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Eight teams clash in 16-inch powder Saturday during Cape volleyball tourney


CAPE VINCENT — Janice A. Klasen, 55, took a gutsy dive into the deep snow for a volleyball sailing toward the edge of the court Saturday during the village’s winter tournament, catching a piece of it with her fist before it landed out of bounds.

“Did she touch it?” one of her teammates from Thousand Islands Spring Water asked the referee who presided over the game, Michael J. Chavoustie. The Syracuse team was among eight that competed in the eighth annual Winter-Green Outdoor Volleyball Tournament, which raised $160 to benefit Riverside Preschool in Cape Vincent.

“Yes, but I bet she’s wishing she didn’t,” slyly answered Mr. Chavoustie, president of the Cape Vincent Chamber of Commerce, who had a close-up view of the flailing dive. He exchanged a playful grin with Mrs. Klasen as she gingerly pushed herself up from the 16-inch powder, preparing for the next point of a first-to-21 game against the Attack Pack.

“Today I’ll be alright,” the woman from Syracuse said, catching her breath. The experienced player knew that the soreness from the action would arrive later.

“It’s going to be the next day that I’ll feel it,” she said.

Teams arrived in the morning to set up tailgate camps on Broadway Street, next to a pair of volleyball courts set up on the village green for the double-elimination tournament. Among them was a group of emergency medical service and firefighter volunteers from across the north country, who’ve made attending the tournament a tradition since 2010. The group arrived about two hours before the tournament started, coming prepared with numerous cases of beer and a stereo system.

Named “The Most Interesting Band Aid Pushers in the World,” the team included a mix of volunteers from Guilfoyle, Town of Watertown, Black River, Indian River, Thousand Islands, Clayton, Cape Vincent and Black River departments.

Team members said they were playing to honor the late Mark B. Davis, an EMT for the Indian River Ambulance Service who was shot and killed while responding to a call in Cape Vincent in 2009.

Before the tournament began, they made a toast to Mr. Davis with Mountain Dew energy drinks — the EMT’s favorite.

“His quote was, ‘Go big, or go home.’ He never had the chance to play in this tournament, but he would have loved it,” said Ryan J. Lafex, an EMT volunteer for the Guilfoyle and Cape Vincent squads.

The volunteers share a special bond together, Mr. Lafex said, and the tournament gives them a chance to catch up with members from other squads.

Playing for the first time in the tournament was his girlfriend, Nichole A. O’Neil, who serves on the Black River Volunteer Fire Department.

It takes a special kind of toughness to be a volunteer EMT or firefighter, Mr. Lafex said.

“We can talk about chest wounds while eating spaghetti,” he said with a laugh.

Dana M.V. Reid, a volunteer EMT for the Town of Watertown and Indian River squads, said she plays volleyball for fun twice a week at the Watertown YMCA and Jefferson Community College.

That experience didn’t help much Saturday, however, because deep snow made it challenging to move.

“There’s no way you can prepare for this,” she said. “I’m 5-foot-10, and the snow goes up to my knees!

“But it’s not about the competition. It’s a good time for people to meet who don’t get to see each other during the year.”

The tournament was won by SF Good, which nominated Riverside Preschool to receive proceeds. Team members were Travis Malonowski of Clayton, Brandon Page and Mark Salmons of Chaumont, and Sean Dillon and Thomas Kappe of Cape Vincent.

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