COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 14, 2012) – U.S. beach volleyball players Kathryn (Babcock) Piening (Kalamazoo, Mich.) and Traci Weamer (Upland, Calif.) had never competed together, or even practiced, when they won the gold medal at the NORCECA Beach Circuit event on Oct. 26-28 in St. Lucia.
But these days, to be successful in beach volleyball, it helps to be flexible.
It was Weamer who was asked to play in St. Lucia by USA Volleyball. She reached out to Piening, whom she had met, but with whom she had never played.
It turned out to be a good move.
“She is awesome, has a really great attitude and loves the sport,” Weamer said of Piening. “We had never practiced or played together, not even at a king of the beach tournament. But it was so easy to adapt.”
Piening said of Weamer, “She’s easy to play with. We had a great time.”
The pair went 5-0 in winning the tournament, and did not lose a set until the gold medal match against Costa Rica’s Ingrid Morales and Natalia Alfaro, which the U.S. pair won, 17-21, 22-20, 15-12.
“We won the first game, but lost the second 22-20,” Piening said. “We were up 20-19, but then they got an ace. That put pressure on us. They were definitely the first team (of the tournament) that had pushed us to play our best.”
In spite of their success, both players will go back to their regular partners next season. Weamer will play with Erin Gray (Orland Park, Ill.) while Piening will play with Sheila Shaw (Muskego, Wis.).
Before then, however, Weamer will play with Tealle Hunkus (Girard, Ohio) at the NORECA Beach Circuit event in Trinidad & Tobago (see note below).
Weamer said being laid back definitely helps her to enjoy beach volleyball.
“I really have no expectations. I don’t expect (tournaments) to be amazing or awful,” she said. “I take it for what it is. I’m definitely more of a laid back and go-with-the-flow person. As a beach volleyball player, you have to be that way.
“The sport is changing so much and there is always something coming at you. You have to be open to everything. You never know what will happen.”
Maybe a gold medal.
NORCECA BEACH CIRCUIT – TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
Four U.S. beach volleyball teams will compete Nov. 16-18 at the NORCECA Circuit event in Trinidad & Tobago.
The women’s USA1 team will be Traci Weamer and Tealle Hunkus while the USA2 team will be Emily Day (Torrance, Calif.) and Summer Ross (San Diego, Calif.).
Day and Ross won the World University Championships in September in Maceio, Brazil. But the two were on opposite sides of the net later that month when Day and partner Heather Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) defeated Ross and Morgan Beck (Coto de Caza, Calif.) in the gold medal match of the NORCECA Circuit event in Chula Vista, Calif.
On the men’s side, the USA1 team will be Will Montgomery (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Tony Ciarelli (Huntington Beach, Calif.) while USA2 will include Weston Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Curt Toppel (Pacific Palisades, Calif.).
Montgomery and Ciaralli played against each other in the final of the NORCECA event in St. Lucia, which Montgomery and partner Jon Mesko (Traverse City, Mich.) won, 21-13, 24-22. Ciarelli’s partner for that event was Jeff Carlson (Newport Beach, Calif.), with whom Ciarelli won a silver medal at the 2008 FIVB youth world championship.
Teams from 13 countries have registered to participate in the event, which will be held in Mission Beach on the island of Trinidad.
For more information on the event, click here.
FIVB HOLDS BEACH MEETINGS
The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) completed a weeklong series of meetings on Nov. 9, which included a Continental Cup/ World Cup workshop, the FIVB Beach Volleyball Commission, FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Council for Grand Slam events and FIVB World Championships, and the FIVB Beach Volleyball Council for Open Events.
The participants of the Continental Cup / World Cup workshop reviewed the results of the first edition of the competition and discussed ideas for the next cycle.
The FIVB Beach Volleyball Commission – composed of more members representing all five Continental Confederations as of this year – assessed the structure of future beach volleyball events, the integration of each level of events through the FIVB World Ranking and the continuous activation of beach volleyball worldwide. Taking into account the current world financial crisis, the FIVB has committed to creating a sustainable model for international beach volleyball events.
As a result of these meetings, the FIVB will continue developing the Continental Cup and World Cup, which in their first edition involved 143 countries.
Meanwhile, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Council was presented with the beach volleyball events scheme, positioning Grand Slam events as the FIVB`s elite property, and the Open events as the intermediate property providing more opportunities for athletes worldwide.
In the meeting that took place on Thursday, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Council for World Championships and Grand Slams, also confirmed that the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships will take place July 1-7 next year in Stare Jablonki, Poland.
To read the complete press release from the FIVB, click here.
COLLEGE MEN COMPETE IN ARIZONA
The Arizona Region of USA Volleyball sponsored the first-ever Arizona Men's Collegiate Beach Championship on Nov. 10 at Glendale, Ariz.
It was an all-Grand Canyon University final as Trent Bruns and Ryan Mather defeated teammates Erik Jensen and David Beck 21-12, 21-9. A total of 11 teams from four colleges competed in the inaugural event.
BEACH COACHING ACCREDITATION OFFERED
Come join USA Volleyball at the AVCA Convention and earn your Beach Coaching Accreditation Level I on Dec. 12-15 at the Kentucky International Convention Center.
We invite you to be active participants throughout this course; to share ideas on technique, drill design, strategy and pedagogy; to ask questions and make suggestions; and to get sandy.
If you have already registered to attend the AVCA Convention, you can still ADD the BCAP USAV course.
Click here to register and get more information on the Beach CAP I.