In a season where Mother Nature took her wrath out on Wednesday nights and the Rockaway Beach Volleyball League, she smiled down upon the league and touched us with clear blue skies, bright sunshine and a gentle breeze on Saturday, August 10.  The “Good Vibrations” started right away as DJ Timmy Tubz started with the Beach Boys classic to set the tone for the day. As the first round ended and volleyballs continued to fly, the food arrived to rave reviews. Deidre Maeves Breezy Grocery supplied the heroes, wraps, watermelon and other great food to feed the masses.  An amazing job putting it all together by the RBVL Committee, whose hard work and extreme patience make the impossible happen year after year. For unsuspecting beach-goers who happen to come to Riis Park for a day at the beach on an August Saturday, it is a spectaclular sight to see. The nets set up as far as the eye can see, the competition, sportsmanship, laughter, music, and families. The kids, the next generation volleyball players. All in all, a wonderful event. Now down to business.

The RBVL 30th season saw rainouts and partial rainouts, and as a result, the finals were in many cases, surprising. Last year, the playoffs were won by five first place finishers and three second place finishers. By contrast, this season we had three teams that finished sixth in the standings, win the title, and a fifth placed team. Most shocking though was the team with one of the worst regular season records ever at 4-34, Jag – One Physical Therapy, take the title in dominating fashion. 


Kobeyaki Got Kills won the regular season title compiling a 32-4 record and earned a first round bye along with the 23-15, 2nd seed Freehands Court Champs. In the first round, Bungalow Bar swept Wise Clock Café 3-0, while third seed Bugalou lost to the aforementioned 4-35, Jag One, 3-1. Jag One then proceeded to knock out Freehands 3-2 in one of the best matches of the day, needing all five games. After the two powerhouses split the first two games, Freehands won game three to take a 2-1 lead but Jag One took the last two games, 21-15, in each. In the other semi final, Bungalow Bar swept top seed Kobeyaki 3-0, but every game was hard fought and went right to the end. In the finals, Jag One took Bungalow Bar 3-1 in another tough match. They split the first two and then Jag took the next two in close games.


The Ocean Breeze division saw the top two teams march themselves into the finals for the championship showdown. In the first round, top seeded Bryan’s Auto took care of Pointless while JG Electric split the first two games with Sullivan and Galleshaw and took the next two, the fourth game being a nail biter. In other first round action, Diedre Maeves’s Freaky Tiki  defeated Kiss My Ace 3-2 and Fams Breakaway swept past The Mighty Crom, all close games. In the Semi’s, bitter rivals JG Electric and Freaky Tiki fought for five games with JG coming out on top in game five. Fam’s Breakaway took the first game against Bryan’s Auto, but the top seed then swept the next three to gain the finals. In the finals, JG Electric lost the first game in a marathon 29-27 to Bryan’s Auto. Game two they bounced back, 21-19, but Bryan’s came back to win game three, 21-18. Down two games to one, JG Electric won the last two games to take top honors.


In the Wave Division, top seeded Pico took the title, despite a first round scare from The Cabana. Pico won the first two games easily and might have gotten too confident as the Cabana took games three and four, setting up another 1-8 upset. But it was not to be, as Pico won the last game 21-15. After that, Pico learned their lesson and swept the next two rounds to the win the beloved sweatshirts. Second seed Jameson’s took the Sand Spikers in the first round but also harder than expected. They split the first two games, won the third and then in game four had to go to overtime to advance. Third seeded Melons swept Whit’s End, and Diggin N Swiggin took RB Orthodontics, 3-1. In the semi’s, unfortunately Diggin N Swiggin had to face the awoken Pico team that swept them handily. The Melons also won their semi final match-up easily, 3-0, over Jameson’s. In the finals, Pico swept The Melons but the scores were close.


The Beach Division was topsy-turvy as the one seed lost to the eight seed and six beat five for the championship. Top seeded Casino Auto Body lost a heartbreaker in the first round, losing game five in overtime 24-22 to Kerry Hills. The third seeded Federation were disappointed when they lost in the fifth game to Kevin Buckley’s Sandstorm, after the Federation took the first two games. The Wharf Rats also needed all five games to beat Notorious DIG’s in a hard-fought match. Second seeded Rock Fam went to five games with the One Hit Wonders to complete the most hotly contested division for first round matches. The semi-finals got a little easier as Wharf knocked off Kerry Hills, and Buckley’s took Rock Fam both by the score of 3-1.  The finals saw sixth seeded Buckleys take the sweatshirts with a 3-1 win over Rock Fam.


The one seed By The Beach Cocos took the championship but the Beach Breeze was not without some upsets of their own as the seven seed Bungalow Baranas took out the second and third seeded teams on their way to the finals. In the first round. the Baranas defeated 5 Rock, 3-2. The Baranas shocked 5 Rock in the first game, 21-14. 5 Rock settled down to take the next two games but the Baranas easily won the last two games 2-10 and 21-11 to advance. Then the Baranas took down the three seed Breezy Point Lumber 3-1.  Breezy had won their first-round matchup over Rat Pack NYC 3-1 in a well-played match. The Cocos’ road to the finals was started by being sent to the limit by DJS @ Work, going to the limit at 3-2. In the semi-finals, once again the Cocos had to win a game five against Danger Zone to reach the finals. Danger Zone was coming off a great first round overtime in game five victory over Gringas in Paris. In the finals, the Cocos found themselves down 2-1 before taking the final two games to win a hard fought finals over the tough Baranas.


The Boardwalk was another division that saw the sixth seed win the championships. The Sand Castle took the third seed Rincon Gringos down 3-1 in round one and then the second seed It’s All Good in the semi’s, 3-1. It’s All Good won in a great match in the first round, 3-2, needing overtime to advance over the Community House. It’s All Good was down two games to none before they woke up to advance. Meanwhile, top seeded RBNY Physical Therapy lost the first game to The Seville All Stars before turning it on and sweeping to the semi’s, 3-1.  However, Attorney Bill Kelly’s Legal Eagles swept RBNY in the semi’s, 3-0. The Legal Eagles had swept the Rockaway Gliders in round one. In the finals, it was the Legal Eagles winning game one, the Sand Castle game two, the Legal Eagles game three, The Sand Castle game four and then in the dramatic final game the Sand Castle won it 21-17.


The top two teams in the Moon Division faced off for the sweatshirt and Last Call was still standing after the final whistle was blown. They defeated the #1 team, Cape Cod Irish Villages, 3-1 in the finals. Round One saw the Beach Bums sweep DysFUNctional; the Harbor Light Sandhogs took Boarders Surf Shop, 3-1; the Irish Villages took care of Sets On the Beach, 3-1 and Last Call swept the Beach House. In the semi-finals, the Beach Bums won game one over Last Call and played them hard but Last Call won 3-1 to reach the finals. The Irish Villages similarly lost game one to the Sandhogs but then swept the last three before falling to Last Call in the finals.


The Downtown Diggers lost only one game on playoff Saturday, winning nine, and becoming regular season and playoff champions. They swept EZ Company in the finals, beat Paul’s Bicycle 3-1 in the semi’s and swept Riis Park Bazaar in the opening match to roll to the coveted sweatshirt. EZ Company reached the finals by beating the Odd Couple, 3-1, despite losing game one and then defeated Serve’s em Right 3-0 in the semi’s. Paul’s Bicycle beat the Social Yachties in round one, and Serve’s em Right defeated the Beach Orphans, 3-1.


The top seed Atlantic Service Sand Sharks ended up winning the championship over the surprising LeGeann squad that finished the season in seventh place.  The Sand Sharks easily defeated IFMA’s in round one. Then in the battle of Sharks they beat the Rouge Sharks 3-1 in a close, well placed match. Then in the finals they beat LeGreann, 3-1. LeGreann started off with a big upset over second seed Simba’s Pride. Just about every game went the distance. There was no relief in round two as LeGreann once again went the distance, needing to win the last two games to advance, and game five in overtime. The tough road to the finals took its toll on LeGreann as they ran out of gas losing 3-1 in the finals. The Rouge Sharks won in the first round over the Stanni, 3-1.


Rogers Irish Setters not only have one of the best names in the league, they also have sweatshirts to put that on as they climbed from the sixth seed  to win the SunRay division. It was a division of upsets as seventh seed Rathbone defeated #2 Quatela Architects Suns of Beaches. Also, in the first round the #6 seed defeated #3 Serve Pro NW Brooklyn. In another upset in the semi’s, #4 Billy Macs defeated #1 Rock Beach. That put Billy Macs in the finals against Rogers Irish Setters. In a classic match, Billy Macs got out to a 2-1 lead in games. With their backs to the wall, the Irish Setters fought back winning games four and five to win the title. In other first round games, Rock Beach beat It’s Five O’clock somewhere needing all five games and Billy Macs also went five with Remax/Elite Net Result.

As always, a big thank you goes out to the RBVL committee of Steve Gifford, Denise Brunner, Patty Moule, Colleen McHale, Theresa Sutterlin.  Also, a giant thank you goes out to each and every player and spectator who do a phenomenal job of exhibiting what it means to be a member of our great community. So many pitch in when they see the committee needs a hand. Everyone cleans up the beach when they leave. And although the competition is fierce and everyone wants to get that elusive sweatshirt, in the end, sportsmanship wins out. It is no wonder that the Rockaway Beach Volleyball league has transformed Wednesdays and the second Saturday in August into a Rockaway tradition.

(And a big thanks from The Rockaway Times to John Sica for his help with the league and this amazing recap).