2010 Volleyball Finals

In the Ocean Division the big story was not in the finals where the Sugar Bowl won for the second consecutive season, but instead in a stunning first round upset.  Freehands Court Champs is considered year in and year out to be the best team in Rockaway.  This year is no different compiling a 38-12 record against the best teams in the league.  In fact it was rumored that they threw a few games in the last week of the season to assure a first round match against the 19-31 Flip Cup All Stars.  The All Stars are a young up and coming team but headed into the playoffs missing one of their top players, Keny Kearns to an ankle injury.  They have weaknesses though, including an aged leader, John Sica whose best volleyball days were in the 1990ís.  On paper the match was a mismatch.  But of course the games are not played on paper, they are played on sand and rocks of Riis park.  Things went as planned in game one, with Freehands taking the first game pretty easily 21-15.  Rich, Bernie, Scotty and Mark were their usual hard hitting selves, behind great sets from Marie, Clair and Regina.  One thing happened in the first game though that had a bearing on the entire match, John Sica and Mike Gambino were successful at blocking many of Freehands hard hits.  Another factor was a new defensive scheme that Brian Sica had devised to hide their weaknesses.  And  lastly they deployed their best setter, Liz Murphy to set on every play, which she did with spectacular results.  As the match went on Freehands stopped doing what they do best and seemed to adapt their game to the Flip Cup strategy.  When the Flip Cup won the second game, no one really thought much about it.  But when they were winning game three with a big lead, word spread throughout the beach and people began to take notice.  Brian and Mike Sica were getting to every ball, and came up with some of their best swings of their lives.  Katey Salica and Trish Sica played great defense as back line players.  With the Flip Cup up 2-1 in games and 20-18 in game 4 Rich hit a monster shot that Brian was able to dig out, and at that point it was inevitable.  The All Stars celebrated the victory like it was the championship, because of the great respect they have for Freehands.  After that they came out flat against the Sugar Bowl who for the second straight year are champions behind great play of Mike Martin, Nicky Neese, Katey Lux, Pete and Mike Mann, James OReily,and John Henley.


Some pictures from the Federations Match


And the Post Game Party