Pro beach volleyball returns this week with the start of the three-week AVP Champions Cup Series in Long Beach (July 17-19, July 24-26, July 31-August 2). This is part of a series profiling new teams for 2020.
Brittany Tiegs and Carly Wopat are seeded eighth in the qualifier, 14th overall. Tiegs is a 28-year-old, 5-foot 9-defender, while Wopat, 27, is a 6-2 blocker.
Tieg’s best domestic finish of 2019 was a fifth in Seattle with Molly Turner, while Wopat’s best finish was ninth, in Huntington Beach, New York, and Seattle with Brittany Hochevar.
Many times, partnerships are based on points, with teams needing to reach a threshold to make the main draw. And so it is with Tiegs and Wopat, whose 1,644 points were good enough to get them into the loaded AVP Champions Cup qualifier.
We caught up with Tiegs last week in Wisconsin at the Waupaca Boatride event, where Tiegs and Lauren DeTurk finished ninth. She talked about the points race.
“Both of us were just scrambling to find someone with enough points to make it in. Which we barely did, we’re sitting at that 12th spot. I was talking to a couple of other people, I was planning to play with Taylor (Nyquist), and then Texas got shut down, and it’s hard for people in Texas, you have to be out there all three weeks, get the testing, it’s hard for anyone to come out and try to play.”
“After that fell through, I looked around, and everyone was partnered up, and thankfully Carly had enough points, so it worked out.”
She sent Wopat a text and they signed up that day,
“It was quick and easy.”
Tiegs has never competed either with or against Wopat. They will this week together. Tiegs didn’t know who would play where, but she is able to play both sides.
And Tiegs is looking forward to playing behind the formidable block of Wopat, previously a USA indoor middle blocker and VolleyballMag.com first-team All-American in 2013.
“Carly’s so big, it should make defense so easy for me. She’s a big blocker, it’ll be really fun to play behind her. I haven’t played with too many blockers that are that athletic.”
Wopat’s ball control has made great strides since hitting the beach in 2019, Tiegs added.
“”So our ball control should be pretty solid as a team.”
Tiegs is excited about the opportunity to compete domestically, even without the energy that the AVP’s fan base provides. The three-weekend tournament will be played without spectators.
“I’m excited to play, but it will be a little weird not having the fans, and everyone else, that’s one of the biggest pieces for me, loving to see the fans and having friends and people around.
“I’m glad that something is able to come about to where they can have a tournament, that’s what we train for.”
Read our other new AVP Champions Cup Partnerships features:
- Avery Drost moves to defense behind Ryan Doherty
- Marciniak, Rodriguez revive 2017 partnership
- Loomis finds his fountain of youth in 18-year-old Miles Partain
- Wheeler, Quiggle, longtime friends and opponents, on same side of the net
- Callahan, Jones, both 6-foot-2, ready for AVP debut
- Fiery Turner, calm Hogan enjoying AVP partnership
- Tiegs excited to partner with Wopat for AVP Champions Cup
- Muno, recovered from coronavirus, and Dowdy working hard
- With Flint out, Day partners with Fendrick