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Kormeluks excel on sand

Alex and Matt, Newport Beach residents, have teamed together for good showings on CBVA tour this summer.

August 29, 2012|By Matt Szabo

Pass, set, spike. Pass, set, spike.

If Newport Beach residents Alex and Matt Kormeluk aren't playing a beach volleyball tournament together, they can usually be found playing "pepper."

In the evening, they're practicing out in the street. When it gets too dark, they move inside to the entryway of the Kormeluk home.

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"They've broken like three crystals on my chandelier so far," said Shelly Kormeluk, Alex and Matt's mom, with a laugh. "There's always been no balls allowed in the house until volleyball came around. Since volleyball is my husband's passion, that changed the 'no balls in the house' rule."

Exceptions always can be made. With how well Alex and Matt are playing, they can play pepper wherever they want.

Alex just turned 12 in early July, but he's had a standout summer on the California Beach Volleyball Assn. Tour. Playing against kids that are often several inches taller and nearly three years older, Alex has nevertheless took over the top spot in the 14-and-under standings on the tour.

Alex, who is going into the sixth grade at Mariners Elementary, stands just over 5 feet tall. His game is bigger. He has continued to progress ever since joining the Balboa Bay Club about a year ago.

The boys' father Nick, who played collegiately at Pepperdine, said he hasn't necessarily been surprised by the quick ascension.

"He sets goals," Nick Kormeluk said. "He set his goal at the beginning of the beach season to try to take over that points rating. He's been to more tournaments and probably practiced every day, if not five or six days a week, either playing or practicing. He's just got a competitive spirit, and a dedication to win. As a former Pepperdine player myself and somebody that still plays on the beach, he's got an opportunity with me to get out and improve any time he wants. It's something that he's really embraced; it wasn't forced upon him."

Alex has traveled up and down the beaches in Southern California this summer. In June, he won a pair of tournaments in Pacific Palisades. Earlier in August, he won a tournament in Long Beach with his older brother. In the format, the top three finishers earn points, and Alex has been top-three in 11 different tournaments this summer with a few more still to go. He also plays often with Corey Taylor of Costa Mesa, a teammate at Balboa Bay.

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