ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a $1,000,000 FIVB Grand Slam in Long Beach
Being held in Long Beach, Calif., the event is tied for offering the largest Grand Slam purse in FIVB history with last week’s in the Netherlands and the weeklong festival will feature extensive coverage by the NBC family of networks. Tuesday’s qualifying netted eight women’s teams from eight countries and eight men’s teams from six countries advancing to the start of pool play on Wednesday.
This year’s ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a $1,000,000 FIVB Grand Slam, is the third of four consecutive FIVB Grand Slam tournaments being held in four separate countries—Switzerland, The Netherlands, the United States and Austria. With the FIVB based in Lausanne, Switzerland, Gstaad was the venue two weeks ago and The Netherlands hosted last week, anchoring in The Hague but also playing parts of pool play in Amsterdam and Apeldoorn before heading to the USA this week.
Overall the event is a SoCal beach festival that includes 4-person and 6-person recreational events, a youth tournament and nightly music concerts. The event also includes live or same-day telecasts split between NBC Sports Network, Universal Network and NBC TV Network.
The ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a $1,000,000 FIVB Grand Slam is using a format of a single-day qualification tournament on Tuesday to determine the final eight spots in each gender’s 32-team main draw tournaments, round-robin pool play with begin on Wednesday. It will conclude with a single-elimination bracket for the final 24 teams. With the event being held for the first time in Long Beach the purpose-built site is located on the sands of the Alamitos Beach adjacent to Marina Green Park on East Shoreline Drive. General admission is free to the event and VIP tickets are on sale through the event website at www.wsobv.com.
Men and women’s single-elimination play will begin on Friday with the quarterfinals for men also on Friday. Women’s quarterfinals and men’s and women’s semifinals will be held on Saturday. The medal matches closing the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a $1,000,000 FIVB Grand Slam will be held on Sunday. Monday’s qualification tournament for each gender will start at 9 a.m. Tuesday, through Friday is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. and at 10 a.m. on Sunday for the medal matches.
The total entry list for the 2014 ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a $1,000,000 FIVB Grand Slam includes 79 men’s teams from 29 countries and 60 women’s teams from 26 countries selected by their respective national federations.
With either one or two win-or-go-home victories in Tuesday’s qualifying, the eight women’s teams advancing to the main draw are Brazil’s newest team of legendary players Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes, Canada’s Melissa Humana-Paredes/Taylor Pischke, Germany’s Isabel Schneider/Teresa Mersmann, Kazakhstan’s Mashkova Tatyana/Irina Tsimbalova, Mexico’s Martha Ruevuelta/Bibiana Candelas, Sweden’s Karin Lundqvist/Nina Grawender, Switzerland’s Tanja Goricanec/Tanja Huberli and USA’s Heather Hughes/Christal Engle.
In a major upset, Sweden’s Lundqvist/Grawender eliminated Brazilian sisters Maria Clara Salgado/Carolina Salgado in straight sets, 21-15, 22-20 in 40 minutes. The Salgado sisters were the top-seeded team in the qualification tournament and Sweden’s Lundqvist/Grawender were seeded 17th.
Sweden’s Lundqvist, whose team also won a three-set first round qualification match against Greece’s Maria Tsiartsiani/Vailiki Arvaniti, said after the win against Brazil, “We played as good as we can and beat a very, very good team. We play hard every tournament and match, but this was something special. We are very, very happy to make it into the main draw at this wonderful tournament in the USA.”
After their team’s two-set win over China’s Yuanyuan Ma/Xinyi Xia, USA’s Engle said, "I am so happy right now and I am so proud of us as a team to come in here and play the playoff on Monday, the qualifier today and start the main draw tomorrow. It probably was good for us to have a couple warm-up matches to get used to the site and get used to the sand and the wind and what to expect. (Today's match) was awesome. I think we played the best that we have ever played together and we beat a good Chinese team. It felt great."
Hughes added, "Since this is our first FIVB Grand Slam, it was good to ease into it instead of just right off the bat going for it. (Today) we came together as a team for sure, defense, blocking. Everything started to gel. China played good. They were swinging away. I think we just played them very well and had a good strategy."
Emerging from two rounds of men’s qualifying were two teams from Canada—Christian Redmann/Maverick Hatch and compatriots Josh Binstock/Sam Schachter, two from the United States—Todd Rogers/Theodore Brunner and compatriots James Drost/Casey Jennings along with Brazil’s Vitor Felipe/Evandro Goncalves, China’s Cheng Chen/Jian Li, Chilean cousins Marco Grimalt/Esteban Grimalt, Czech Republic’s Kubala Premysl/Jan Hadrava.
Overall, Canada had three additional teams qualify for the main draw, two men’s and one women’s teams as did the United States with two men and one women’s team.
After winning in three sets against Austria’s Daniel Mullner/Jorg Wutzl, USA Jennings, whose wife is three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh Jennings, remarked,” We finally settled down. Once you get really hot and warm on the court you start to forget what the match is worth. That's really important. It took us a minute to get in the mindset of forgetting about what it was worth - getting into the main draw and all that. We just had to turn our brains off and play a little bit."
After winning in two sets against Puerto Rico, Czech Republic’s Premysl Kubala commented, “It was funny because yesterday we were practicing with the Puerto Rico team so we could prepare our tactics. My partner and I have been playing just a few weeks together so we made some mistakes in our game, so we have to improve for the main draw teams.”
Speaking after the match they won in two sets over USA’ William Montgomery/Stafford Slick, Canada’s Josh Binstock related, “It wasn't our best game but it gives us confidence to win it.You won't always be your best but it's important to keep trying. I normally pride myself on blocking and I wasn't my best today but I stayed confident and we were able to move on after getting that qualifier out of the way.”
FIVB WORLD TOUR LEADERS
The top three podium teams in each gender at 2014 FIVB Grand Slam events receive 800, 720 and 640 points respectively.
After nine men’s and 10 women’s events the top three FIVB World Tour point leaders and the top three FIVB World Tour money leaders come from six countries-Brazil, China, Czech Republic Latvia, Poland and the United States. All of the point and money-leading teams except the women’s team from the Czech Republic are among the entries for this week’s ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a $1,000,000 FIVB Grand Slam.
USA’s Dalhausser/Rosenthal duo continues as the point leader with 4,100 points. Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins is second with 3,650 points in the men’s 2014 FIVB World Tour point standings followed by Brazil’s Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt with 4,590.
In the 2014 FIVB World Tour men’s season earnings, the leading team continues to be USA’s Dalhausser/Rosenthal with $224,000 followed by Poland’s Gregorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel with $149,000, Brazil’s Cerutti /Schmidt third with $118,000.
For the women, Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta/Maria Antonelli are still at the top with 4,480 points followed by China’s Fan Wang/Yuan Yue with 4,100 and USA’s April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings tandem is third with 3,820 points.
In the 2014 FIVB World Tour women’s season earnings, continuing to lead is USA’s A. Ross/Walsh Jennings with $184,000 followed by Brazil’s Juliana/Antonelli with $165,375 and Czech Republic’s Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova third with $152,000.
OH, WHAT A FOUR-SOME
Starting with the FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam in Switzerland and then last week’s FIVB The Hague Transavia Grand Slam, the 2014 FIVB World Tour is in the second half a four week run of Grand Slam events in four countries with a FIVB-record total purse of $3.6 million. Following the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a FIVB Grand Slam this week, this foursome ends with the FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam in Austria (July 29-Aug. 3).
While the FIVB Grand Slams in Gstaad and Klagenfurt have this year’s regular Grand Slam purses of $800,000 each the Grand Slams in the Netherlands and the USA each has a FIVB Grand Slam-record purse of $1 million.
As the host nation, the United States has four men’s and five women’s teams automatically pre-seeded into the main draw . For the men, the American teams in the main draw are Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson, John Hyden/Tri Bourne, Nick Lucena/Ryan Doherty and Sean Rosenthal. For the women, the USA main draw teams are Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Walsh, Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat, Emily Day/Summer Ross, Lane Carico/Brittany Hochevar and Nicole Branagh/Whitney Pavlik.
Additionally, the USA will have three men’s team and two women’s teams in their respective qualification tournaments. The three men’s qualification teams from the USA are Todd Rogers/Theodore Brunner, William Montgomery/Stafford Slick and James Drost/Casey Jennings while the two USA women’s qualification teams are. Heather Hughes/Christal Engle and Kendra Vanzwieten/Allison Daley.
LONG BEACH REPLAY
Men’s championship team of the 2013 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam was USA’s host country duo of Sean Rosenthal/Phil Dalhausser. Winning last year’s women’s gold medal in Long Beach was another new Brazilian duo of Talita Antunes/Taiana Lima.
USA MEDAL COUNT
Through the 2013 event, the United States has hosted a total of 20 FIVB World Tour events (10 men, 10 women) with Brazil leading the medal count in both genders. In the men’s totals, Brazil has 11 medals, followed by the USA with eight, Argentina, Norway and Switzerland with two each and with one men’s medal each the USA are Canada, Italy and Spain.
After 10 FIVB World Tour women’s events held in the United States through 2013, Brazil leads the medal parade with 14 total medals followed by the USA with 12, Australia with three and with one women’s medal in the USA is Germany.
J’s BACK, AND NOW LARISSA, TOO
After sitting out last year’s FIVB World Tour, Brazil’s iconic Juliana Felisberta Silva returned to team with the very talented veteran Maria Antonelli. Juliana played domestically in 2013 following the one-year retirement of her legendary teammate Larissa Franca with whom she won an unprecedented seven FIVB World Tour season point championships between 2005 and 2012, the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games. In addition to leading the women’s 2014 FIVB World Tour point standings and being second in earnings, overall the Juliana/Antonelli duo has a 49-14 record on this year’s FIVB World Tour, with three silver medals (Fuzhou, Puerto Vallarta, Berlin) and one bronze (The Hague). Antonelli played last season with Agatha Bednarczuk and finished fifth in the 2013 FIVB Season Rankings.
Brazil’s Larissa is mae her return to the FIVB in The Hague, teaming with 2013 FIVB season point champion and fellow Olympian Talita Antunes where they finished ninth in their first tournament back with a 3-1 record, losing only to Brazil’s eventual champions Lima/Alves.
FIVB PURSE, TOURNEY TOTALS
The ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a $1,000,000 FIVB Grand Slam, will be the 307th FIVB men’s tournament since its first event in 1987 and the 271st FIVB women’s tournament since FIVB began women’s competitions in 1992. Gold medal winning teams in each gender in the Netherlands will split $70,000, silver will receive $52,000, bronze winners get $40,000 and the fourth place finishers will earn $30,000 of the $1,000,000 total purse.
THIS IS LONG BEACH
Long Beach is one of nine U.S. cities that have hosted an international FIVB beach volleyball event. Others have been Atlanta, Carson, Calif., Chicago, Clearwater, Fla., Hermosa Beach, Calif., Los Angeles, Miami and New York. The event in Atlanta was the 1996 Olympic Games, the first at which Beach Volleyball was a medal sport.
Long Beach is a city situated in Los Angeles County in Southern California, on the Pacific coast of the United States. The city is the 36th-largest city in the nation and the seventh-largest in California with its population of nearly 475,000. The city is a dominant maritime center of the United States. The Port of Long Beach is the United States' second busiest container port and one of the world's largest shipping ports. The city also maintains a large oil industry with the substance being found both underground and offshore.