COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Beach volleyball is in the final countdown ahead of the season opening Swatch Major Series in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from Feb. 7-12.
The United States will host the first FIVB World Tour stop of 2017, which will have an expected 18 evening matches under stadium lights. The last time a major beach event had premiere matches at night were at the 2016 Olympics, which saw Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross play in five matches that started after 11 p.m. Though the idea isn’t new to the World Tour, it is a first for the Swatch Major Series.
The U.S. has four teams in the main draw and two in the qualifier, for both genders. Among the men’s main draw are: third seeded Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena, #11 John Hyden/Tri Bourne, #15 Casey Patterson/Theo Brunner (the wild card entry) and #12 Jake Gibb/Taylor Crabb. In the men’s qualifier are Stafford Slick/Billy Allen and Sean Rosenthal/Trevor Crabb (wild card).
Ross/Walsh Jennings are the women’s tournament No. 1 seed, and they are joined in the main draw by: #13 Brooke Sweat/Summer Ross, #15 Lauren Fendrick/Sara Hughes and wild card entry Lane Carico/Irene Pollock. The qualification tournament will be played by Emily Day/Brittany Hochevar and Kelly Claes/Kelly Reeves (wild card).
Both genders have two reserve teams, for if/when any of the other 48 teams/gender drop out. A change from previous FIVB seasons, countries can have a maximum of six teams entered to play prior to using a reserve team.
The men’s competition in Fort Lauderdale will hail returning teams in USA’s Dalhausser/Lucena and Hyden/Bourne. Internationally, the pairs with history include Olympic champions Alison Cerutti/Bruno Schmidt of Brazil, Italy’s Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo and Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins. Of the women’s teams, USA’s Ross/Walsh Jennings are the only on the confirmed list to play that have past extensive experience together. Half of the field in the main draw are new teams and its quite noteworthy to see Claes and Reeves receive a wild card for the qualifier, a young team and new partnership that could take off.
FIVB BEACH COMING TO FLORIDA
A total of 56 teams will be admitted for the 2017 Swatch Major Series in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The qualification tournament of 24 teams per gender begins on Feb. 7, followed by the 32-team main draw from Feb. 8-11 for the men and Feb. 8-12 for the women. Click here for more information about the #FTLMajor.
JUNIOR BEACH TOUR
The Junior Beach Tour has recently added tournaments in Hermosa Beach, CA, Louisville, KY and Vero Beach, FL.
Registration is open for over 55 events, offering participants the opportunity to play within their region and to travel to different locations outside of their region and state. Click to see the entire 2017 schedule.