Seaside Beach Volleyball

Seaside Beach Volleyball: Sweet Caroline, And Really, Really Good Volleyball


John King had to take a moment. Well, three moments, technically.

Avery Drost and Chase Frishman and Adam Roberts and Andy Benesh, playing in the winner’s quarterfinals, came out of a timeout in the second set, which was pause enough in the match. King, the head ref at Seaside, couldn’t let the match go on, though. Not with the chorus to Sweet Caroline, perfectly timed by the resident deejay, coming up.

One, touching one
Reaching out, touching me, touching you

Sweet Caroline…

The crowd, with the players conducting, took over from there:

Duh duh duh

And with that, King allowed the match to go on. Ten minutes later, it would be Drost and Frishman moving onto the semifinals, winning 21-18, 22-20.

Such is the vibe of Seaside: Thousands of fans, AVP-level beach volleyball, light beer, and some karaoke to Sweet Caroline, all in one phenomenal package.

“I remember being completely floored,” Roberts said of his first Seaside. “I saw somebody just walking passed the cops with a keg, and the cop just laughed and shook his hand. It’s just a feeling and an atmosphere.”

And good volleyball. Lots and lots of good volleyball. Teams played up to six matches on Friday, and some could play up to five, should they grind through the finals on Saturday. Some, of course, made it easier on themselves, like Frishman and Drost, or Delaney Knudsen and Katie Spieler, both of whom went through the day undefeated.

“I’m stoked because I feel like this is the highest level I’ve ever played at, so it’s kinda cooler to look at a 3-0 finish because we beat really good teams to get there,” Knudsen said. “I’m just so stoked to be here.”

That is the consensus among virtually all of the thousands of players and fans, no matter the skill level, no matter the type of participation, whether it be a beer-drinking kind of tournament or a legitimate hunt for a Seaside title.

Everyone is just stoked to be here.

“This tournament, the vibe, the energy, the people, this is the reason I fell in love with beach volleyball,” said Myles Muagututia, who went 3-1 on the day with Travis Mewhirter, losing a three-setter to Miles Evans and Billy Kolinske. “The culture is expanding in such a cool way. It creates, even personally, such a better outlook on life. It just brings me back to why I play sports in the first place: to have fun, to meet new people, to have a great time living life.”

Waiting in the semifinals tomorrow will be Frishman and Drost and, on the other side of the bracket, Jake Landel and Lev Priima. For the women, Spieler and Knudsen will be joined by Julia Scoles and Carly Kan, who won all four matches on the day, including a 19-21, 21-12, 15-13 quarterfinal over Molly Turner and Brittany Tiegs.

Awaiting in the women’s contenders quarterfinals are Iya Lindahl and Jess Gaffney, who will play the winner of Victoria Dennis and Tani Stephens and Kerri Schuh and Nicolette Martin. The other quarterfinal will be Abigail Rummel and Lauren DeTurk vs. Ceci Agraz and Agniezska Pregowska.