Burik, Lee upset Williams, Huber

Film Room Friday: The indoor Olympian Takes Down the Beach Olympian

It’s not all that often we get to see a clash of Olympians from two separate sports — and yes, we do count indoor volleyball and beach volleyball as two separate sports, though they obviously have their similarities.

But that’s exactly what happened in p1440’s first event in San Jose this past September, in the first round of the contender’s bracket, no less. Mark Burik, a veteran on the beach, had scooped up David Lee, a three-time Olympian for the United States indoor team, and the two qualified for San Jose’s main draw via the Zuma Beach qualifier.

Alexander Huber, who competed in the 2016 Olympic Games for Austria alongside Robin Seidl, upsetting Americans Casey Patterson and Jake Gibb in pool play. He needed no such qualifier to get the main draw invite, picking up South African Leo Williams for the tournament.

It’s always a matter of intrigue to see how indoor players transition to the beach. It’s a different ball, different court size, different rules, four less players on the court. Though Lee is endearingly self-deprecating of his beach game, his transition has been smoother than most, making two AVP main draws as well as San Jose.

“I’m trying but I’m still so far away,” Lee said after the Zuma Beach qualifier. “You calling me a beach player means you just haven’t seen me play. But I am giving it a go. It’s taking a long time because I haven’t put in the work. If I do want to make the transition it’s going to take, in the off-season, putting in four days, five days a week.”

Turns out, it took less than that for him to upset Huber and Williams in San Jose. Lee and Burik toppled the Austrian Olympian in straight sets, 21-19, 21-19 just one match after Huber and Williams pushed Latvians — and eventual tournament champs — Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Martins Plavins to 16-18 in the third set.

Enjoy our Film Room Friday of the Indoor Olympian vs. the Beach Olympian.