BEACH VOLLEYBALL, CONEY ISLAND STYLE
The Nathan’s hot dog eating contest has been an Independence Day tradition of Coney Island for 94 years — and beach volleyball is finding its niche, too.
Though it has not been going on nearly as long, yesterday afternoon ended the fourth-annual AVP Coney Island Open.
“The [New York] market is really important to our strategy,” said Jason Hodell, CEO of the AVP Crocs Tour. “The mayor wanted us here because they are trying to build up Coney Island. … New York City is critical to our strategy.”
Fans flocked to the stands to see a pair of semifinal matches before a friendly NYPD/NYFD match. The day culminated with the 2009 AVP Crocs Coney Island Open final, where Ty Loomis and Casey Patterson beat John Hyden and Sean Scott 26-24, 21-19 to win their first title.
Hyden and Scott, the top-ranked team on the tour, had won the previous two events at Atlanta and Ocean City, Md.
“Those guys are one of the best teams in the world right now,” Loomis said after the upset. “This is the best day of our lives.”
Patterson was pumped up throughout the match, screaming and getting the crowd going after every point the team won.
“New York is a sweet environment and it’s a cool tournament,” Patterson said. “We were fired up Tuesday morning at practice. We had the crowd and we envisioned this forever. It is an awesome experience.”
Patterson and Loomis were so focused on pulling off the upset that the pair seemed to have no idea they won until the crowd went wild.
“We didn’t know what to do after [the victory],” Patterson said. “We kept looking at each other saying, ‘Is this for real?’ñ”
Though Patterson and Loomis hope to repeat as champions next year, Hodell said he was just happy this year’s Coney Island Open was another success.
“The crowds have been terrific,” Hodell said. “Coney Island for July 4 is a wonderful location for volleyball.”
It was the perfect end to the holiday weekend, especially for Patterson and Loomis.
By DAVID SATRIANO
New York Post