As we head into an 12-day stretch when Louisiana becomes the volleyball capital of the world, we need to catch up on a few items, mostly pro beach.
The AVP Pro Series New Orleans Open is this Friday-Saturday-Sunday. Then on Monday, the Volleyball Nations League gets underway in Bossier City, Louisiana. It’s the first leg of the biggest women’s international pro tournament of the year. Click here to read more about the VNL.
Also in Shreveport, which is right next to Bossier City in northwest Louisiana, the USA Volleyball 2022 Women’s Under-21 National Training Team will gather Thursday at Centenary College through June 4. The team, coached by Pitt’s Dan Fisher and assisted by BYU’s Heather Olmstead and New Mexico’s Jon Newman-Gonchar, has 20 players, 12 of whom will be chosen to compete at the 2022 Women’s U21 Pan American Cup on June 5-13 in Mexico.
Click here for the USA Volleyball news release and list of current and incoming NCAA players.
We have news and notes about AVP New Orleans, last weekend’s San Antonio qualifier, and the Volleyball World Rome 2022 World Championship and who’s in and who’s not.
AVP Pro Series New Orleans Open
The tournament at Coconut Beach in Kenner, Louisiana, just west of New Orleans, learned this weekend who the qualifiers are.
On the men’s side there are Skylar del Sol and Andrew Dentler, Chase Frishman and Noah Dyer, Lev Priima and Silila Tucker, Roberto Rodriguez and David Palm, and Adam Roberts and Cody Caldwell.
The San Antonio Open was won by Tim Brewster and Andy Benesh, who beat Frishman and Dyer in the final 21-18, 21-18. But Benesh was already in the main draw for New Orleans with Nick Lucena. Benesh and Phil Dalhausser, Lucena’s former partner, won AVP Austin. This week, Dalhausser and Casey Patterson (both 42 years old) are the top seed and Benesh and Lucena are No. 2. The field also includes Bill Kolinske and New Orleanian Evan Cory.
The women’s qualifiers are led by Molly Turner and Jessica Gaffney, who won the AVP San Antonio event. They beat Katie Horton and Brook Bauer — who are both in the New Orleans field — 21-19, 21-19. Also getting spots from the San Antonio qualifier are Savvy Simo and Toni Rodriguez, who is from nearby Gonzales, Louisiana, Mackenzie Ponnet and Chelsea Rice, Macy Jerger and Abby Van Winkle, and LSU alum Kahlee York and Megan Gebhard.
The top seeds are Betsi Flint and Olympian Kelly Cheng. Zana Muno and Canadian Olympian Brandie Wilkerson are the No. 2 seed, just ahead of the local favorites, the “LSU kids,” Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss, who are coming off victories at AVP Austin and Volleyball World Kusadasi in Turkey.
Nuss is from Metairie, the next town over, and she and Kloth won what was then an AVPNext in New Orleans last year, their first pro victory.
Also in the tournament are the Brazilian greats Larissa and Liliane Maestrini.
Rome 2022 World Championship
The pool-phase draw is May 31 for the June 10-19 tournament, but on Tuesday Volleyball World announced who made the field, 48 pairs on each side.
There are two USA men’s pairs, Chaim Schalk and Theo Brunner, who are No. 19 in the points list, and Taylor Sander and Taylor Crabb, the last team listed at No. 48.
Four American women’s teams are in. Flint and Cheng are fifth in points and Kelley Kolinske and Sara Hughes are right behind at No. 6. At No. 11 is Emily Day and Olympic gold-medalist April Ross, but Ross apparently is injured, so that team’s place could be in jeopardy. And at No. 16 is Terese Cannon and Olympian Sarah Sponcil.
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