The beach pairs of John Hyden and Sean Scott and Tealle Hunkus and Heather Lowe are able to proudly say that they were the winners of the first-ever National Volleyball League (NVL) event. The two men and two women took home the top spots at the league’s inaugural event in Baltimore May 21, in conjunction with the Preakness horserace. The beach court was set up on the Pimlico infield at Preakness, where teams competing on Saturday found themselves smack dab in the middle of InfieldFest, a multi-entertainment festival that included live performances by Bruno Mars, Train and others.
Hyden and Scott defeated Billy Allen and Matt Prosser (21-16, 21-15) in the championship game. Without dropping a single set all weekend, the pair moved past Marcin Jagoda and Stafford Slick (21-19, 21-12), Pedro Brazao and Andrew Fuller (21-7, 21-14) and Allen and Prosser (21-14, 21-10) on Friday, and Russ Marchewka and Eyal Zimet (21-18, 26-24) in the semifinal match on Saturday.
Coming in seeded tenth on the women’s side, Hunkus and Lowe claimed their first domestic title of their pro careers after beating the top-seeded and undefeated duo of Annett Davis and Lisa Rutledge (21-17, 24-22). The victorious pair advanced to the finals after dropping a second round match the day before to Jenny Kropp and Whitney Pavlik, eventually fighting their way back through the contender’s bracket to advance to the semis and face the same team.
The NVL’s second event and California debut is scheduled for July 22 – 24 at Malibu’s Zuma Beach, where the top 32 men’s and top 32 women’s teams will compete for $75,000 in prize money. For further information visit thenvl.com.
Originally published in July 2011