Shifts in the Sand
By John Burbridge
CHARLES CITY — The proliferation of social media platforms may be making good old fashion email communication obsolete.
You got that impression during the opening rounds of the Comet Bowl Sand Volleyball League postseason playoffs on Thursday.
Comet Bowl owner and league director Mark Barry sent a group email to the teams’ respective captains informing that playoff sets — due to the mass number of matches scheduled to be played in two nights — were going to be shortened to 15.
Apparently few got the memo — or email — as sets were routinely being played to the normal length.
One team that seemed as if it was going to burn itself with such a transgression was Sand Slingers, sponsored by DFS.
The Slingers went into the tournament as one of the lower seeds due to their 5-9 regular-season record.
After winning the first-round match, the Sand Slingers advanced to play Team 6 in the second round.
Team 6, the league’s defending champion, matched F&AJ’s with a 13-1 regular-season record and received a first-round bye.
The upstart Slingers were the first to 15 in the best-of-three match, but both teams kept on playing unaware of the new scoring rules.
When both teams agreed to finish the first set under the normal scoring format, the Slingers looked like they blew an opportunity to take 1-0 lead as Team 6 eventually caught them.
But the Sand Slingers ended up winning the set. Then after Team 6 evened the match with a second-set victory, the Sand Slingers won the deciding third set for the tournament’s first upset.
With the tournament’s double-elimination format, brackets don’t necessarily get busted but rather get redrawn like lines in the sand. Thus, it’s not assured that there’s going to be a new champion this season as Team 6 is still alive in the tournament, which is due to conclude next Thursday (Aug. 8).
Even for the teams that are already eliminated, Barry said they’re putting together a consolation tournament in hopes to get more people and teams out for the final week of sand volleyball before the summer ends and the bowling season begins.