More history was made on the sand at LBCC’s beach volleyball courts this week as the Moore League held its first-ever pairs tournament to decide who the best team in the city is. Finals day featured four exciting matches that demonstrated how far the sport has come in Long Beach this year at the youth level, with more growth expected next year as beach volleyball moves towards official adoption by the CIF Southern Section.
At the end of the day Wednesday, Long Beach Poly senior Adonia Faumuina and sophomore Halie McGinest won the gold medals.
“We’re feeling good, we feel like we accomplished a lot,” said Faumuina. “It was a lot of work–we’d be going from here to club practice, five hours straight of volleyball sometimes.”
“We’re working hard playing indoor club and coming out here, it’s nice to end with a win,” said McGinest. “We’ve had days where we came straight back from a club tournament to play here. This meant a lot to us, to win something for Poly.”
Their victory had been the expected result from the start of the season since Faumuina is an All-American and USC signee, and she and McGinest were motivated to win. But while the final result was what many predicted, the action on the sand was anything but routine.
The Jackrabbits pair lost their first set in the semifinals against the impressively scrappy pair of Olivia Smith and Isabella Giarla, the top-seeded duo from Millikan. Smith/Giarla won the first set against Faumuina/McGinest, 24-22.
Smith and Giarla, both underclassmen for the Rams who played lower levels during the indoor season, are an undersized duo filled with fight and effort.
The Jackrabbits rallied to win the match 22-24, 21-15, 15-13, and said they weren’t sweating when they fell behind.
“Height doesn’t matter, but height does matter,” said McGinest. “We’re 6-1 and 5-10, we can’t lose to girls that much smaller than us.”
Wilson’s Kate Eckenrode and Chloe Pravednikov handled Lakewood’s Yvonne Barnes and Nyla Hankins 21-14, 21-16 in the other semifinal to set up a championship match between the two teams who’ve been the city’s best throughout the season.
The 100 or so fans gathered were treated to a really high-quality match that featured a block on each side (with Faumuina and Pravednikov doing the honors), great serving, great passing, and high effort from both sides of the net.
With Faumuina’s impressive reach and McGinest utilizing a lethal cut shot, the Jackrabbits were able to prevail, 21-18, 21-18 to bring home the first title. Eckenrode and Pravednikov played well too as a classic big/little beach combo, with Pravednikov patrolling the net and Eckenrode flying around behind her digging balls up.
In the third place match that was played simultaneously to the championship, Lakewood’s Barnes and Hankins prevailed over Smith/Giarla to bring home the bronze for the Lancers.