Meridian Star

June 16, 2013

Smith, Black take volleyball gold

Tony Tsoukalas
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Baton Rouge duo Judd Smith and Nathan Black took gold at the State Games of Mississippi's two-man beach volleyball tournament Saturday at Old John Moss Field, muscling past Barry and Andrew Tisdale of Brandon, 25-18 in the final game.

    By  far the most powerful team in the tournament, Smith and Black spiked and blocked their way to victory.

    “I thought we did a good job of controlling the ball, it all starts with the first pass,” Black said. “A good pass leads to a good set and an aggressive shot.”

    On the other side of the court, the Tisdales offered a completely opposite style of play, relying on ball control and well-placed returns rather than attacking shots.

    “Neither one of us are big jumpers or big hitters,” Barry Tisdale said. “We just kind of used what we had to place the ball and play good defense.

    That approach served beneficial for most of the tournament and even kept the team alive in the gold-medal game, as they rallied for a five-point run facing elimination before Smith finally closed the door with a spike for game point.  

    “It is very frustrating, because they are going to get their hands on everything,” Black said of the Tisdales. “You have to put a little something extra on the ball to make sure it is a difficult up for them.”

    

Father's Day Feel

    The Tisdales were one of two father-son duos competing in the tournament, as Meridian's Scott Gray and Scott Gray Jr. represented the other pair.

    The Grays are no strangers to playing as a family, as wife and mother Dawn Gray joins the team for the four-man competition.

    This year, however is the first year Gray and Gray Jr. have competed together in the two-man event.

    “It was a fun day,” Gray said. “There is nothing like it. I always said I cant wait till my day to play with my son.”

    When asked who was the better of the pair, both players pointed at each other simultaneously.

    “Everything that I have learned has come from him,” Gray Jr. said of his dad. “I have played in places where most people of my age cant because of the things he has taught me since I was four.”    

    The Tisdales took home the gold medal in the 2011 State games and have been playing together for 10 years now.

    Even though the duo could not bring home the gold this year, Barry said the time spent with his son made silver just as sweet.

    “We've been playing since (Andrew) was 10 years old and he's 21 now,” he said. “It's just great.”