A record number of teams competed at Vancouver Open 2017! We made sure Volleyball BC’s last stop of the 2017 Pro Beach Tour was the most entertaining…
Vancouver Open Recap
Entering the 32-team playoffs was more difficult this year as Volleyball BC had a record number of teams looking to compete for a piece of $15,000 cash – as well as the elusive title of Vancouver Open Champion. 34 men’s and 23 women’s teams fought hard in the Friday Vancouver Open Qualifiers where only 8 teams on each side were allowed to advance into the main draw.
With 226 matches played over 3 full days, nearly 20,000 people watched or walked past our summer’s most popular event. There were several matches where we saw upwards of 850 people cheering on the volleyball action from the bleachers and beverage garden!
Thank you so much to this year’s Vancouver Open Sponsors: Vancouver Island Brewing Canuck Volleyball JOLYN My Matcha Life MVMTLAB Subway Canada Modu-Loc Fence Rentals 6 Pack Beach Vancouver – Indoor Beach Center.
There were many interesting story lines entering this past weekend’s tournament. Read all about it here.
Langley native Mike Plantinga and Scarborough (ON) partner Grant O’Gorman delivered according to their tournament #1 ranking. Plantinga/O’Gorman finished the tournament with a match record of 6-1. The pair lost to #4 ranked Gabe Burlacu and Jake MacNeil earlier in the tournament in 3 sets before exacting revenge on the Ontario duo in the Open finals (21-15, 18-21, 15-11). This is Plantinga’s first Open title. O’Gorman had previously won a title in 2015 with team mate Sam Pedlow.
A highlight of the weekend was Vancouver’s Jonny Wiskar and teammate Maverick Hatch playing against Beach Olympians (and #2 ranked) Martin Reader and Josh Binstock. Hatch had won the Open twice himself and was a late substitute partner due to an ankle injury to Matt Lebourdais. #3 ranked Wiskar, who had already held the title of having the most cash winnings from the Pros circuit with the KBVA, came out of the 2017 Van Open with an extra title of the #LocalLegend after a thrilling 3 set win against Reader/Binstock (21-15, 19-21, 15-11)
Binstock, who had just won gold at the Maccabi Games in Israel on July 13th spent little to no time recovering before flying back to Vancouver to join Reader at the Open. The pair were on their 6th match of the weekend before Binstock landed gingerly, holding his back in pain. With the 21-13 first set lead, the pair could not finish the match as well as they hoped even with Reader hitting nearly every second ball. The Canadian beach Olympians lost 2-1 (21-13, 19-21, 8-15) against Burlacu/MacNeil. Binstock showed every bit of sportsmanship and showmanship, but due to injury had to forfeit the Bronze finals to Wiskar/Hatch.
Tournament #4 seed Tammy Thomas and partner Rachel Cockrell went undefeated in matches 6-0 to win the Vancouver Open with a sets won/loss record of 12-3. This is the first time either Thomas and Cockrell have won the Open title. Cockrell had finished 2nd in both 2015 and 2016.
Local Kits favourites and #1 seeded Kumiko Chow and Denise Wooding fell short against #9 seed Tessa Davis and Caleigh Cruikshank. Chow/Wooding lost in the semi-finals and the bronze match, both matches losing in the 3rd set 15-13. The pair captured bronze in 2016.
19-year old twins Josie and Kearley Abbott, who were ranked 30th in the 2016 Vancouver Open, came into the 2017 playoffs ranked 7th, but fell short finishing tied for 5th for the second year.
Results of the Youth Open can be found here.
Tournament’s Biggest Climbs
Men’s – Dallas Keith & Devon Dunn. Ranked 27th, finished 9th
(Won against #6 Galloway/Littleman, #11 Caschetto/Wetulani)
Women’s – Isabela Lima & Jana Weir. Ranked 17th, finished 9th
(Won against #16 Riley/Soolsma, #18 Beck/Chioccarello, #8 Lepp/Frustaci [34-32, 21-11])
Closing off the 2017 Volleyball BC Pro Tour.
It was a neck-to-neck race for the title of 2017 VBC Pro Beach Tour Champion over the last pro event. Pro athletes had to earn points based on their finishes at all 5 VBC Pro Tour stops this summer and both Dave Beleznay and Pablo Vidal were tied at 719 points, while Jayme Lepp held a 4 point lead over Rachelle Thomas with 720.
Vidal ultimately came on top with after finishing 7th at the Open, while Beleznay, the 2016 Tour Champion, finished 9th.
Call it back-to-back Tour Championships titles for Rachelle Thomas! Jayme Lepp has had an incredibly strong run at the Pro Tour this summer with multiple top side finishes – and a 2017 Penticton Pro title to her name. Thomas finished 9th while Lepp finished 13th at the Open, which put them at a tie of 890 points each, but according to VBC Pro Beach Tour rules, the title, and $1000 cash prize, is awarded to the tied athletes who finishes highest at the last tour event.
This concludes the 2017 VBC Pro Beach Tour. The last VBC beach event of the summer will be the Big West Volleyfest, also known as Beach Provincials August 5 – 7 at Spanish Banks Beach.
Want to see all the pictures?
All professional pictures are shot by Derek Stevens Photography.
Did we miss anything? Let us know at communications[at]volleyballbc.org.
Read the recap of the 2016 Vancouver Open here.