Team Fletch has been a fixture at the Charlie Saikley 6-Man volleyball tournament. However the team has changed somewhat with some veteran players splitting off to form a new team known as Team Soho.
Team Fletch rolled into the finals of the men’s Open Division without losing a set on Saturday afternoon, which included dispatching their former team members 15-3 in the quarterfinals. Team Soho includes Lakers coach Luke Walton and longtime NBA star Richard Jefferson, but they were no match for Team Fletch.
In the final, Team Fletch faced Team Spyder with Spyder having to beat Fletch twice to win the title. It looked like Team Fletch was in trouble after falling behind 6-0 in the first match. However, as it had all tournament, Team Fletch rallied by scoring 11 of the next 12 points to take its first tournament championship in three years.
Newcomer Brian Cook finished off the championship with a thunderous service that spun off a Team Spyder player’s hand and landed in the sand, setting off a wild celebration for Team Fletch and its fans, who started chanting “We’re better and we are younger.”
“I just stuck to my routine and crushed it,” said Cook of his game-winning ace. “This is my first year with Team Fletch and I have always wanted to win the 6-Man so now I can die happy. I’m glad to be a part of this group Fletch for Life.”
Another first-year member of Team Fletch, Matt Furbringer, was also a key to the comeback.
“When we got down 6-0 our captain told us not to panic, that we were going to rally and win.” Furbringer said. “Now we are going to go out and frolic in the ocean to celebrate.”
In the women's competition, Lady Lole beat the Hottie Heroes to win the Masters Division. In the Open Division, the Horny Unicorny came out of the loser’s bracket and defeated Rock and Brews twice, 15-7 and 11-7, to take home the title.
Captain Rachel Morris was ecstatic over her team’s victory.
“I’m pretty speechless right now. I’ve been coming here to play for 16 years and had never won it before, so I’m pretty excited,” Morris said. “It means a lot to me to win this tournament. It’s big bragging rights and this tournament is a piece of my heart. It’s a very special day.”
Morris’ teammate Carly Wopat, who played volleyball at Stanford and now plays professionally, was also happy with the victory.
“Today we finally found a rhythm and everything started to flow. It was really fun to be a part of,” Wopat said.
In the Men’s 50 and over Master’s Division, Raymond’s Construction denied Team Good Stuff, which has been in the tournament since 1978, of another title, winning 15-10 in the final.
Mark Partie lead the way for Raymond’s Construction with numerous blocks and kills. Partie is a UCLA graduate and played on the 1988 U.S. Olympic gold medal team and the 1992 Olympic bronze medal team.
“I had never played with most of these guys. I usually played against them. But I got a call about a week ago and they needed a player so I came out and played today,” said Partie, who also played four years on the AVP four-man tour. “It’s a lot of fun to play, but when you get out here your competitive juices start flowing and you give it your all and try to win. This was sweeter to me because it was my first title here and we beat a team with a bunch of local boys.”
Jay Parker Saikley, the tournament director, was pleased overall with this year’s event.
“The weather was perfect and we had a great atmosphere having it on a Friday and Saturday instead of the middle of the week,” Saikley said. “The tournament was very competitive and we had some great matches on both days.”