Great digs at Skaha courts

Volleyball B.C. hosted a Penticton Pro beach series that featured talented players

PENTICTON’S LOGAN MEND digs this serve with teammate Christian Redmann

PENTICTON’S LOGAN MEND digs this serve with teammate Christian Redmann

Final matches in the Volleyball BC Penticton Pro beach volleyball championship at Skaha Lake kept spectators entertained.

The women’s and men’s finals featured the best talent.

Winning the women’s side and $400 was Nicole and Megan McNamara, earning a two-set victory against Penticton’s Tammy Thomas and Kelowna’s Rachelle Thomas, 21-18 and 21-16 on Father’s Day.

“It was a tough game. We played against a really good team,” said Nicole, who with Megan helped the South Delta Sun Devils capture a third straight B.C. School Sports girls 3A provincial volleyball championship last fall. “We play them all the time for the past three years. It’s always close. It’s fun playing against them.”

In the second set, the twins trailed 3-0 due to some mistakes they cleaned up later.

“We stopped making unforced errors. Tried to put them in trouble with our serves. It worked out,” she said.

Tammy, a Pen High grad, felt the results could have been different.

“Overall we were happy with our performance. In this tournament we had some tough games after playing quite a few easy matches,” said Tammy. “We had to come out and really perform. We did that in the last two games.”

Playing at home that day was special for the former Laker. She began tearing up while talking about her father Jim Stone, who died five years ago.

“He actually built these courts,” said Tammy, adding that Paul Mend added to what her father started. “To get to play where my dad helped worked to build, it’s pretty cool. It’s a great day to celebrate him and it’s a great day to celebrate everyone’s dads.”

The men’s side was won by Johnny Wiskar and Dan Caverly, who defeated Ryan Gandy and Dave Beleznay 14-21, 21-16 and 15-12.

“It’s the best feeling ever. Best drug in the world,” said Wiskar. “There’s nothing like it. Especially when you work so hard for two straight days.”

Until the championship match, Wiskar and Caverly didn’t face a blocker as big as Gandy. That was an adjustment for the pair.

“They were playing very well in the first. We adjusted in the second and we started mixing up who we were serving to,” said Wiskar. “We had success with that. We were just going at Dave in the first set. He was playing pretty well.”

One of the teams Caverly and Wiskar defeated en route to the finals was Penticton’s Logan Mend and partner Christian Redmann, a Canadian national member. After winning two of three games, Mend and Redmann’s only loss in pool play came against Gandy and Beleznay. Mend and Redmann lost to the champs 21-14 and 21-17.

“There was a lot of good competition from the coast out here,” said Mend, who returned after completing his first volleyball season with York University. “Every game was a pretty tough battle.”

Playing with Redmann was a memorable experience.

“Definitely a step up from playing with a non-national team player,” said Mend. “It was a great learning experience for sure.”

It was Wiskar’s first time playing in Penticton and he was very impressed with what he saw.

“I think the word is getting around the scenes. This is a beautiful beach. I was blown away with the scene here,” said Wiskar, who came from Vancouver. “I went to a winery last night. Everyone has been saying that who has gone out the last two years. I’m going to go back and say that as well. It will hopefully just continue to grow.”

Tammy said the competition is getting better, adding that attracting more Vancouver teams helps.

“It’s nice that some of these teams are coming up,” she said.

She felt the pool play was weaker.

“There is a lot of teams, but are they all at that level of professional? It’s hard to say,” said Tammy.