Phil Dalhausser ended his illustrious international career in 2021. He won Olympic gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and he also won the 2007 Beach Volleyball World Championship.
It’s a new year and a new Olympic quad (well, this one’s just three years), and there’s been plenty of shakeup in beach partnerships resulting from injuries, retirements and more. Here’s some of the new pairings on the U.S. Beach National Team (BNT):
- Kelly Claes/Betsi Flint
- Terese Cannon/Sarah Sponcil
- April Ross/Emily Day
- Kelley Kolinske/Sara Hughes
- Emily Stockman/Lauren Fendrick
A big change on the women’s side as all five pairs listed are different from last year. Three of last year’s Olympians have new partners as April Ross tabbed Emily Day as a replacement while Alix Klineman recovers from injury (more on that below). Furthermore, Kelly Claes teamed with Betsi Flint, who missed 2020 due to pregnancy but rebounded with four top-5 finishes between international and domestic play last year. Sarah Sponcil tabbed Terese Cannon, a 26-year-old who ended 2021 with three consecutive international medals, as her future blocker.
Kelley Kolinske and Emily Stockman, who finished the year among the FIVB’s top 15 teams, decided to find new partners. Kolinske will team with Sara Hughes, who won the Rubavu 2-star last year and finished third with Cannon at the Itapema 4-star. Stockman found Olympian Lauren Fendrick, who represented the U.S. in Rio 2016. Fendrick didn’t play at all in 2021 after giving birth to her second child last April, but she has helped husband Andrew Fuller coach Stanford’s beach volleyball team since 2017.
- Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb
- Chaim Schalk/Theo Brunner
- Troy Field/Chase Budinger
- Nick Lucena/Andy Benesh
- Taylor Crabb/Taylor Sander
On the men’s side, Bourne/Tr. Crabb and Schalk/Brunner stuck together after solid 2021 campaigns. Bourne/Tr. Crabb were just short of an Olympic berth last year and look to keep their momentum, while Schalk/Brunner earned three top-10 FIVB finishes, including a gold medal at the Rubavu 2-star, despite often competing in country quotas. Field/Budinger, who earned two top-10s together in 2021, decided to give it a go for the full year.
After the retirements of USAV legends Phil Dalhausser and Jake Gibb, their partners picked up new allies looking toward Paris 2024. Two-time Olympian Nick Lucena tabbed Andy Benesh, a 26-year-old who earned top-5 finishes in all three AVP events last year, as his new blocker. Taylor Crabb will team with former U.S. Men’s National Team outside hitter Taylor Sander. Ta. Crabb and Sander took ninth place in the Itapema 4-star last November in Sander’s professional beach debut.
Brooke Sweat Inducted to FGCU Hall of Fame
The U.S. BNT has another Hall of Famer! Olympian Brooke Sweat, who competed in Rio 2016 with Fendrick, was inducted into the Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) Athletics Hall of Fame on Jan. 14 as part the school’s inaugural Hall of Fame class.
Playing indoor volleyball for FGCU, Sweat (then Brooke Youngquist) tallied 1,173 kills, third-most in school history, and is fifth all-time in digs. She helped lead the Eagles to a conference title in 2007, FGCU’s first season as a Division I program. Her 50 career double-doubles are still a program record.
In her professional career, Sweat has been even more successful. She’s earned 10 international podium finishes, including a win at the 2019 Jinjiang 4-star. Last year, she nearly added another Olympic appearance by finishing third among U.S. teams in the Olympic Rankings with Kerri Walsh Jennings. Domestically, Sweat’s won three AVP titles and won AVP Defensive Player of the Year four times.
An Estero, Fla., native, Sweat grew up down the street from FGCU, which is located in Fort Myers, Fla.
Watch Sweat’s induction video and speech:
Beach Pro Tour Schedule Announced
The inaugural season of the Beach Pro Tour is nearly here! The new international beach volleyball tour, which combines the sport with music, food and the beach lifestyle, will begin next month with a Challenge-level event in Tlaxcala, Mexico.
The first Elite 16 event, which will host the top 16 teams in the world of each gender, takes place March 24-27, 2022, in Rosarito, Mexico. The earliest Futures tournaments are slated for May.
Check out the schedule that’s been announced below. More tournaments may always be added.
Quiggle/Schermerhorn Take Sixth in King of the Court Finals
Last month, while most beach players were deep into their offseason routines, Corinne Quiggle/Sarah Schermerhorn were in Doha, Qatar, for the 2021 King of the Court Finals. The two took sixth in the event, which features a unique format in which teams – five, not just the typical two – compete to win rallies when they’re on a certain side of the court.
Quiggle/Schermerhorn won their initial group, scoring 15 points in the third and final round. That earned them a berth to the semifinals, where they were eliminated in the second round. The duo still had a shot at a finals berth through the playoff, but they finished third, tying for sixth in the event overall.
Their King of the Court adventure wasn’t the only time Quiggle/Schermerhorn competed together; they finished ninth in the Itapema 4-star a couple months earlier.
Alix Klineman Undergoes Surgery
Didn’t see Klineman’s name on the partner list? There’s a reason for that. Last month, the 2020 Olympic gold medalist shared on her Instagram account that she underwent surgery to clear up some lingering shoulder issues. “Everything went smoothly,” she wrote, “and healing is already going better than expected.” There is no firm date as to when she’ll be able to return to the sand.
Here’s hoping to a good recovery, Alix!
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