COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States will play its first NORCECA Continental Tour tournament this weekend in Mexico. Four professional events sprinkle the calendar in the month of April.
As professional beach volleyball athletes prep for two upcoming NORCECA Continental Tour stops and one and three-star FIVB tournaments, youth volleyball in the U.S. is gearing up for an exciting summer. USAV is hosting a Beach Collegiate Challenge on Saturday, April 8, the Beach High Performance pipeline has one remaining camp, and has tied in the Junior Beach Tour to bring athletes into the Selection Weekend.
The NORCECA La Paz tournament will begin on Friday, April 7 and wrap on Sunday. The U.S. held its first NORCECA playoff on March 22 to award bids to La Paz and the Cayman Islands. Second and third-place finishers Jon Mesko/Skylar Del Sol and Stafford Slick/Reid Priddy will play this week in Mexico. The top two women’s playoff finishers, Betsi Flint/Kelley Larsen and Brittany Hochevar/Emily Day, will take the sand with seasoned partnerships.
|NORCECA La Paz Roster|
|Betsi Flint||Kelley Larsen||Main Draw|
|Brittany Hochevar||Emily Day||Main Draw|
|Jon Mesko||Skylar Del Sol||Main Draw|
|Stafford Slick||Reid Priddy||Main Draw|
|Spencer Mack||Sports Medicine, ATC, CES|
NCAA BEACH | USAV BEACH COLLEGIATE CHALLENGE
The top four NCAA programs retained their placement in the AVCA Coaches Rankings, led by unbeaten Southern California, 20-0. Long Beach State jumped Hawaii for the No. 5 spot, after improving to 17-3. The big weekend tournament will take place in Tallahassee, featuring five top ranked opponents in No. 4 Florida State, No. 10 Georgia State, No. 11 South Carolina, No. 13 Florida International and No. 14 Florida Atlantic. In Santa Monica, third ranked UCLA will face No. 5 Long Beach State, No. 8 Arizona, Washington and Concordia. USAV’s Beach Collegiate Challenge will feature No. 1 USC, No. 15 Arizona State, Loyola Marymount and Saint Mary’s in Manhattan Beach, Calif. on Saturday, April 8.
USA VOLLEYBALL COLLEGIATE BEACH CHAMPIONSHIPS
From May 11-13 USA Volleyball will host a double-gender Collegiate Beach Championships in Hermosa Beach, California. Twenty-four women’s pairs and eight men’s pairs will play for a spot on a USA Volleyball collegiate beach national team. The event will bring back the pairs championship to the collegiate game, allowing more schools the opportunity to have a pair title outside of the NCAA’s team championship that will be held May 5-7. Team nominations for the men’s field will be accepted until April 26, and the women’s nominations open on April 12.
One women’s bid will be awarded to each of the eight schools at the NCAA Championship, 14 will be awarded by the Selection Committee with two wild cards by the USAV Beach Department. Seven men’s places are awarded by the Selection Committee and one wild card by the Beach Department. Athletes competing at the event must be a citizen of the United States and rostered athletes from a 2017 collegiate volleyball program.
NBCSN will air the women’s final live on May 13 from 6-7:30 p.m. ET, and immediately afterwards the taped delayed men’s final.
FIVB BEACH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN VIENNA
The 2017 FIVB Beach World Championships will be played in Vienna, Austria, July 28-Aug. 6. A field of 48-teams per gender will hit the courts, with a maximum of four teams per gender, per country. Three teams can qualify through FIVB World Tour Ranking, and a fourth through the NORCECA Continental Tour.
Since the inception of the event in 1997, the U.S. has had five winners and 14 medalists at the event. In 2015, winners of the event earned their country an Olympic berth, both gender winners came from Brazil. USA’s top finishers were Nick Lucena/Theo Brunner, fourth, and Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat, tied for fifth.
BEACH HIGH PERFORMANCE SKILLS ASSESSMENT CAMP IN CALIFORNIA
Beach High Performance has one remaining Skills Assessment Camp, April 29-30, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Central Zone camp wraps up the new format that has featured four zonal camps as the pathway into the High Performance program this year. Players can also earn an invitation to the HP Selection Weekend by winning one of the three remaining selected Junior Beach Tour tournaments, each over the April 22 weekend.
JUNIOR BEACH TOUR
Eight stops are coming up on the Junior Beach Tour in the month of April. This weekend kicks it off with the Mesquite Beach Series in Gilbert, Arizona. At the end of the month, the Tour will be played in seven different states on both sides of the country.