Florida Atlantic University beach volleyball coach Capri Grotowski died this past weekend after a long battle with cancer. Grotowski, 38, was FAU’s beach coach since 2014.
She is survived by her husband and FAU assistant coach Steve Grotowksi, son Cayd and daughter Kayh.
“Capri was an incredible coach, but she was an even better person,” FAU athletic director Brian White said. “We will forever be grateful for the contributions she made to FAU athletics, building the beach volleyball program into a national contender and positively impacting the lives of our student-athletes over the past eight years. Our thoughts and prayers are with Steve, Cayd, Kayh and the entire family.”
The former Capri Hilgendorf was a standout indoor player growing up in Lake Worth, Florida, and then at Keiser University, where she was a three-time All-Florida Sun Conference selection. She moved to beach volleyball in 2006, where she played in 34 pro events between 2006-13.
Steve Grotowski is a former pro beach player who competed in the 2012 Olympics for Great Britain.
VW Futures Bialystok
They lost one set, but that one was 36-34!
Veteran Emily Stockman and USC junior-to-be Megan Kraft never lost a set in the tournament until a wild final and came away with the gold medal Sunday at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Futures Bialystok in Poland.
The second-seeded pair beat fifth-seeded Ukrainians Anhelina Khmil and Tetiana Lazarenko 21-17, 34-36, 15-11 in the championship match. They split $1,000 Euros.
In the third-place match, 12th-seeded Jagoda Gruszczynska and Aleksandra Wachowicz of Poland beat the USA’s Brook Bauer and Katie Horton 23-21, 21-17. Bauer and Horton, both former Florida State players, made it through the qualifier and were seeded 11th.
In the semifinals, Stockman-Kraft beat Bauer-Horton 21-14, 21-17.
There were two other American pairs in the tournament. Jessica Gaffney and Molly Turner made it through the qualifier, went 1-1 in pool play and lost in the first round of elimination play.
Melissa Fuchs Powell and Tambre Nobles lost in the first round of the qualifier.
The only USA men’s team in the tournament, Adam Roberts and Cody Caldwell, tied for 13th.
There is another Futures stop in Ios, Greece, starting Wednesday. Fuchs Powell and Nobles are currently the only Americans on the entry list.
King of the Court
The 10th-annual international King of the Court this past weekend in Hamburg, Germany, saw Clemens Wickler of Germany and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands win the men’s title and the Dutch pair of Pleun Ypma and Emi van Driel take the women’s.
Estonians Mart Tiisaar and Kusti Nolvak took second among the men, followed by Alexander Brouwer — who usually plays wth Meeuwsen — and Ruben Penninga of the Netherlands.
New Zealanders Shauna Polley and Alice Zeimann took second place for the women, and Canadian twins Megan and Nicole McNamara, the former UCLA stars, placed third.
The next King of the Court in the Crown Series is September 6-11 in Utrecht, Netherlands.
Santa Monica Hall of Fame
The Santa Monica Beach Volleyball Hall of Fame, founded in 2016, gathered for the first time since 2019 this past weekend and what a collection of greats were on hand. Thanks to VBM contributor Andy J. Gordon for attending and taking the photos.
This year’s inductees were Barbara Grubb May, Ron Von Hagen and Ron Lang.
“There is such a rich history in Santa Monica, more so than anywhere else in the country with all the great beach players over the years that have lived and or played on its beaches,” said organizer and all-time great Sinjin Smith.
“The CBVA does a great job in honoring all the greats in California and will continue to do so, but there is something special about the North Bay and all the great players and teams that have come from here.”
Smith said the hope is that Santa Monica will set up an exhibit on the famous pier, but in the meantime they’ve been offered space in the downtown Santa Monica library to be part of the Santa Monica Historical Museum.
“The vast majority of all open victories in our sport have come from players and teams that lived and or trained on Santa Monica beaches,” Smith said. “Just a few of them are: Holtzman, Selznick, Lang, Ohara, Von Hagen, Menges, Lee, Chamales, Stoklos, me, Steffes. There are less women that played in the past but their roles have been extremely important in the furthering of beach volleyball in women sports as we know it today,” Smith said.
“Many of the players that came before me were my heroes growing up and were bigger than life in the beach communities. I felt like they deserved to be recognized and honored in the community where they played and trained. Many people who follow the game today and when my era played have no idea who the older guys were and what they meant to us and the sport. We would not have the game as we know it today if it weren’t for them and their love of the game.”
The festivities were part of the City of Santa Monica Pier 360 event celebrating beach activities. Paddleboard, lifeguard, skateboard and other competitions and demos took place in the ocean and on the pier while the HOF legends were on the beach.
Scoles, Harward top NTDP trials
USA Volleyball had two Beach National Team Development Program (NTDP) trials at Hermosa Beach, California last week and six pairs emerged and will represent USA Volleyball at international tournaments later this year. They include USC national champions Jula Scoles and Hailey Harward and UCLA’s Lexy Denaburg.
From USA Volleyball:
Four teams will compete at the FISU World University Championship in Maceio, Brazil, September 6-10 after their performances at the Beach World University Championship trials. Second seed Maddie Anderson/Lexy Denaburg and top seed Hailey Harward/Julia Scoles made the trials’ championship match. Anderson/Denaburg won in three sets (28-26, 9-21, 18-16), but both the gold and silver medalists will compete in Brazil as the U.S. has two entries in the tournament.
In the men’s bracket, Charlie Siragusa/Wyatt Harrison and Sebastian Rodriguez/Jack Walmer will compete at the Beach World University Championship after reaching the trials’ championship match. Siragusa/Harrison came from behind to win the finale, 2-1 (12-21, 21-12, 15-10).
Anderson/Denaburg won last year’s Beach U21 National Team trials, but only Anderson competed at the FIVB Beach U21 World Championships as Denaburg was injured. The seven other members of the WUC team will be making their international debuts.
Anderson, Denaburg, Harward, Scoles and Siragusa were all named to the 2022 Beach Collegiate National Team.
Additionally, two teams won the U19 FIVB Beach World Championship Trials and will don the red, white and blue at the U19 Beach World Championship in Dikili, Turkey, September 14-18. Top-seeded pair Ashley Pater/Myriah Massey advanced through the Girls bracket, beating Sophie Kubiak/Bailey Showalter, 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) in the gold medal match. Hailing from Florida and Ohio, respectively, this was Pater and Massey’s first tournament playing together.
In the Boys bracket, Ayden Keeter/Tread Rosenthal downed Thomas Hurst/Caleb Blanchette, 2-1 (19-21, 22-20, 15-7) in a showdown between the bracket’s top seeds for the worlds berth. Keeter, Hurst and Blanchette all play at C2 Attack Volleyball Club in Hendersonville, Tennessee. (Southern Region), and Rosenthal represents MB Surf in Manhattan Beach, California.
The U.S. currently only has one spot per gender in the U19 Beach World Championship. Should a second berth be granted, the silver medalists – Kubiak/Showalter and Hurst/Blanchette – will receive them.
Keeter is the only U19 team member with international experience. Like Anderson, he competed at the U21 Beach World Championships last year. Hurst played at the 2021 U19 Beach World Championships and will provide additional experience pending a second berth.
Fourth for Mewhirter, MacNeil
Since we mentioned it last week in Beach Bytes, that they were finally getting to play together, VBM contributor Travis Mewhirter and Canadian Jake MacNeil competed in the Yuh Beachmasters Tour in Kloten, Switzerland.
They took fourth, losing in the third-place match to the Swiss pair of Michael Zandbergen and Olympian Mirco Gerson 23-21, 21-15. The tournament was won by Matthew Immers and Mart Van Werkhoven of the Netherlands, who beat Olympian Ardian Heidrich (who is from Kloten and is the brother of Swiss Olympian Joana Heidrich) and Leo Dillier 21-15, 21-15.