This Week at Hampton: 6/21-6/27

Spike it

Volleyball tournaments return to Hampton Beach

Whether you want to play beach volleyball or just watch it, Hampton Beach will host two tournaments this summer that will let you kick back and relax or get into the game.

Spike University, a volleyball association dedicated to encouraging youth and adults across New England to enjoy the sport of beach volleyball, will be making two stops at Hampton Beach along the regional tour this summer. On Saturday, June 23, and Sunday, July 29, the sandy coastline of Hampton Beach will play host to the The New England Open and The New England Summer Slam, respectively. The tournaments begin at 8:30 a.m. and will conclude at 3:30 p.m.

Spike University hosts beach volleyball tournaments for juniors and also adults all over New England, according to SpikeU owner Melanie Gerrior.

“When we’re at Hampton, it is a very fun-filled day, especially for the juniors. They come out super-excited and ready to dive into beach volleyball,” she said. “We have music blasting the entire time. You get to meet so many new people. Especially with the volleyball community being fairly small in general, once you get to know somebody you’ll get to see them at all sorts of different tournaments. It is a lot of fun, for sure. It is basically just a fun-filled day of playing as many games as possible.”

This open tournament will provide the opportunity for those interested to both participate and soak in the exciting and competitive appeal of a sport that is rapidly growing in popularity and to enjoy the family-friendly festivities. Spend the day at the beach and stop by to cheer on your favorite teams made up of family, friends and neighbors as they compete for top prizes.

“It is a great time for the families to come out. Parents get to sit back, watch their daughters or sons and enjoy a great game,” Gerrior said. “It is a great opportunity for the kids to get outside as well. Anyone is more than welcome to watch — there will be a lot of families around, and even if you’re just stopping by [for part of the day], it is great to watch.”

The day will start out as pool-play and from there it transitions to playoff style. Gerrior said the games are “super-competitive.”

“You’ll be able to see the teams that are leading on our leaderboard, and it is a great environment to watch some great competition, especially when you get into watching the adult leagues,” she said. “It is really interesting, especially as a coach myself, just to see the level of play between all of the different divisions.”

Teams of two from ages 9 and up will be competing in the festivities in sects divided amongst squads consisting of boys, girls, men, women and coed groups as well as as being divided through experience level into gold, silver and bronze divisions. The theme for this year’s tournament is neon, and the teams with the most creative and innovative regalia will be featured on Spike University publicity and social media.

The tournament will be played under USAV format where games will be played to 15 or 21 points. Eight different age groups ranging from U-12 (competitors under 12 years of age) to adult will be competing in each of this year’s event, and top finishers will receive a special invitation to the New England Invitational, a tournament consisting of the best teams across the region, and a ranking on the SpikeU New England ranking chart.

The top four teams in each division will make the playoff bracket unless a quarterfinal match is needed. Gold, silver and bronze awards will also go to the first-, second- and third-place winners of each classification. If an age group is filled, newly registered teams will be asked to play up a division.

Gerrior pointed out that volleyball can be a lifelong sport. He said many players start very young.

“At SpikeU we start at age 9, but we have kids even starting younger, trying to get into private lessons,” he said.

And regardless of whether they’ve been playing their whole lives or found the sport later on, older players can have just as much fun.

“I play with someone personally who is 67 years old and I know for a fact that there are still people who are older that currently play,” Gerrior said. “It is definitely a sport that anyone, male, female, any age, you can just go out there and have a great time. What’s better than being out in the beautiful weather, right on the beach and playing volleyball?”

To sign up and be a part of this year’s tournament, visit the Spike University website and sign up today. The price is $40 per player. Registration closes Thursday, June 21, for the June 23 tournament, but if you miss that, there’s plenty of time to sign up for the July 29 event.

— Andrew Clay

*Featured photo courtesy of Andrew Clay.

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