PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — This was a great place for a honeymoon.
Newlyweds Piotr and Karolina Marciniak and their respective partners celebrated big victories Sunday as they each took home the top prize of $10,000 at the season-ending $100,000 NVL Player’s Championship at Club Med Sandpiper Bay.
Piotr teamed with Skylar DelSol to win the men’s, while Karolina teamed with Priscilla Piantadosi-Lima to win the women’s. It’s the second time the Marciniaks doubled after also doing so at the NVL Columbus two months ago.
What’s more, Marciniak/DelSol won at four of the six NVL stops this year. Sunday, they beat Drew Mallin/Ryan Vanderburg in the final 21-15, 21-19
“The longer you play together, the better it gets,” Marciniak said. “We weren’t consistent throughout the tournament, but we stick together, and we work on our weaknesses. We have been able to keep pressure on our opponents, which usually allows us to win.”
This was the second time the pair won the tour finals here.
“We love it here,” DelSol said. “It’s hot and humid, it’s a physical game, eating properly and staying hydrated are so important here. It’s a big part of the game out here in Florida.”
In the women’s final, Marciniak/Piantadosi-Lima survived a hard-fought, three-set battle with Virginia Beach winners Kim Hildreth/Maryna Samoday 18-21, 21-19, 15-12.
Marciniak’s blocks and Piantadosi-Lima’s digs offset Hildreth’s aces.
“They served very well,” Piantadosi-Lima said. “They served super-tough from the first point to the last point. We did a really good job of staying with them. They made a couple of mistakes towards the end, which gave us a little breather. They were serving so tough that our plan at the end was to get the ball up, wait, and come in strong.”
“They are a very good team.”, Marciniak said. “They know the game they play. They were waiting for us to make a mistake, but overall, we took care of our side.”
Marciniak/Piantadosi-Lima had not played together since 2014, when they won five of six stops on the NVL tour.
Before the tournament, Piantadosi-Lima said the teamwork would come back easily, “like riding a bike.”
“We had a few sets yesterday (Saturday) where it was fluid, we were just playing around like we used to,” Piantadosi-Lima said. “It wasn’t nearly as easy today.”
There was a tough ending to the men’s semifinals match between Mallin/Vandenburg and Adam Cabbage/John Moran.
Down 14-13 in the third, Moran was called for an illegal set to end the match.
In subsequent dinner discussions, referee Scott Long admitted that the call was “a little tight for the circumstances.”
Also, No. 2 seed Dave Palm/Eric Zaun went out early and finished 13th.