The World Collection of Seashore Volleyball has come to Lengthy Seashore this week, bringing a number of the greatest gamers on the earth and selling itself because the preeminent occasion of its sort.
The competitors started Thursday at Alamitos Seashore, and options a number of tournaments headlined by the President’s Cup, an invite-solely sixteen-staff event pitting groups from the USA towards prime worldwide squads. The occasion additionally features a Nationwide Volleyball League event, the AAU nationwide championships, a coed event open to the general public, and a seashore celebration hosted by DJ and 6-time Grammy nominee Kaskade.
Leonard Armato, chief government of the tour, has stated the vast-ranging nature of the occasion is a part of a technique to create a sustainable enterprise mannequin for the game.
“The idea behind the World Collection is to make seashore volleyball a pop-tradition occasion interesting to a mass viewers,” he stated in an interview with Volleyballmag.com. “We would like it, to start with, to be inclusive of the whole volleyball group, the perfect on the earth, the highest juniors and positively anybody that desires to play the game in open competitors.”
Olympic champion Kerri Walsh Jennings was anticipated to be one other of the occasion’s essential attracts, however her participation could also be brief-lived. Walsh Jennings and new associate Nicole Branagh dropped their first two matches on Thursday and are getting ready to elimination.
Walsh Jennings cut up from 2016 Olympic associate April Ross earlier this yr over a contract dispute with the Affiliation of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) tour.
It was Ross and new companion Lauren Fendrick who swept Walsh Jennings and Branagh 22-20 and 21-18 in an opener. Later, Walsh Jennings and Branagh misplaced to reigning NCAA champions Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes of USC 21-23, 21-19, 15-10.
Walsh Jennings and Branagh have partnered earlier than, however they haven’t skilled a lot success since reuniting this yr.
They misplaced their first three matches of 2017 and superior to the spherical of sixteen at a FIVB occasion solely as soon as, at Gstaad, Switzerland, final week.
Here’s a take a look at a couple of of the extra formidable groups that stay:
Larissa Franca/Talita Atunes, Brazil: After a disappointing 2016 during which they gained two of eleven occasions on the FIVB tour and did not medal on their house sand on the Summer time Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, there was hypothesis that the Brazilian duo would go their separate methods, as is widespread in seashore volleyball.
As an alternative, the veteran pair is having a resurgent season. They gained seven of 9 occasions on the Brazilian tour this winter and have already got captured gold medals in 2017 FIVB occasions in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Moscow.
In Gstaad, they completed second to Julia Sude and Chantal Laboureur of Germany. On Thursday, they opened with a convincing win over fellow Brazilians Josi and Lili 21-10, 21-17.
Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst, Germany: The Olympic gold medalists in Rio, and winners of seven tour occasions final yr, have been struggling up to now this season.
Ludwig lately returned from shoulder surgical procedure. Walkenhorst competed with out her for the primary time since 2012, putting seventeenth enjoying alongside Julia Grossner at Fort Lauderdale in February.
Since being reunited, Ludwig and Walkenhorst have a fifth-place end and two ninth-place finishes.
In an opener Thursday, they dominated Caleigh Whitaker and Rebecca Pavan of Canada 21-9, 21-eleven.
Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena, United States: At 6 ft 9, Dalhausser is likely one of the most imposing gamers on tour in addition to probably the greatest blockers on the planet. In his adorned 14-yr profession, the Swiss-born Dalhausser has gained AVP “Greatest Blocker of the Yr” award seven occasions and set the FIVB document with a forty-match profitable streak with former companion Todd Rogers.
Like Dalhausser, Lucena is 37, however the veteran duo has dominated since teaming up in 2015. The 2 have gained 15 World Tour medals and compiled a document of 119-26.
In Gstaad, they gained their second gold medal of the season, sweeping by means of the event with out dropping a recreation.
They gained their first match Thursday over Casey Jennings and Billy Kolinske of the U.S. 21-17, 21-19. They defeated Trevor Crabb and Sean Rosenthal of the U.S. of their second match 21-sixteen, sixteen-21, 15-eleven.
Jacob Gibb/Taylor Crabb, United States: Gibb didn’t envision having a brand new teammate this season, however when former companion Casey Patterson moved from Huntington Seashore to Thousand Oaks for a brand new job the truth of Los Angeles visitors pressured him to search for new choice.
Gibb, forty one, took on Crabb, 25, who cut up together with his brother, Trevor, with whom he performed on the tour for 2 years.
In June, Gibb and Crabb gained an AVP occasion in New York in June. On Thursday in Lengthy Seashore, they opened with a 19-21, 21-18, 15-eleven win over Billy Allen and Ed Ratledge of the U.S.
Alvaro Filho/Saymon Barbosa, Brazil: Since coming collectively after final summer time’s Olympics, Alvaro, 26, and Barbosa, 23, have been on a tear each domestically and overseas.
On the home tour, they gained two gold medals, three silvers and a bronze. Internationally, they captured the gold on the season-opening event in Fort Lauderdale and completed third final week in Gstaad.
On Thursday, they have been upset in an opener 21-19, 21-15 by Alex Ranghieri and Marco Caminati of Italy. They misplaced their second match 19-21, 27-29 to Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira of Spain.