Tonti/Eric’s wins second straight Breck rec volleyball crown | SummitDaily.com

Tonti/Eric’s wins second straight Breck rec volleyball crown

MATTHEW DUFFYrec league correspondent

Summit Daily/Matthew Duffy Dan Gray of Tonti leaps to block a shot by DJ Schappert of Kairos during Monday night's rec volleyball championship at the Breckenridge Rec Center.

BRECKENRIDGE – It was a different road, but the result was the same. Tonti Management/Eric’s won its second consecutive Coed Rec Volleyball championship on Monday night, defeating Kairos in two straight games, 22-12 and 21-18 at the Breckenridge Rec Center. Tonti’s tournament run was entirely different this year than last, though. Last year, the team lost its first tournament match and fought its way through the loser’s bracket to capture the title. “We played 12 matches and every one of them went to three games,” Tonti’s Becky Burroughs said. “It was a struggle.”This year’s tournament was much less of a struggle for the defending champ as it swept through the winner’s bracket with an unblemished record.

The first semifinal of the tournament saw Tonti win 2-0 to send City Slickers to the loser’s bracket. Tonti sat in the driver’s seat awaiting the final, as the only team without a loss in the double-elimination tournament.City Slickers then battled in a hard-fought, do-or-die match against Kairos in the second semifinal in hopes of setting up a rematch with Tonti in the championship. It was not to be for CS, however, as Kairos earned its championship berth with a 2-1 victory.Game one of the championship match was never in question, despite the scrappy play of Kairos’ Andrea Quirk, who spent as much time diving to prolong points as she did setting for teammates’ attempted winners. Kate Glerup and Holly Busnardo were equally aggressive for Kairos, but like Quirk, their greatest efforts were in desperation to keep points alive.

Team Tonti fired away with relentless pressure, powered in part by the high-leaping action of Dan Gray, who sent countless rockets to the floor. Lance Manskie, CJ Russell and Aaron Rains also had their share of winners, as Tonti ran away with game one, 22-12 (teams must serve to win).The momentum rolled into game two, and it appeared as though Tonti was on its way to another convincing victory. Burroughs, Rosanna Damlovic, Mckennzie Rains and Ellie Bray were clicking well, augmenting the power of their male counterparts. Kairos was not about to roll over, though, and it made a gritty attempt to force a third game.Down by a score of 11-14, Kairos’ Eric Miller went horizontal to save a kill attempt, and Quirk slid to save another, just inches from the floor. Kairos won the dramatic point and it propelled the team to a six-point run that gave it a 17-14 lead.

Blocks by Greg Nienhouse, Dave Olszewski and DJ Schappert were key during Kairos’ last stand, and the trio fed on strong bumps and sets from Glerup and Busnardo.With the score at 18-15 in favor of Kairos, Russell made a statement with a powerful winner to trigger a Tonti rally that sealed the deal. The unanswered six-point run by Tonti Management/Eric’s was filled with improbable digs from both sides, yet Tonti came though in the clutch.

“We were hot tonight,” said Burroughs. At 20-18, Russell put away an authoritative winner on the first match point of the championship, making Team Tonti the winners for the second straight year.Matthew Duffy covers rec sports for the Summit Daily News. He can be reached at mapadu@gmail.com.