Pairs from USC, UCLA, Grand Canyon, Cal Poly, Loyola Marymount, and Long Beach converged on Huntington Beach this past Saturday for the Collegiate Challenge. The competition was relatively informal, since many players are still competing indoors, and official pairs and teams have not been set yet.

For USC coach Anna Collier, it was a great opportunity to see what her youth could do in a scenario outside of practice.

“It was a great competition,” Collier said. “It was a lot of fun. It was great for me in the morning, because it was nice and calm, and in the afternoon the wind came up, which was very challenging for all of the teams. That was fun, too, to see everyone play in the wind.

“We eventually won the gold, which was nice, with a freshman, and I thought all my pairs played pretty well. It was really a good tournament.”

USC won the first two NCAA championships, but lost a lot of talent, including Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes.

“Now that the NCAA has given us these four opportunities in the fall, to have competitions that don’t count against our regular season, it’s giving SC a great opportunity to have an experienced player play with a freshman,” Collier said. “It lets them be introduced into the culture of USC beach volleyball, how we really try to have a winning culture and winning tradition, and teach them, ‘This is how we do it, and this is how we fight, and this is what we expect from you.’ ”

UCLA coach Stein Metzger was pleased with his program’s progress.

“It was a great tournament,” Metzger said, “there was a lot of good competition. I thought GCU and USC’s freshmen looked great. I think their freshman class looked really strong, they’re going to do some damage. They lost a lot of players, but they reloaded with the scholarships that opened up.

“I was happy with the way that our team performed, we had a little bit of a slow start, but we finished strong, and our freshmen are coming along really well. I think we’re right where we want to be.

UCLA will add some players at key spots when indoor season ends.

“We tend to not be as strong during the fall, because we always have a couple of indoor players that come out and help us out quite a bit,” Metzger said. “This is by far the strongest we’ve been in a fall tournament. It’s a good sign for the program.

“Nicole McNamara had shoulder surgery over the summer. She’s on a path to recovery that will have her back for the season. We’re missing Nicole, Sarah Sponcil, Mac May, who’s a 6-foot-3 freshman, I don’t know how she’ll be, because she’s a little raw, new to the game, but she’s physical. And then we’ll also add Zana Muno and Savvy Simo. We’re missing a good group, but we’re going to be pretty deep.

“We have a strong crew that’s beach only now for the first time. We have 12 really strong beach only players. It’s a good time for our program, we continue to grow and add depth.

Collegiate Challenge Gold Division Results
1st – Abril Bustamante and Tina Graudina (USC)
2nd – Jamie McQuarrie and Chanti Holroyd (UCLA)
3rd – Sammy Slater and Joy Dennis (USC) and Lily Justine and Izzy Carey (UCLA)
5th – Terese Cannon and Haley Hallgren (USC), Sasha Karelov and Emily Reinking (Long Beach), Madi Yeomans and Elise Zappia (UCLA), Molly Turner and Katie Pyles (GCU)
9th – Emily Sonny and Hannah Hubbard (Poly), Emily Reinking and Bella Bauman (GCU), Manley and Manley (Cal Poly), Hannah Towne and Madi Relaz (GCU)
Collegiate Challenge Silver Division Results
1st – Megan McNamara and Cami Sanchez (UCLA)
2nd – Kelly Iverson and Taylor Jarzombeck (GCU)
3rd – Dora Beilin and Anna Gorman (Poly), Jo Kremer and Jenna Belton (USC)
5th — Green and Lainy Thomas (USC), Veronica Nederend and Morgan Bogust (LMU), Maja Kaiser and Katrina Kernochan (USC), Megan Muret and Hannah Phair (UCLA)
9th  – Nicolette Pickney and McMurray (CSUN), Jessica Stansfield and Jessica Clarke (GCU), Natalie Honzovicova and Katie Sarber (GCU), Nele Barber and Claire Newlander (Long Beach)
Collegiate Challenge Bronze Division Results
1st — Wright and Teiana Cataldo (Poly)
2nd – Jamie Walsh and Micaela Mirabal (GCU)
3rd — Reinig and Emma Doud (LMU), Olivia Unnasch and Renee Mussler (GCU)
5th — Michaela Reese and Maggie Demore (GCU), Bailey and Tegan Curren (Long Beach)
Emily Stockman-FIVB Aalsmeer-beach volleyball
Emily Stockman digs at FIVB Aalsmeer/FIVB photo

FIVB in Netherlands under way: The second event of the FIVB 2018 season is a one-star $20,000 event at the Beach Center in Aalsmeer, Netherlands. The tournament, the first event ever in Aalsmeer, started Wednesday.

Miles Evans and Bill Kolinske defeated Iaroslav Gordieiev and Evgen Zhuravel of the Ukraine 25-27, 21-17, 15-7 Thursday to advance to the main draw, and were scheduled to play Daniel Bergerud and Svein Solhaug of Norway on Friday.

Both of the USA teams, Kim DiCello and Emily Stockman and Betsi Flint and Kelley Larsen, won their first-round elimination matches and were scheduled to play each other Saturday. Flint and Larsen defeated Alexandra Jupiter and Ophelie Lusson of France 21-19, 21-19, while DiCello and Stockman’s win was over Anemieke Driessen and Ilke Meertens of the Netherlands 14-21, 21-17, 16-14.

Avery Drost-AVPFirst-AVP-Association of Volleyball Professionals-Serving Up Style-Lyon Air
Avery Drost looking dapper at last year’s Serving Up Style event/Michael Diaz

AVP stars to model in Serving Up Style: The AVP will hold its second-annual AVPFirst Serving Up Style event at the Lyon Air Museum in Santa Ana, Calif., on Sunday, November 5. It pairs the AVPFirst Wall of Champions induction ceremony with a fashion show using current AVP athletes as models.

AVPFirst, the youth-volleyball initiative of the AVP tour, is a non-profit organization founded to create a national pipeline for youth volleyball development designed to create access to the sport for all children regardless of the neighborhood in which they reside or economics status.

“We are so proud of the progress the AVPFirst programs have made over these first two years,” AVPFirst Executive Director Tony Giarla said. “This event will help ensure we continue to bring the great sport of beach volleyball to new neighborhoods and communities across the country, engaging even more young athletes than ever before.

“The Serving Up Style fashion show and induction ceremony is our premiere fundraising event of the year with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting our Community Corner clinic program and our Community League Play initiatives.”

All proceeds from the $150 admission will help AVPFirst’s efforts to build the sport not only through those with an established history of beach volleyball participation, but also to provide a variety of communities that have not traditionally been exposed to beach volleyball.

Sinjin Smith is this year’s inductee, joining Todd Rogers, the inaugural inductee from 2016. Smith’s resume includes 139 open wins as well as being an NCAA champion, FIVB champion, and USA Olympian.

The list of AVP models includes Billy Allen, Janelle Allen, Stafford Slick, Sara Hughes, Tri Bourne, Jace Pardon, Ed Ratledge, Brittany Tiegs, Caitlin Ledoux, Avery Drost, and Katie Spieler.

CBVA-California Beach Volleyball Association-HOF-Hall of

CBVA sets seventh Hall of Fame Ceremony: The California Beach Volleyball Association has its seventh annual CBVA Beach Volleyball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on November 17 at the Hermosa Beach Community Center at 710 Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach, Calif.

The class of 2017 includes John Vallely, Rose Duncan, Olympian Gail Castro, and Paul Sunderland. Phil Dalhausser and Emily Day will present awards to the top ranked CBVA adult and junior players, and the program will also include a memorial for Mike Bright.

Admission is $10/person and will benefit the Hermosa Beach Historical Society CBVA Hall of Fame Exhibit. Click here for an entertaining video featuring former AVP announcers Chris “Geeter” McGee and Jim Arico.

Rodrigo Saunders-Piotr Marciniak-EEVB-East End Volleyball-VolleyAmerica-Beach Notebook-Clearwater Beach
Rodrigo Saunders hits against Piotr Marciniak/Courtesy EEVB

Rodrigo-Saunders/Davis, VanZwieten/Marciniak win East End:  East End Volleyball in Clearwater, Fla., was the host for the $10,000 Spalding Volley America Nationals on October 21. Nate Davis and Rodrigo Saunders beat Piotr Marciniak and Skylar Delsol in the final.

On the women’s side, Karolina Marciniak and Kendra VanZwieten were declared champions, while Bree Scarbrough and Aurora Davis were runners-up. Full results can be found here:

VBV-SOB-Volleyball Vacations-South of the Border-volleyball-vacations
Group photo at the 2015 Puerto Vallarta trip/Courtesy VBV

South of the Border to host 24th vacation at Ixtapa: Volleyball Vacations/South of the Border’s 46th volleyball trip is January 13-18, 2018, at the Ixtapa (Mexico) Park Royal hotel.

It marks VBV’s 24th year in Ixtapa, with six to eight AVP pros and 192 players participating in tournaments, clinics, private pro games, and pick-up play. Guests are capped at 115 and there are two women’s spots remaining at this time. More information can be found here:

The Puerto Vallarta vacations (November 12-19, November 26-December 3) complement of pros has just been announced and includes Billy Allen, Ty Tramblie, Brent Doble, Jake Gibb, Betsi Flint, Geena Urango, Brad Keenan, Janelle Allen, Ty Loomis, Angela Bensend, and Caitlin Ledoux.

There are still two women’s spots available for the November 26-December 3 trip. Bookings for the Cabo San Lucas trip March 18-25 will open up in early November.

David Smith-Travis Schoonover-Moonlight 80's-Moonlight Beach-Encinitas-Beach notebook
David Smith and Travis Schoonover celebrate their near-darkness Moonlight 80’s win/Courtesy Dave Smith

Smith, Schoonover win Moonlight 80’s: David Smith and Travis Schoonover won the Moonlight 80’s tournament this past Sunday at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, Calif. The Moonlight 80’s tournament requires that the sum of the partners’ ages exceed 80, and is held old-school style on a big court with side-out scoring.

Smith, at 45 years, 8 months, plus Schoonover’s 34 years, 10 months, barely cleared the bar at a combined age of 80 years, 6 months.

Smith and Schoonover bested Mike Bruning and Dan Neiman in the finals 11-6 in near darkness after making a dramatic semifinal comeback in the semifinals, down 14-9 to last  year’s champions Alejandro Parra and Greg Lyle, scoring seven straight to win it.

“It was a great tourney,” Smith said. “I wish there were more side-out big-court tournaments to play, it’s such a better game than short court.”

“Sideout is a great game,” Schoonover added. “It was pretty amazing putting together a comeback like that. Thanks to Matt Olson, Greg Lyle, and Jimmy Nichols for doing a great job organizing.”

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