The 2016 beach season had a couple of events in November, one pro and one college, and there are some partnership changes of note as the sport looks toward 2017.
In the last NorCECA event of 2016, Nov. 27 in Trinidad and Tobago, Canada’s Sam Schachter and Sam Pedlow and Melissa Humana-Paredes and Jamie Broder won gold medals.
Schachter/Pedlow outplayed Cubans Nivaldo Diaz and Sergio Gonzalez 21-18, 21-19 in the final. In the bronze-medal match, Cubans Karell Pena and Daisel Quesada edged the USA’s Billy Allen and Theo Brunner 21-18, 16-21, 15-13. Brunner is one of those players who is making a switch for next season.
On the women’s side, Humana-Paredes/Broder claimed gold in a comeback win over the USA’s Kimberly DiCello and Summer Ross 17-21, 21-16, 15-12. Brooke Sweat and Emily Day of the USA defeated Cubans Yanisleidis Sanchez and Lidiannis Echeverria 21-15, 21-23, 15-10 for bronze.
LSU wins Collegiate Beach Bash
Six NCAA beach teams converged upon the Rally Point facility on Nov. 12 in Emerson, Ga., to take advantage of their fall competition date. The LSU Tigers took home the team cup with an overall record of 42-14 in a field that included the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Georgia State, South Carolina, Spring Hill, and UNC Wilmington.
“Winning the Team Cup is definitely something that every one of our players can be proud of,” LSU coach Russell Brock said. “They played really hard, and executed well against some tough competition.”
LSU’s boasts an infusion of youth on this year’s squad, with four freshmen: Claire Coppola (No. 1 pairing), Kristen Nuss and Olivia Powers (No. 3 pairing), and Taylor Bradley (No. 4 pairing).
Brock said he saw good things from those young players.
”We wanted to put them in a position to be challenged and by their records. They showed that they are capable and handled it well,” Brock said. “We were successful. we were very pleased with the whole team, but the freshmen contributed in a fun and exciting way.”
Georgia State finished 30-26, South Carolina 42-38, UAB 13-11, Spring Hill 14-42, and UNCW 11-21.
Preseason beach competition will resume in February, culminating in the NCAA championships at Gulf Shores, Ala., May 5-7.
New beach teams formed
The off-season typically brings a few partnership swaps as teams look to improve their chemistry and/or points, and this year is no exception.
Phil Dalhausser will still play with Nick Lucena, John Hyden and Tri Bourne are still together and John Mayer and Ryan Doherty will let it ride and start 2017 together in Fort Lauderdale for the first announced FIVB Major on Feb. 7-12.
But with the breakup of Casey Patterson and Jake Gibb, we have three new teams for 2017:
Casey Patterson joins Theo Brunner, Jake Gibb will match up with Taylor Crabb, and Sean Rosenthal gets with Trevor Crabb. They will be under the gun to work out the kinks before the Florida FIVB event.
“I’m super excited at the opportunity to play with Casey,” Brunner said. “I think our games and personalities compliment each other really well. We have already been practicing for a few weeks and can’t wait to get started at the Florida FIVB in February.”
Even the Crabb brothers broke up.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be playing with Jake,” Taylor Crabb said. “He’s someone that I have looked up to since being around the AVP. I can’t wait to learn from him being a three-time Olympian. And with Tyler Hildebrand coaching us I feel we can be a top contender on the AVP and international level.
“We haven’t practiced yet but Jake has been driving up to Hermosa two days a week just so we can work out together. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for us. I feel this partnership will bring out the best in each other and I can’t wait to see what that is.”
Gibb shares Taylor’s enthusiasm.
“The kid has been working his ass off this off season. I’m excited.”
Excited is the key word, obviously.
“Excited to play with Rosie,” Trevor Crabb said. “He has a lot of experience winning on the world tour and AVP. “I feel we complement one another in that we both are good at every skill and are true volleyball players. I feel we can give any team in the world a run for their money and I’m stoked to get after it with someone that is just as hungry as I am.”