit their serves, and play clean offensively, they will be a tough out for any team in the Pro Division.
14. Global Beans!!! (Zac Vance & Coleman Epperson)
Global Beans!!! earned a spot in the Pro Division and land at #14 on the Power Rankings. Zac Vance and Coleman Epperson are a fun team to watch, thanks to their stellar defense and hustle. Beans!!! will have an interesting pool at Nationals with #2 Boysterous as the clear favorite, followed by Shake n Bake and Kahooters. Vance and Epperson took down Shake n Bake in a pool play series at the Chicago Grand Slam and could match up well against Kahooters. If Vance and Epperson bring it in pool play they could steal a very good bracket play draw.
15. Hornaboles (Chris Hornacek & Skyler Boles)
Hornaboles is one of two Pro teams (other being KAPLOW!) without a bracket series win over another Pro team this season. Boles and Hornacek made Pro thanks to third place finishes at San Diego (in March) and SummerSpike. Back in March, Hornacek said “I’m going to beat [Cisek/Showalter] this year, that’s just fact.” His last (and weirdly only second) chance will come in pool play on Saturday when they face off in the second round of morning play. Based on recent results, it’d be a good result for Hornaboles to score a single win in pool play and maybe even make round of 8. It looks like these two legends are just too far past their primes to make a run.
16. KAPLOW! (Gus Gonzales & Patric Chu)
KAPLOW! is the surprise team in Pro this year after earning an auto-bid with their second place finish at Southeast Regionals. Patric Chu played a lot this year and tallied some impressive wins, but Gus Gonzales hasn’t been as active. KAPLOW! and Power Sweep have the toughest pools as #4 seeds, but Gonzales has won on the big stage before and now has a stellar server to help him do it again. They will need to score a win in pool to have a chance at a first round win in bracket.