Rustys at the Open Championships in Orlando, 2016
Compiled by Tom Swanson, from reports by Harry Siemen, Norm McLeod, and Tom Swanson
No gold medals this year..the only medals for Rustys were won by the oldsters, the 76s and 79s. Rustys 76s won the silver, and Rustys 79s won the bronze. Both 70s and 73s were close..a fourth place for both.
Orlando was busy; in addition to 500+ volleyball teams, there was Megacom (a version of Comicon, the comic book convention). On Saturday, there were 60,000 people attending. And this was Florida’s first day of summer vacation. The resulting traffic jams were amazing. It took us about an hour to reach our hotel, a mile away, by trolley. It would have been faster walking, but after a couple of days of volleyball, sitting down and riding, even slow, was preferable. Of course, Orlando has much to offer the tourist, but volleyball kept us indoors and busy. Here are the reports of each team:
Rustys men’s 65s team started off the tournament poorly losing both matches the first day to Sao Paulo Masters and Fog. The only consolation was that the two teams that won were the 2nd and 3rd place overall finishers, respectively. Rustys played much better the second day, winning both matches (from Living on the Edge, and Meteor65) and finishing 3rd in the pool. In a challenge seeding match later on in the evening against Fundial Friends from Brazil Rustys lost a game that would have put them in the Gold Bracket. The team was not able to handle the Brazilian’s style of dinking and pushing balls to the corners.
The team was thus put into the Silver Bracket as the number one seed. However, they lost the first match in the Silver to Amtel Michigan, in three games, and ended up tied for third in the Silver Bracket. The winner of the Gold medal in the Gold Bracket was Quicksilver Legends.
In the 70s we were less than an inch (or a bad call) away from a medal. But back to that later.
We had to start against V&C/Brasil. As with all Brazilian teams, we had to totally change our style of play. Brazil dug almost every ball and dinked us to death. We lost 25-19, 25-14, before we knew what hit us. Against SEC, a more typical team who often medals, we won 25-19, 25-18. This victory assured us of being in the Gold Bracket. On day two we lost to last year’s champs, Sun of a Beach, 25-21, 25-19, and then beat Dinosaurs 25-14, 25-13. We finished third in our pool and were seeded 5th going into the playoffs.
In the first round of the Gold division we upset 4th seed Outback Steakhouse, 25-19, 25-18. We then lost to Sun of a Beach again, setting up a losers bracket game with V&C/Brasil. This time we were able to handle their style of play, winning 25-18, 25-11. This led to a rematch with Outback. Starting slowly, we lost 25-12. We then won the second game 25-22. The third game was the best of the day. We went ahead, fell behind 13-10, came back to go ahead 14-13. On the next point Outback hit a ball that seemed out. We thought we had won. But the linesman called it good and we were tied. The final score was 17-15 in favor of Outback.
In the finals Quicksilver Legends defeated Sun of a Beach.
The 73s team almost didn’t get to play. With 4 players dropping out (some due to operations and illness), we were down to 5 players with less than a month to go before the tournament. Fortunately, another team had too many players, and two decided to play with us to make sure there were enough teams for the tournament.
We started strong, losing to the eventual silver medalist MAC Magic in three, 26-28, 25-6, 15-12. Although losing, we felt we played well. This was followed by losses to SEC, Outback Steakhouse, and Highlanders. We finally won one against MacPac, 22-25, 25-23, 15-10. Ending up in a tie for 4th we were awarded 6th seed into the playoffs (out of 6), the tie being broken on points.
We started the playoffs against MAC Magic losing in three, 25-18, 22-25, 16-14. Again we were very close to winning. This was followed by beating MacPac, again in three, before playing Mac Magic a third time. This time we lost in two, to finish fourth in the tournament. In the finals, Outback beat Mac Magic for the championship.
Rustys 76s and 79s:
Last year at Detroit only one 76+ team (Rustys, naturally!) entered, so our 76 team played in the 70+ group. This year in Orlando five 76+ and five 79+ teams entered! This is the first Nationals to have a 79's division. Location obviously has a major influence on attendance. Unfortunately, not long before Nationals, we found our two teams short of players owing to knee and shoulder replacements and lung surgery (getting old isn't for sissies!). The pool of skilled volleyball players in the U.S. over 76 years old is limited and most were already committed to other teams for Nationals. At the last minute we were able to come up with two players (previously unknown to us) from the Puget Sound Team which played last year at Huntsman Senior Games but which was not entered at Nationals. That gave us seven players at 76+ and six at 79+ (whew!). No one on either team had set much before at Nationals. We really missed the good passing of our absent players and that resulted in a lot of scrambling by the setters. Thus, getting a Silver medal in the 76+ division and a Bronze in the 79's was a good outcome. Gold was taken by MAC Magic in the 76's although we took the second set and forced them to play a third. Colorado Highlanders won Gold in 79's. Rustys' Jim Hopton was selected to the All Tournament Team for both 76's and 79's and Norm MacLeod and Bob Quackenbush were selected to the 76 Team. Nationals have come a long way since Seattle hosted it in 1984 and Rustys entered (although we were then named Mallards). In 1984 the oldest age division was 45 and up (so-called Golden Masters). This year Rustys entered teams in five age groups. Some of us are getting a little "long of tooth" and we need some of you young guys out there to step forward and play on new young Rustys teams!