Summer success

Matt Molloy
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New beach volleyball league ends season on high note

It was a year of fun and a year of learning for those involved with the new Grand Falls-Windsor Beach Volleyball League.

Zach Cook and Joanie Pinsent compete in the mixed division of the Grand Falls-Windsor Beach Volleyball League. The first year of the league just finished, but organizer Dave Jewer plans on organizing another beach league next summer.

Organized by longtime volleyball player and coach, Dave Jewer, the league attracted men’s, women’s and mixed teams.

Players had to get used to playing with a different set of volleyball rules and playing outdoors on sand, but as the season went on, Jewer saw a lot of improvement.

In fact, it got to the point where teams started to form their own game plans.

“It went as expected,” said Jewer. “It was learning year, and we figured out a lot of bugs and learned a lot of new rules that we obviously didn’t know. As it went on, I saw a lot of improvement in a lot of players and a lot of teams, and we started to approach the game the actual way beach volleyball is supposed to be played.”

Five teams competed in the men’s division, which Jewer believes was a decent number for men, and eight mixed teams and six women’s teams.

All games during the regular season took place on Sunday, but now that the season is over, Jewer believes the last day of the week probably wasn’t the best day to schedule games.

“I don’t think Sunday was the ideal day after all,” said Jewer. “We did have a meeting (before the start of the season) to talk about it, and everybody was pretty happy with having it on Sunday. As the league went on, however, we all started to lean towards having games mid-week.”

Moving forward, Jewer said he “definitely” plans on organizing the league again next year.

When that time comes, he expects returning players to be more familiar with the rules and style of play.

Luckily, a veteran provincial beach volleyball player arrived at the courts next to Centennial Field during the season, and explained some of the rule differences between beach volleyball and indoor volleyball.

“We were lucky enough to have a young man that played beach volleyball at the Canada Games with Newfoundland and Labrador, Steve Winsor. He came along and saw us all playing one day, so he came down and picked up a game and started explaining a bunch of stuff to us,” said Jewer. “A free ball, for example, in the indoor game, I teach all of my athletes that, when and if you can, a free ball should be volleyed 99 per cent of the time. You can’t volley a free ball when you get into the beach game.

“I’d say it’s been said 500 million times this summer, ‘Crap, I can’t volley a free ball.’ For the most part, it’s instinct in the indoor game to volley a free ball, so you have to adjust when playing beach rules.”

Competitors will also play on two quality courts as opposed to one. When the league started this summer, there was only one quality court, while the second needed maintenance and repair.

Before the season ended, the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor repaired the court that needed it, and Jewer said the beach volleyball competitors noticed the change, and appreciated it.

“It was a great year, especially with all the help we got from the Town,” said Jewer. “Keith Antle (Parks and Recreation foreman) and Dave Nichols (Director of Parks and Recreation) got the second court done and it was playable…and everybody in the league was ecstatic about that.

“It’s great to see the way the Town is going with its recreation programs. To me, they seem to be there more now than ever before, and I’ve been involved with recreational and competitive sports in Grand Falls-Windsor for quite some time. I don’t know what it is, but it seems like everyone is working more with each other.”

Tyler Marsh and Zach Sullivan were champions in the men’s division, the father and daughter team of Jewer and D’onna Jewer took home the mixed title, while D’onna Jewer and Rebecca Noel won the women’s division.

Jewer said the plan is to have a three-day schedule next year, with the early possibility being Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

According to the way everyone reacted to the scheduling during playoffs, next year’s season should attract even more interest.

“The happiest everybody was, was at the year-end because we had a bunch of matches that day, and it was all based around a certain division. We had the men going on a Friday, mixed was Saturday and the women on Sunday,” said Jewer. “Instead of trying to squeeze all of the matches in, we had a nice, long relaxing tournament. Everybody was more than happy with everything, and I think they’re excited about the league coming back next year.”

Nothing is set in stone, but Jewer has expressed interest in starting an indoor women’s volleyball league in Grand Falls-Windsor over the winter.

Twitter: @TiserSports

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