It finally happened: Kim Hildreth and Maryna Samoday won their first NVL championship.
They beat Priscilla Piantadosi-Lima and Anne Osburn 21-18, 21-19 Sunday in Virginia Beach, after twice losing in the finals this season to go along with a third-place finish and a seventh.
“I have no words. I couldn’t believe it,” Samoday said. “We finally got there.”
Hildreth added, “I thought, ‘Oh my god, we won the championship. We finally won the championship.’ I had to be detached and be in another place in order to stay calm and do my job.”
On the men’s side, Skylar DelSol/Piotr Marciniak beat Mike DiPierro/Steve Grotowski 21-12, 18-21, 15-11, their third victory of the year.
Hildreth and Samoday have made significant sacrifices to improve their games together.
“Hard work pays off, definitely,” Samoday said.
Hildreth, a Florida resident, traveled to Chicago for about six weeks this summer in order to practice with Samoday. Samoday sacrificed time with her toddler Maxwell.
“It feels so good to win,” Hildreth said. “We sacrificed a lot to be here. It’s been so hard for her to be away from her baby, and she’ll be so happy to see her baby when she gets home. We’ve been working so hard to improve our game.”
DelSol was happy to have the win.
“We train hard. We train hard all year. We hit the gym, pump iron, and train all day in the sun. It feels good to have it pay off,” he said.
In the first set, DelSol/Marciniak were able to take advantage of a stiff Virginia breeze, ripping high-velocity jump serves to the lines and into the middle to dominate the good side and win easily 21-12.
The wind quieted significantly by the second set, and DiPierro/Grotowski cashed in on a few Grotowski blocks of DelSol and DiPierro chipped in a couple of digs to win the second 21-18.
The third set was all DelSol/Marciniak 15-9.
“We had to make adjustments in the third,” Marciniak said. “We had to serve more consistently, and be more disciplined in our defense. We sided out better, which helped.”
NVL Player’s Championships pairings
With three wins, the pair have established themselves as the team to beat in the upcoming $100,000 NVL Player’s Championships September 8-11 in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Players must have competed in at least two NVL events this year in order to be eligible.
Although a number of changes could occur based on partner shuffling due to injuries/points/compatibility, the top-12 eligible teams are:
1. Piotr Marciniak/Skylar DelSol, 5520 points
2. Dave Palm/Eric Zaun, 4740 points
3. Mike DiPierro/Steve Grotowski, 4440 points
4. Martin Caban/Petr Doubravsky, 4080 points
5. Jon Mesko/Travis Schoonover, 3660 points
6. John-Michael Plummer/Christopher Vaughan, 3600 points
7. Skyler McCoy/Brandon Joyner, 3180 points
8. Drew Mallin/Ryan Vandenburg, 3180 points
9. Philip Burrow/Tyler Lesneski, 3120 points
10. Drew Hamilton/Daniel Lindsey, 2820 points
11. Matthew Clayton/Kristopher Fraser, 2700 points
12. Adam Cabbage/John Moran, 2640 points
1. Karolina Marciniak/Raquel Ferreira, 5640 points
2. Kimberly Hildreth/Maryna Samoday, 5040 points
3. Priscilla Piantadosi-Lima/Anne Osburn, 4560 points
4. Chara Harris/Jennifer Snyder, 3720 points
5. Meghan Mannari/Taylor Nyquist, 3480 points
6. Kyra Lancon/Jayna Duke, 3180 points
7. Molly Menard/Michelle Williams, 3000 points
8. Kaley Melville/Laurie Bachler, 2880 points
9. Chelsea Hayes/Mariko Coverdale, 2400 points
10. Lindsey Fuller/Alicia Zamparelli-Flavia, 2340 points
(Due to partner switches, 11th and 12th place teams not available until the entry deadline)
Piantadosi-Lima/Osburn’s second-place finish is the first tournament final for this team, put together when Osburn’s partner, Megan Rice, returned to school, and Piantadosi-Lima’s partner, Kristen Batt-Rohr, injured her shoulder. The team’s third-place finish is especially promising given that the pair only had the opportunity to practice once before this tournament …
Raquel Ferreira experienced a possible knee injury in the semifinals against Piantadosi-Lima/Osburn. Up one set and ahead 19-16, Ferreira collided awkwardly at the net, suffering significant discomfort. Ferreira and partner Karolina Marciniak hobbled through and closed set two 22-20, and the ran the I-formation in set three but lost 15-9 …
The men’s final was a very friendly competition: The two teams shared the same player’s box during time-outs and between games.