Maybe Emily Day should just come on SANDCAST: Beach Volleyball with Tri Bourne and Travis Mewhirter, every week.
The first time she hopped on, she did so with her partner, Betsi Flint, on the first on-site podcast, just behind an outside court at AVP San Francisco. Two days later, she and Flint were the last team standing, beating Geena Urango and Caitlin Ledoux in the finals, 21-17, 16-21, 15-7, marking their first win as a team.
“We should do that more often,” Day said, and whether she was talking about coming on the podcast or winning, either would have sufficed. In the next AVP, on Lake Sammamish in Seattle, her and Flint won again, no good luck podcast necessary, as they did in Haiyang, China, two weeks later.
Then again, when she came back on SANDCAST for her second appearance, she left the studio and went straight to the podium again, returning home from a three-star in Sydney with a silver medal around her neck.
“We tend to have that effect,” Bourne joked.
In reality, of course, it is the ever-so-humble Day who has that effect on her own career. She always has. She’s won with virtually everyone she’s played with, on virtually every tour she’s played. Doesn’t matter if it’s the old-school Wide Open series with Heather McGuire or a NORCECA with Summer Ross or Whitney Pavlik or an AVP with Jen Kessy or the Manhattan Beach Open with Brittany Hochevar or internationally with Flint.
She’ll win split-blocking or full-time blocking. She’ll win with loud partners and quiet partners and goofy partners and intensely competitive partners. And it is that ability to win, with personalities and skill sets of any shape or size, that recently helped land Day in the Loyola Marymount Hall of Fame.
“I was honored,” she said. “Absolutely shocked. It was such a cool weekend, just felt a part of LMU athletics.”
It’s no wonder that she still does. Though she finished competing for the Lions in 2008, her team is still very much an LMU one. Her partner, Flint, is in her fourth year as an assistant coach for the Lions after a beach career in which she was twice named All-American. When the college season ends, they’ll be helped by John Mayer, currently the head beach coach for LMU.
As it stands right now, Team LMU is second in the world in the push for the Tokyo Olympics, behind only Brazilians Rebecca Cavalcanti and Ana Patricia Silva.
This will be Day’s second attempt to qualify for an Olympic Games. The first was a shot at Rio de Janiero in 2016 with Kessy. They finished as the first team out, U.S. No. 3.
“It was tough,” she said. “We had chances and opportunities but of course you always look back and think ‘If we would have done better in this one then our draw would have been better for this one. It’s a grind. It was a grind. A roller coaster.”
Now it’s onto grind No. 2, roller coaster No. 2.
“We just can’t let the highs get too high and the lows get too low,” she said. “I think something that Betsi and I have done well is – you go from winning San Francisco to a four-star in Poland and nobody cares that you won in San Francisco. The highs and the lows, you gotta stay even-keeled. You’re going to get good draws, and you’re going to get bad draws. It’s all about what you do with what you have in front of you.”