The Canada Games were golden for Nanaimo’s beach volleyball duo.
Jeff Webb and Isaac Bevis won the gold medal this past weekend at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg, defeating Nova Scotia in the final, 21-12, 18-21, 15-9.
“It was great, it was an incredible run, we had to fight for everything and they just got better and better as the week went on,” said Rick Bevis, coach.
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Team B.C. went 4-1 in the round-robin and faced some tough competition from Alberta and the host Manitoba squad to make it to the gold-medal match.
“The competition was really, really good and I think if we played the tournament over, we could’ve easily finished fifth or sixth even,” Isaac said. “There was lots of really good teams and that’s kind of what we expected.”
Over the course of the tourney, Webb and Isaac Bevis were perfect in third sets, “which showed a lot of character,” Rick said.
He said the partners showed a lot of trust in each other and were honest with each other.
“Tactically, we knew we had to serve tough all the time because we were a smaller team, so we did that, and we played great defence, we did that constantly, and then we just played side-out volleyball as efficient as we could,” Rick said.
Isaac said the team had the right mentality, even in the biggest moments of the biggest matches.
“We were almost at the same level the whole way through,” he said. “We didn’t get too excited, we didn’t get too down on ourselves.”
Match point came down to a ‘joust’ play – opponents going for a ball at the net at the same time – and Webb’s one-armed block ended it.
Rick said it was a surreal moment, special to see the celebration and enjoy the support at the venue. The team also felt, all week, the well wishes from back home, notably from the VIU community – Webb plays for the VIU Mariners and Isaac Bevis will join the team this fall.
“The Canada Games is really something special. They really treat the athletes well. For most of these athletes, it’s going to be one of the pinnacles of their athletic journey…” the coach said. “And then to be successful and to win the Canada Games is something that they’ll always have.”
Isaac said the Canada Summer Games were well put-on and a really good experience.
“I’d recommend anyone who’s thinking about trying to go, just give ‘er and anything could happen,” he said. “We’re just two guys from Nanaimo, right?”