Susquehanna Smash partners with AVP America

By on August 7, 2019
Warwick boys volleyball coach Nate Gajecki follows through on a hit over the net during the Susquehanna Smash. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Warwick boys volleyball coach Nate Gajecki follows through on a hit over the net during the Susquehanna Smash. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

The Susquehanna Smash celebrated some big news with its 11th annual tournament last week.

The grass volleyball tournament became partnered with AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) America, which is the largest grassroots outdoor volleyball organization in the U.S.

“It’s a big deal for us as a tournament,” Susquehanna Smash co-director Brad Glouner said, “because we get nationally promoted from all over their site. A lot of the (national) tournaments are beach, but now it’s really starting to grow with more grass volleyball as well.”

At the PA Classics Soccer Park last Friday through Sunday, Aug. 2-4, AVP America had a definite presence, with banners, balls and backpacks displaying the organization’s logo.

In all, there were 940 teams competing at this year’s tournament, and players earned points in the AVP ranking system based on their finishes.

“Obviously, the pro division gets the most points, the lower divisions get fewer points,” Glouner said. “You’re going to get more points for 10th place in pro than by winning men’s A.”

The prize amounts for the men’s pro division were increased, and Warwick grad Nate Miller, a 6-foot-5 right-side hitter at Lancaster Bible College, teamed up with Kean University’s Ian Capp, of Mechanicsburg, to win the $4,000 first-place prize. Both are college students, so they donated the money to a charity or organization.

“It’s an incredible accomplishment,” Warwick boys volleyball coach Nate Gajecki said. “If you look up and down the east coast, you have basically two tournaments at that level, one being the Pottstown Rumble at the end of June, but then Craig (Dietrich) and Brad have really built up the Susquehanna Smash to be a premier event. And for them (Nate and Ian) to win the pro division is a great accomplishment for those two.”

Second-place in the pro division received $2,000. Overall, the Smash paid out $10,000 in total cash and prizes.

Other Warwick athletes also had strong showings, as Seth Graybill and Kyle Charles won the U14 boys division, while Ryan Charles and Jacob Lobb took home top honors in the U16 boys division.

Also new to the Susquehanna Smash was the addition of a triple’s division, which was held Friday.

“I think we had 25 to 30 teams of triples,” Glouner said. “And then we always have our co-eds and quads on Sunday. I think we’re up to, like, 32 different divisions now. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone skills level-wise, from lower level all the way up to the pros. We had 120 nets up and used 98 on Saturday.”

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