By Lethbridge Herald on July 10, 2018.
In a beach volleyball battle for the ages — or perhaps of the ages — the Spring Chickens prevailed over the Oldie Goldies.
Capping off the beach volleyball portion of the Southern Alberta Summer Games Saturday afternoon at the MD of Taber Park, the Spring Chickens got past the Oldie Goldies to capture the gold medal in the 17+ Open Coed Fours division in an all-Taber showdown.
However, with both teams battling under a blazing sun and most likely being taunted by the inflatable pool set up nearby, the Oldie Goldies pushed the Spring Chickens to a third set before the team consisting of Damon Holmen, Brittany Baker, Leanne Sinclair and Adrian Horvath eked out a 15-13 win.
“It was really fun because the two guys on the team I actually coached at the St. Mary’s High School team with this year,” said Holmen, not only of the Spring Chickens, but one of the beach volleyball organizers. “So there was some friendly rivalry there. The old guys versus the young guys. They took it to us in the first set, we made mistakes, they didn’t. And then we said ‘Well, we just have to tire these guys out a little bit,’ and it seemed to work out in the end.”
Not too shabby on an ending for a Spring Chickens team chucked together for the SASG.
“We’ve never played together before,” said Holmen, who eventually took advantage of the pool with a refreshing post-game soak. “When I was organizing, we had five teams for this division, so we just threw a team together at the last minute just to make the schedule balanced. So it worked out.”
Not only a the team hastily put together, it was also Baker’s first attempt at beach volleyball while also coming off an injury.
“It was a lot of fun, it was my first actual beach tournament,” said Baker. “I’m just coming back from an injury, too, so the leg held up and we won, so you can’t complain.”
However, as a former university volleyball player in Montana, it wasn’t as though Baker was completely out of her element.
“I’ve been done for a while now and just play coed now,” said Baker. “It’s a different game. I normally swing in indoor, I’m a power hitter, right side. So setting in this was pretty rare, I don’t normally do this. It’s a different game, so I couldn’t really jump and swing.”
Rounding out the top-three and scoring a sweep for the Taber squads was the Young Guns with the bronze medal win, completing a busy weekend on the sand that began Thursday.
“Honestly, it went a lot better than I thought,” said Holmen. “On Thursday we had 16 girls teams just for the 14-16 category. So there were a lot of games going on back-and-forth and a lot of heat. Luckily it wasn’t quite as windy that day. But the girls played a lot of games and we were here pretty much all day. But we managed to stay on schedule. Friday, it went really well. It was the 17-and-over category. For the guys, it was all three Taber teams that won gold, silver and bronze. It was great volleyball.”
There was another key player on the weekend as well.
“The biggest shout out was the fire department being down here,” said Holmen.
“If we didn’t have them to soak the court and keep the sand cool and even the pool to jump into afterwards, they were a huge help. They were helping rake and everything. It was all the volunteers that helped keep it running smoothly.”
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