Pac-10 duo wins Vail’s King of the Mountain |

Pac-10 duo wins Vail’s King of the Mountain

SPT volleyball girls KA 06-19-10

VAIL – Some local volleyball fans may have been having some flashbacks as the King of the Mountain had its women’s and men’s open finals Sunday.

Yes, you’ve seen that big, blond young lady crushing balls over the net in the past. Yep, that was Katie Carter, Steamboat Springs alumna, back in Eagle County and she and teammate, Sydney Donahue of Manhattan Beach, Calif., swept their way to the women’s open crown, knocking of the Front Range duo of Ashley Kaneta and Christina Shao.

Score one for the Pac-10 when it comes to the winners of the King of the Mountain. After destroying much of the Western Slope with Steamboat, Carter went on to play at UCLA. While in Westwood, Calif., she played against Arizona State regularly. One of those Sun Devils just happened to be Donahue.

Though they didn’t know each other in college, the two met each other at an Association of Volleyball Professionals beach camp for rookies in the winter of 2009, and were a formidable duo all weekend.

“I think a key component is communication,” said Donahue of the transition from the indoor game to beach volleyball. “You have to talk after each play. You have to talk during the play, just knowing where each other’s at on the court.”

“It’s just a lot of running,” said Carter, who now resides in Venice, Calif. “You’ve got to be in good cardio shape. You’re depending on each other. You don’t have anyone else to back you. The only difference is that I block and she plays defense, but everything else we both have to do everything else.”

Maitlen, Robbins hang on for men’s open

While Carter and Donahue planned some wine as a nice celebration, one could hardly fault anyone involved with men’s open final for wanting to have a nap.

David Maitlen of Lafayette and Vinny Robbins of Aurora outlasted Jamie Martin (Thornton) and Mykolai Zerebeckyj (Westminster) in a thrilling 21-17, 31-33 (not a typo), 15-13 men’s final.

“It’s just one of those matches where neither team wants to lose and everyone does whatever they have to do to win,” Robbins said. “Those games go on for a while.”

The first point of the second game was definitely an omen. The quartet went back and forth with Maitlen and Robbins getting the point and Martin and Zerebeckyj understandably taking a rest in the sand.

The latter recovered and then took the second game in epic fashion with Martin and Zerebeckyj having countless set points and Maitlen and Robert seemingly on the verge of a King of the Mountain title forever. While conventional wisdom was that momentum would be with the winners of the second game, Maitlen and Robbins closed it out in the third.

We just wanted to finish strong, get a sideout,” Maitlen said. “Just stick with it, not give up too many runs. Vince, he’s so experienced. It’s easy. I just have to do what I’m supposed to.”

“The Vail Tournament is a total blast,” Robbins said. “Leon (Fell, the tournament organizer) does a great job of putting it on. We finish in the daylight every year, which is big thing.

“This one was a little closer than normal.”

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or

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