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Team Ontario win Canada Games gold in men's beach volleyball

The Canadian Press

8/21/2009 6:41:05 PM

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. -- Reid Hall and Adam Podstawka have been playing together since they first spiked a ball, unique in a sport where switching partners is far from uncommon.

The Ontario twosome capped their flawless week with a gold medal Friday in men's beach volleyball at the Canada Summer Games, a fitting finale for the longtime friends and teammates.

"They've played together for a long time and that cohesion and teamwork says a lot about their game and that's helped them push through and have a successful season and a successful week," said coach Jason Hubbard.

Hall, from Georgetown, Ont., and Adam Podstawka, from Ancaster, Ont., went undefeated through the tournament at Credit Union Place, en route to beating Quebec duo Emmanuel Andre-Morin of Montreal and Karl De Grandpre of Pierreville, 21-14, 21-18.

Kara Jansenvandoorn of Langley, B.C., and Shanice Marcelle of Victoria captured the women's gold.

Hall and Podstawka started playing beach volleyball together when they were 12, and with the exception of last season, when Podstawka was injured, have played together every season.

"We're both currently living near (Toronto's) York University, and we actually live right across the street from each other just off campus," Hall said. "We see each other every day, we hang out, eat sushi, play waddies (a college game that's a cross between curling and horseshoes)."

The pair made Friday's win look easy, and credited their coach for mapping out the perfect gameplan. All of Quebec's shots from previous games were charted, so the two knew their tendencies. Offensively, they keyed on Andre-Morin.

"We wanted to put the pressure all on one," said Hall. "If you spread the pressure amongst the two of them, they can kind of feed off each other, but if you put it all on one person, it's a lot to handle."

The two played indoor volleyball together for York -- Hall still does, while Podstawka trains soley for the outdoor version. Both say the beach version is a completely different game, and not because of the blaring rock music and bared skin.

"Beach volleyball's completely different because you don't have other players to hide behind," Hall said. "There's only two of you, so you have to be good at everything. In beach, you have to be good at hitting, passing, defence, blocking. You have to be good at everything."

Hall and Podstawka will now head home to play in next week's Canadian beach volleyball championships in Toronto where they hope to medal.

B.C.'s Maverick Hatch of Vancouver and Steven Marshall of Abbotsford won bronze with a 21-16, 23-21 win over Manitoba's John Galloway, originally from Victoria, and Stefan Savoie of Winnipeg.

Jansenvandoorn and Marcelle topped Alberta's Raynell Lavertu and Kathryn Moncks, both of Calgary, 21-16, 21-16, in a CIS rematch of sorts. Marcelle was on the UBC Thunderbirds team that defeated the University of Calgary Dinos -- including Lavertu and Moncks -- for last year's national university championship.

"It makes for good volleyball," Marcelle said of the rivalry.

Jansenvandoorn plays for Trinity Western.

The B.C. duo said they had their share of struggles through the course of the Games tournment, which had them fully focused when they took to the sand Friday.

"It was a good road to it, because we had to go through a couple of losses, some teams that we shouldn't have lost to, I think it made us more aggressive," Jansenvandoorn said.

"It made us really fight for it at the end, made us really play our best volleyball when it came down to it," Marcelle added.

Ontario's Dianne Burrows of Richmond Hill and Caleigh Whitaker of Sharon captured bronze, beating Manitoba's Rachel Cockrell of Winnipeg and Chloe Reimer of Sanford, 22-20, 21-12.