COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 5, 2017) – Each new Olympic quadrennial brings a search for the “next generation” of beach volleyball teams.
Which new teams will have an impact on the international stage?
Bill Kolinske and Miles Evans would like to throw their hats into the ring.
The team heads into 2018 with some momentum after finishing second at the FIVB World Tour one-star event in Aaismeer, Netherlands and third at the two-star tournament in Sydney, Australia.
The finishes were enough to move the pair into 60th place in the FIVB World Tour rankings.
“It was fun,” Kolinske said of the FIVB tournaments. “We have been trying all year to get into any events we can. We were signing up for everything. Even one- and two-stars have been tough to get into.”
The pair made its start in 2017 NORCECA Tour events, taking second in Jamaica in June and first in the Dominican Republic in September.
But the team’s formation was not completely smooth.
“At the beginning of the year, (Kolinske) was leading me on that we were going to play together,” Evans remembered. “Then it looked like Mark Burik and Bill were going to play together.”
In April, Kolinske and Burik did take the bronze medal at the NORCECA Tour event in Cayman Islands. But the pairing did not stick and Kolinske and Evans got together.
“I stuck with him this year and it was a really good decision,” Evans said. “I think it was the best decision I could have made. He has taken me from (a beach volleyball rating of) A to triple-A.”
The two might seem a bit of an odd couple. Kolinske, 31 and 6-foot-6, grew up in Big Bend, Wis., and attended the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater where he played basketball. He first played beach volleyball when he was 22.
He worked as a teacher in Wisconsin until he was 26, when he decided to seriously pursue beach volleyball.
Evans, 28 and 6-4, grew up playing volleyball in Santa Barbara and played indoors at Santa Barbara City College and UC Santa Barbara while also playing beach volleyball.
After their first season together, Kolinske and Evans can see a future as a team.
“(Sydney) was the best we’ve played together all year,” Kolinske said. “Our team chemistry was really high.”
“Bill has such a good defensive strategy and we can flip it on a dime,” Evans said. “We can have one strategy and then, the moment something changes, we can react.”
Both are working multiple jobs to fund their volleyball dreams. Evans coaches for a variety of clubs and at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach. Kolinske has a tutoring service and coaches.
The pair is also united by the common goal of competing at the 2020 Olympic Games.
“Our goal (for 2018) is to play all the three-star and up (FIVB tournaments) that we can and get into the five-stars,” Evans said. “Our goal is to play the best and be the best.”
“My goal is trying to get to the Olympics,” Kolinske said. “When I moved here, that’s what I wanted to do. If I keep doing everything I can, that’s all I can do.”