New Jersey’s first-ever Tour Stop will see over 150 teams play on just the second beach ever used for an East Tour Stop; the only other being Coney Island.
Headlining the 62-team Advanced Division is the seemingly untouchable and #1 ranked Cisek/Showalter (Tyler Cisek and Peter Jon Showalter). At this time last season the pair had lost the Boston Grand Slam at the hands of Anchored LI. This season, though, Cisek and Showalter remain undefeated. With few top competitors in attendance, fans can expect to see Cisek/Showalter earn their eighth set of pitchers tomorrow.
#3 Hilltop Spikes (Max Model and Cole Model) is poised to be Cisek/Showalter's fiercest challenger in New Jersey. As we saw at SummerSpike 2018, both Model brothers have the serving prowess to earn breaks against C/S. This will not be enough, though, and Hilltop will need to play impeccable offense to take out the #1 team in the country.
Hilltop Spikes plays defense at the Montreal Tour Stop.
Rounding out top ten teams in attendance is #6 The (717). Caleb Heck and Joel Graham have reached Tour Stop semifinals four times this season but are still seeking their first Tour Stop final appearance. Without a fortunate bracket draw, they’ll need to do something they’ve yet to achieve this season: upset C/S or Hilltop.
#18 Rock Paper Singer (Blake Rock and Artie Singer), #21 Shmaneuvments (Brandon Spector and Nick Abramson), and #23 Old Line State (Mark Borunda and James Swanson) are the three other power-ranked teams competing on Saturday. None of these three teams have a top 4 finish at a Tour Stop in 2018 and earning one here could catapult them up the Power Ranking.
Two other teams threatening to make the podium are the mash-up teams Baddd and Boozee (Chris Hornacek and Harding Brumby) and Santowitz (Nick Sant and Ezra Dantowitz). Hornacek and Brumby’s power/finesse combo will be a tough out for any team, while Sant and Dantowitz will rely on scrappy defense to earn breaks against the top teams.
Nick Sant of Santowitz hits a ball at the Montreal Tour Stop.
Fresh off their third-place finish in the SummerSpike 2018 Advanced Division, Donald Fung and Chris Rampino of Godspeed are competing in their first Premier power pool. This weekend will also feature the 2018 debut of Salty Meat (Josh Swimm and Jon Schafer) and Spikealogical Warfare (Cam and Chris Esposito). Finishing out the Premier power pools are three mashup teams: BentOn Winning (Des Benton and George Rizk), we give up (Pierre-Luc Laramee and Marc Mclaughlin), and Lapp Vance (Josh Lapp and Zac Vance).
Perhaps the most exciting element of the Advanced Division will occur during pool play, but it won’t be within the power pools. With 14 Premier teams guaranteed the top seeds, non-premier teams will be pushing for the 15-18 seeds to have a good draw to make the round of 16. If only Premier teams reach the quarterfinals, the top-finishing non-premier team earn the Breakout Baller award and a Premier qualification.
With seven half-premier teams and countless other strong advanced teams competing, pool play will be critical for these teams to secure an achievable path to Premier status.
We asked the community to vote in a Prediction Poll! Here are the results:
Advanced Top 4
|Cisek/Showalter - Tyler Cisek and Peter Jon Showalter||37||8||1||0||174|
|Hilltop Spikes - Max Model and Cole Model||7||35||2||1||138|
|The  (Atlas) - Joel Graham and Caleb Heck||0||1||19||17||58|
|Baddd and Boozee - Harding Brumby and Chris Hornacek||1||1||19||11||56|
|Santowitz - Ezra Dantowitz and Nick Sant||0||0||3||9||15|
|H‰agen-DanskÆ - Daniel Dantowitz and Soren Krabbe||2||1||0||0||11|
|All Smiles - Mitch Wirth and Direlle Stauffer||1||0||0||1||5|
|Rock Paper Singer - Artie Singer and Blake Rock||0||0||1||2||4|
|Slippery When Wet - Brooks Anderson and Kyle Ackermann||0||1||0||1||4|
|Cuidado Piso Mojado - Ian Timan and Nicholas LoPrinzi||1||0||0||0||4|
|Wavy Cheddar - Joseph Campiglia and Michael Campiglia||1||0||0||0||4|
|Ogres Heroes - Becca Graham and Alli Kauffman||0||0||0||3||3|
|Cy and I - Yiorgos Argyros and Cyrus Hadavi||0||1||0||0||3|
|Dos Bros - David Hidalgo-Gato and Dan Abrams||0||1||0||0||3|
Advanced Top 8
|Cisek/Showalter - Tyler Cisek and Peter Jon Showalter||40|
|Hilltop Spikes - Max Model and Cole Model||39|
|Baddd and Boozee - Harding Brumby and Chris Hornacek||38|
|The  (Atlas) - Joel Graham and Caleb Heck||38|
|Rock Paper Singer - Artie Singer and Blake Rock||37|
|Santowitz - Ezra Dantowitz and Nick Sant||34|
|s - Nicholas Abramson and bra s||22|
|Lapp Vance - Zac Vance and Josh Lapp||14|
|BentOn Winning - Desmond Benton and George Rizk||13|
|Old Line State - Mark Borunda and James Swanson||12|
|Ogres Heroes - Becca Graham and Alli Kauffman||11|
|Mickginny - Anthony Alvino and Stephen McNamara||10|
|Salty Meat - Joshua Swimm and Jon Schafer||9|
|we give up - pierre luc laramee and marcetienne mclaughlin||9|
|H‰agen-DanskÆ - Daniel Dantowitz and Soren Krabbe||4|
|Slippery When Wet - Brooks Anderson and Kyle Ackermann||4|
|Spikealogical Warfare - Chris Esposito and Cam Esposito||4|
|The hustle - Brandon Good and Kale Weaver||4|