The Ladies of Lez Volley

By FIN

By Emma Boskovski

Spikes and Dykes, Rainbow Riders, and Lesquires were some of the team names at the Eighth Annual Lez Volley Women’s Volleyball Tournament on Saturday, Aug. 11.

The threat of rain didn’t stop the 24 teams of 13 players maximum from the “day of FUN in the sun, and a night of dancing at the hottest spot on Cherry Grove, Fire Island,” as advertised on their website, www.lezvolley.com.

“In the eight years we have done this, the weather has never stopped us,” said Danielle Stanziale, co-founder of Lez Volley. “The first year, we still played in hurricane conditions. I knew the rain wasn’t going to stop us. The rain does lose us all of the day-trippers. Usually we have about 300 more people here that are just coming over to the beach.”

The event was delayed an hour, with the first games beginning at 1 p.m. With eight courts, and games scheduled until 4 p.m., teams were ready to get started despite the delay. The referees explained to the players that all of the matches would be timed at 20 minutes, and one three minute time out was allowed per match. Also, substitutes and rotations were permitted, with the same exchange of players.

“Cherry Grove is my favorite place, as it is gay heaven,” said Stanziale. “We want to give back to the Grove. I feel as if the lesbian community sometimes gets lost here, and we wanted to get the girls back.”

The event certainly does give back to Cherry Grove, as all hotels and homes have been rented out for the weekend, even on the mainland in Sayville.

“We are really expanding year after year,” said Kristine Bungay, co-founder of Lez Volley. “Our first year, we started with 10 teams. This year, we had 24 registered to play. Each year we grow about two to three teams.” The entry fee to sign up for the Lez Volley tournament is $35 per player.

This entry fee guarantees players a minimum of four games to be played throughout the afternoon; official referees ensuring fairness during the tournament; snacks, drinks and goodies; medals and prizes for the first and second place winners; free tickets to the official after party at Cherry’s on the Bay; as well as flirting or meeting new friends, and the “experience of a lifetime.”

“We are really trying to expand using social media,” said Bungay. “The planning for this event starts in January, and we work all year to find sponsors and concentrate on spreading our message.”

The event is sponsored by many different partners including Play Out Underwear, who provides a free pair of undies to each player on the winning team; the energy bar company Garuka Bars; and coffee energy drink companies Hayday and FORTO Coffee Shots.

“We play for different leagues back in Manhattan and that’s how we came to hear about Lez Volley,” said Amy Pelletteri of the Unqualified Sportsbian team. “We come all the way here for this event and have no regrets.”

The series of matches went until 4 p.m., and all teams gathered for the championship game between teams Cherry’s and I’d Hit That, with Cherry’s taking the first place medal.

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