Casebeer/Schalk vs. Bomgren/Field
First Point: 3:48:36
Freeze starts at: 4:38:08 Ends at 5:01:15
Favorite point: 4:31:38
Point I want to replicate someday: 4:49:26
This match was fun for a variety of reasons, the main one being it was an hour and twenty-one minutes of insanity. But it was also the debut of two new monster duos.
Olympian Chaim Schalk paired up with the Lorax to create a highly anticipated new team. Chaim had spent the previous year playing with Ricardo Santos and Tim Bomgren (awkward); he’d done pretty well, but this Canadian placed fifth in the 2016 Olympics – we knew he had a lot more. Plus, his partner was the high-flying block and ace machine, Jeremy Casebeer. Their partnership was promising, and they looked really good early in the first, forcing that quick timeout.
Tim and Troy were a relatively unlikely partnership. Tim had spent most of his career blocking for his brother Brian. We saw him the year previous make it to the Austin final with Taylor Crabb and the Chicago final with Chaim. But we hadn’t yet seen him playing defense until this tournament. And he blew our minds with his athleticism and reading skills. Youngster Troy Field had proven himself on the tour in 2018. He’d gone from qualifying at the beginning of the year to safely in the Main Draw by the end with Chase Frishman. He jumps higher than anyone on tour, a phenomenal athlete who was honing his skills rapidly.
We didn’t really know what to expect from them, though. Tim lives in Minnesota and had never played defense. Troy was still an unproven rookie that needed more experience in tough games (he had only started playing volleyball five years before). And it wasn’t looking good for team TNT – the first point we see is after a 2-7 timeout by them.
From here though, they get their stride and you could actually see the two of them bonding, becoming a team point for point. Tim is only 32, but his veteran wisdom and calming energy settled Troy and brought out the best in him. On the other side of the net, Jeremy and Chaim are steady and strong. It makes for a beautiful match with plenty of highlight-reel moments.
Though the whole match is fun, the end of the second into the 4:23 third is spectacular. Tim goes off around 4:23:00 getting a sick block and a crazy defensive play right after. They win 21-19 and carry that momentum into the third getting an unexpected 4-0 lead. They ride that to the end and get the freeze at 14-8. But this article is about the longest freeze…
This 23-minute long battle is worth watching, my friends. It’s especially fun because Rich Lambourne and Kevin Barnett set it up like they know what will happen.
Rich: “Stranger things have happened. We’ve seen a lot of free comebacks.”
Kevin: “It would be one for the ages.”
Casebeer’s performance is indeed one for the ages; he goes off with a mixture of aces and blocks and to get match point at 15-14. But then Tim and Troy finally find their groove again.
This match came after the hour and twelve-minute long barn burner. Up in the booth, we were all tuckered out from cheering. And then this happened. We rolled in on Championship Sunday raspy-voiced and exhausted from these back-to-back, finals-worthy matchups. Huntington kicked off the year exactly how we wanted – gritty, high-flying, and emotional.