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USA Volleyball

Road Warriors Headed for Miami Beach

Sept. 12, 2011, 6:29 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800
E-Mail: bj.evans@usav.org

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 12, 2011) – Like many U.S. beach volleyball teams, Emily Day and Heather Hughes have spent their summer living out of suitcases and playing in whatever tournament they can.

But unlike some teams, Day and Hughes’ quest has taken them overseas, thanks to USA Volleyball’s beach high performance program.

This weekend, their quest will lead them to the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series stop in Miami on Sept. 16-18.

After Miami, Day (Torrance, Calif.), Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) and other top U.S. beach teams will compete Sept. 23-25 at the 2011 Jose Cuervo Pro Beach National Championship in Hermosa Beach, Calif.

Hermosa Beach is where Day and Hughes train during the few moments they are home in Southern California. They get to train with other USA Volleyball beach high performance teams as part of the program overseen by Ali Lamberson, USAV director of beach programs.

But time at home has been precious this summer as Day and Hughes have competed all over the United States and the world.

This summer’s biggest test for the two former Loyola Marymount indoor players was when they raced back to the United States from Shenzhen, China where they won the silver medal at the World University Games on Friday, Aug. 19.

The team left China right after the medal ceremony on Friday night. By Saturday, Aug. 20, Day and Hughes were competing in the Corona Light Wide Open event in Hermosa Beach.

“We were definitely jet-lagged,” said Day, 24. “We just wanted to see how far we could go.”

The team finished ninth in Hermosa. It wasn’t Day and Hughes’ best domestic finish this season. The pair has taken third at the Wide Open event in Chicago and had another third at the National Volleyball League tournament in Malibu.

But for Day and Hughes, it’s not just about the results, but also the journey, which included Seoul, Korea, where the pair placed fourth at an FIVB Challenger and Satellite event in June.

“It’s definitely exciting,” said Hughes, 25. “I haven’t unpacked my suitcases yet. We’re doing what we love. Traveling with your best friend is great and doing it for volleyball is even better.”

Day and Hughes first made waves in 2007 when they became the lowest-seeded team to advance from the qualifier at an AVP tournament (seeded 54th) as well as for the youngest team to do so (with a combined age of 21). However Hughes pursued a career indoors with the U.S. Women’s National Team, before heading to the beach full time in 2011. Meanwhile, Day competed on the beach with other partners.

Now that the two players are a full-time team, their goal is to spend even more time on the road in the future.

“We would like to jump on the FIVB World Tour,” Hughes said. “We would love to compete against other countries while representing the United States.”

For more information on the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series, visit www.josecuervoprobeachvolleyballseries.com

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