Chula Vista, Calif. –- Southern California teams dominated the USA Volleyball Beach HP U19 World Trials this past Saturday as Tim Brewster (Woodland Hills, Calif.) and John Schwengel (Santa Monica, Calif.) defeated Marcus and Miles Partain (Pacific Palisades, Calif.) Saturday 16-21, 21-19, 16-14 in the final of the men’s division.
On the women’s side, Devon Newberry (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Lindsey Sparks (Huntington Beach, Calif.) outlasted Meg Kraft (San Diego, Calif.) and Maya Harvey (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) 21-18, 28-26.
The top teams earn the automatic bid for the 2018 FIVB U19 World Championships in Nanjing, China, June 26-July 1. The second- and third-place finishers may also qualify following the FIVB’s awards process. In all, 30 teams (11 men, 19 women) competed.
The men’s final featured a dramatic third-set comeback by Brewster and Schwengel, who recovered from an 8-2 deficit to win.
“We started off game three with a block, but went down pretty fast,” Schwengel said. “It’s never good to be down by that much, but you just have to keep going. Anything can happen.”
“It was crazy,” Brewster said. “We talked to our coach, we said ‘We’ve been training hard, let’s find our way back in here, let’s just fight through it.”
Brewster said serving was the key.
“We started hitting our serving spots, before we weren’t serving that well. Once we started hitting our spots and getting them out of system that really helped us get some digs and transition points.”
Top-seeded Newberry and Sparks were tested in the 28-26 second set of the final, which included multiple lead changes.
“Honestly, all we wanted to do was finish it and win in two,” Newberry said. “We knew we could, we deserved it, and decided we just had to keep going.”
Newberry and Sparks were remarkably consistent throughout the tournament, winning all five of their matches in straight sets against tough competition. Sparks knew that they had to stay steady under the pressure of being the top seed.
“Part of it was being ranked first,” Sparks said. “We knew we were the ones everyone wanted to beat, we had a huge target on our backs, we had to stay steady.”
Newberry was thrilled.
“I’ve never been (to China),” she said. “I’ve never been so excited in my life.”
In the third-place matches, Dane Johnson (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Jason Gibbs (Bellaire, Texas) defeated Eli Margetts (Brownsburg, Ind.) and Jacob Titus (Hendersonville, Tenn.) 21-14, 21-17.
Third place in the women’s division went to Maple Kriz (Austin, Texas) and Delaynie Maple (Temecula, Calif.), who defeated Olivia Bakos (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Peri Brennan (Laguna Beach, Calif.) 21-18, 21-18.
For full results, see below. Full gallery of 625 photos posted here.