Battle on the Beach
HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. (July 19, 2013) – A bystander reading the score sheet might think it’s a mistake, or that he or she is misreading a referee’s sloppy handwriting. But no, it’s the truth.
| Turner Longyear, left, hits against Matt Yoshimoto
At the 2013 USA Volleyball Beach High Performance Championships (Beach HPC) on Friday in Hermosa Beach, Calif., the men's under-17 duo of Matt Yoshimoto and Kyle Skinner defeated Turner Longyear and Rob Mullahey, 21-19, 39-41, 15-9.
It was a match for the ages that left Yoshimoto face down in the sand five hours later, trying to recuperate.
“Once [the score] got past 30, both teams were kind of like, ‘oh my gosh, are we going to get through this?’ ” Skinner said. “We’d never played this long before.”
Yoshimoto and Skinner were excited going into the match, as it was the first of the tournament that they were facing fellow members of the national team. After Yoshimoto and Skinner won a close first set, Longyear and Mullahey had a message for them.
“Before the second [set] they came over to us and they were like, ‘Alright, we’re gonna get you guys in this game,’ ” Skinner said, laughing.
The set remained close for its entirety, and the two teams found themselves tied at 21-21. It was a seesaw battle from there to 41-39. Each team ran out of timeouts, leaving the players exhausted and with no margin for error.
“Just sideout after sideout,” Yoshimoto said of the team’s performance. “We just kept trying to win to get it over.”
“Each team was 100 percent consistency, really playing our hardest and not making any mistakes,” agreed Skinner. “Just thinking about every single touch and every contact. Once it went past 21, no errors.
“We kept telling each other, ‘one more point, one more point, one more point.’ ”
Yoshimoto and Skinner ended up losing the second set but rebounded to win the third, taking the match 2-1.
“Getting that break in between games was kind of resetting,” Skinner said. “OK, it’s a new game, it’s the final one, let’s play our hardest and let’s win this one.”
All that work has paid off, as Yoshimoto and Skinner finished pool play with a perfect 5-0 record. Only one week into their partnership, they have set their sights high.
“Hopefully to medal,” Yoshimoto said of their goal for the tournament.
“I want to play the Canadian team,” Skinner said. “I’ve seen them play and they’re a great team. It’d be cool to meet them in the finals.”
Meantime, Yoshimoto and Skinner were content to lounge courtside and let other teams do the playing.
For match schedules and results, click here.
2013 USA Volleyball Beach High Performance Championships
U15 Girls: July 19-21
U17 Girls: July 18-20
U19 Girls: July 19-21
U21 Women: Gold - Jace Pardon (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Lara Dykstra (Redondo Beach, Calif.); Silver - Sophie Asprey (Dallas, Texas) and Becca Strehlow (Long Beach, Calif.); Bronze - Kamila Tan (San Diego, Calif.) and Emily Podschweit (Denver, Colo.)
U26 Women: Gold - Stevi Robinson (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) and Kaitlin Ledoux (Phelan, Calif.); Silver - Leah Hinkey (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) and Emily Stockman (Hermosa Beach, Calif.); Bronze - Kirby Burnham (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Meg Norton (Pacific Palisades, Calif.)
U15 Boys: July 18-20
U17 Boys: July 18-20
U19 Boys: July 19-21
U21 Men: Gold - Branden Clemens (Carmel, Ind.) and Chris Long (Tustin, Calif.); Silver - Brendan Duff (Carmel, Ind.) and Cody Martin (Tucson, Ariz.); Bronze - Skyler McCoy (Long Beach, Calif.) and Austin Rysyk (San Jose, Calif.)
U26 Men: Gold - Adam Cabbage (Rio Ranchero, N.M.) and Rob Paige (Rochester, N.Y.); Silver - Kyle Stevenson (Ranchos Palos Verdes, Calif.) and Martin Lorenz (Spokane, Wash.); Bronze - Weston Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Kevin Villea (Glendale, Ariz.)