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THANK YOU! To all of our sponsors, supporters, volunteers and athletes!

posted Mar 21, 2011, 11:05 PM by Laurie Peterka   [ updated Mar 22, 2011, 4:17 AM by NMI Volleyball ]

NMIVA is proud of the total outcome of the 19th Annual Marianas Cup Beach Volleyball Festival (MCBFV)! 

It would not have been possible without our very generous sponsors, our community supporters, our ever devoted volunteer crew and, of course, all of the amazing athletes.

We are especially grateful to the Fiesta Resort & Spa for an amazing job at hosting the event. We hope that you are as proud of the three week long event, as we are, of all of you!
The CNMI made history ...not once, not just twice, but five times in three weeks. How often do we get to say that? This year's 19th MCBVF included three back-to-back weekends of beach volleyball excitement: the Marianas Cup Pro-Am, the FIVB/AVC Continental Cup - Subzonal Olympic Qualifier, and the Marianas Kids Cup. In the days leading up to the event, Pro beach volleyball players circulated in our community visiting KSPN2's Bob Coldeen for Sports Wrappers and KKMP's morning show for a live on-air interview. They also visited the MISO league's season winners, Marianas High School and Saipan International School to give junior athletes a chance for a little direct Q&A about being a professional athlete.

Feb 25, 2011 - Fiesta Resort & Spa...Japan pro women take the win (a first ever): The ever popular PRO EXHIBITION MATCH saw the Japan ladies win for the first time in the history of the the MCBVF! Jenn Snyder and Angela Lewis played Hiroyo Kanada and Megumi Murikami, where Japan took the first set, but just barely, winning at the cap: 25-24. In the second set, Japan closed in hard and fast taking the second set 21-16 for the Ladies Pro Exhibition win! On the men's side, USA's Paul Baxter and Billy Strickland took Japan's Yujiro Hikaka and Yasuo Nakaya in two sets: 21-18 and 21-12. While Snyder, Baxter, and Kaneda are veterans, this was Hikaka's and Nakaya's first time at the MCBVF. Murikami, on the other hand is not new to the MCBVF, but it was her first appearance as a pro! You can see more photos here.

Feb 26-27, 2011 - Fiesta Resort & Spa...ladies teams nearly number the mens team (another first): The 19th ANNUAL MARIANAS CUP PRO-AM saw 90 total players consisting of 23 men's teams and 22 women's teams from four different countries (Japan, USA, Guam and the CNMI). In the past,the Marianas Cup ProAm women's division was typically about one third of the total participants, but this year the ladies met the men at the finisher's podium taking their fair share of the prize earnings for the first time in the history of the Marianas Cup ProAm. Japan once again, as in 2010, swept the event on the ladies side, while a couple of our ProAm pairs made it to the top for the men's side. You can see photos of this event here.

Mar 4-6, 20
11 - Pacific Islands Club Saipan (PIC)...CNMI BVNT Ladies place second in the the first-ever Olympic Qualifier in the history of the CNMI (two more firsts): Under the guidance of the FIVB and the AVC, NMIVA teamed up with PIC to host the AVC Continental Cup - Subzonal Olympic Qualifier. Only three countries in Oceania were given the opportunity to host such an event; the other's being Samoa and Vanuatu, which will take place later this year. The CNMI hosted Australia, Papua New Guinea and Guam through a best of five round robin format, lasting three days. Only the top two teams in each the men's and the women's divisions advance to the next round, which will be held in Australia or New Zealand sometime next year (not China in July as we were originally told). At the end, Australia and PNG's mens' teams advanced as well as Australia and the CNMI's womens' teams. Click here to see more photos!

March 13, 2011 - Fiesta Resort & Spa...120 junior athletes play in two divisions (yet another record broken): The 4th Annual Marianas Kids Cup registered a total of 26 4-person beach volleyball teams. The 17U division consisted of 19 teams, while the 14U turned out seven teams. Most teams consisted of four to five athletes. It was a full day of excitement while each division went through rounds of pool play. The 17U advanced only the top 16 teams, while the 14U played for seeding of its seven teams. Each division played a double-elimination bracket to get to the final winners. The top three finishing teams in each division won medals, prizes, and (of course) bragging rights! See all the photos here.

The Marianas Beach Volleyball Festival's roots began at the Hyatt Regency, when Mr. Matusmura-san (PDI) and Marianas Visitors Authority (MVA) hosted the first event in 1992. In 1993, Pacific Islands Club (PIC) took over the event where it shape-shifted, gained popularity and eventually the US pro men started joining with the Japanese pro men players. The event originated with only a men's division, but added a women's division in 1998. In 2004, NMIVA officially became the CNMI's National Volleyball Federation and began re-formulating the CNMI's relationship with the FIVB and the AVC. It was also the first year that a Ladies Pro Exhibition Match was played. Beginning in 2007, the FIVB acknowledged the MCBVF and gave us their blessed sanctioning, which opened up our international exposure; consequently it was also the first year that Phil Dalhausser came to Saipan. The Kids Cup and Pro athlete visits to the school and the Kids Clinic began in 2008, when Phil visited us again just before winning the Gold in Beijing. This was also the same year the PIC handed off the MCBVF to NMIVA. Phil came back again in 2009, bringing with him his Olympic Gold Medal to share with his CNMI family. In 2010, the popularity and age variance of junior athlete's wishing to play in the Kids Cup forced a split and the creation of two separate divisions --- NMIVA anticipates that this event will continue to grow next year. Here we are at 2011 with Fiesta Resort & Spa courageously taking a shot and teamimg up with NMIVA to put on the 19th Annual MCBVF. In 2012, we will celebrate 20-years for the Pro-Am and 5-years for the Kids Cup --- with any luck we will see the biggest event in CNMI beach volleyball history!