COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 11, 2012) – Four U.S. beach volleyball teams are in Maceio, Brazil this week to compete on Sept. 12-16 at the World University Championships.
The U.S. under-26 teams of Caitlin Ledoux (Phelan, Calif./Long Beach State) and Geena Urango (Los Alamitos, Calif./Univ. of Southern California) along with Emily Day (Torrance, Calif./Loyola Marymount) and Summer Ross (San Diego, Calif./Pepperdine) and will play in the women’s bracket.
Jeremy Casebeer (Santa Barbara, Calif./UCLA) and Will Montgomery (Santa Barbara, Calif./UC Irvine) along with Adam Cabbage (Rio Rancho, N.M./Univ. of New Mexico) and Connor Hughes (Costa Mesa, Calif./UC Irvine) will play on the men’s side.
Anna Collier, women’s sand volleyball coach at the University of Southern California (USC), will serve as the team’s head coach and Patricia Daugherty, coordinator of beach high performance for USA Volleyball will be the U.S. team leader.
“We have completed our pre-competition training at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista,” Daugherty said. “We are bringing a great group of athletes, well-coached by Anna Collier. The athletes are prepared for the strong competition ahead and we will be working on bringing medals back to the U.S.”
Urango had a lot of reasons to look forward to the trip.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “I’ve never been to Brazil so it’s a great excuse to go there. The competition is awesome. I’ve been playing with my partner Caitlin all summer so it’s great to be able to develop that partnership over the summer and really feel comfortable with each other.”
More than 40 teams representing 17 countries from the Americas, Europe and Asia are confirmed to participate in this International University Sports Federation (FISU) event. Players from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Paraguay, Japan, Poland, China, Slovakia, Thailand, Russia, Spain, United States, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Saudi Arabia, Austria and Chinese Taipei are expected.
The U.S. women’s team of Chrissie Zartman and Tracy Lindquist won the gold medal at the World University Championships in 2004. The U.S. men’s team of Mark VanZweiten and Joey Dykstra won the bronze medal at the 2008 Championships while John Mayer and Matt Prosser took bronze in 2006.
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Photo information: From left, Jeremy Casebeer, Will Montgomery, Geena Urango, Summer Ross, Emily Day, Caitlin Ledoux (in front), Anna Collier, Adam Cabbage and Connor Hughes. Photo by Patricia Daugherty copyrighted by USA Volleyball
About the athletes:
Caitlin Ledoux (Phelan, Calif./Long Beach State): Ledoux, who is 22 and 6-foot-2, played three years of volleyball at Long Beach State before playing for the sand volleyball team in 2011-12. She and partner Tara Roenicke placed second to U.S. teammate Summer Ross and Caitlin Racich in the final of the 2012 AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championships. Ledoux has competed internationally at the 2008 FIVB youth world championships, where she finished fifth with Roenicke. She and Roenicke placed fourth at an FIVB event in Korea in 2010. Ledoux and Geena Urango won the 2012 USAV International Development Qualifier (IDQ) in Playa del Rey, Calif., and the under-26 division of the 2012 USAV Beach High Performance Championships. They finished 13th at the 2012 Manhattan Beach Open.
Geena Urango (Los Alamitos, Calif./Univ. of Southern California): Urango, who is 23 and 5-11, played four seasons of indoor volleyball for USC before playing a season of sand volleyball in the spring of 2012. Urango and partner Sara Shaw finished tied for third at the 2012 USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge. Urango and partner Jane Chefeh placed 17th at the 2011 World University Games. Urango and Ledoux won the 2012 USAV International Development Qualifier (IDQ) in Playa del Rey, Calif., and the under-26 division of the 2012 USAV Beach High Performance Championships. They finished 13th at the 2012 Manhattan Beach Open.
Emily Day (Torrance, Calif./Loyola Marymount): Day, who is 25 and 6-1, competed indoors for Loyola Marymount as an outside hitter for four years. After that, she turned to beach volleyball. In 2011, Day and partner Heather Hughes won silver medals at the NORCECA beach series event in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and at the World University Games in China. They placed fourth at the Pan American Games, which were also in Puerto Vallarta. This year, Day and Hughes won the Wide Open tour event in August in Seaside, Ore. They have two fifth-place finishes in Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Series events, including Manhattan Beach. Day placed second with Christal Engle at the 2012 USAV IDQ event in Chula Vista, Calif., and third with Tealle Hunkus at the IDQ in Playa del Rey.
Summer Ross (San Diego, Calif./Pepperdine): Ross, who is 19 and 6-1, finished her first season of sand volleyball at Pepperdine as the champion of the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championships along with Caitlin Racich and also led the Waves to the team title. The pair also won the 2012 USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge. Ross and partner Sara Hughes finished fourth at the 2012 FIVB beach junior world championships. Ross and Kim Hill placed ninth at the 2012 Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Tour event in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In 2010, Ross became the first player to win gold at both the FIVB beach junior world championships (with Tara Roenicke) and the youth world championships (with Jane Croson) in the same year.
Jeremy Casebeer (Santa Barbara, Calif./UCLA): Casebeer, 23 and 6-foot-5, completed his senior season as an outside hitter with UCLA in May. He competed at the 2008 FIVB beach youth world championships and finished ninth with Andrew McGuire. Casebeer and Will Montgomery have finished 17th at the 2012 Jose Cuervo tournaments in Belmar, N.J., and Hermosa Beach, Calif.
Will Montgomery (Santa Barbara, Calif./UC Irvine): Montgomery, 22 and 6-2, finished his junior season as a libero for UC Irvine in May by winning the NCAA national championship. In June, he and partner Jon Mesko won the USAV IDQ in June in Playa del Rey, Calif. He has competed three times at the FIVB beach youth world championships, with his best finish a fifth with Maddison McKibbin in 2008. Montgomery and Evan Barry placed fourth at the NORCECA beach series event in 2010 in Chula Vista, Calif.
Adam Cabbage (Rio Rancho, N.M./Univ. of New Mexico): Cabbage, who is 24 and 6-foot-3, and partner Nils Nielsen finished third at the USAV IDQ in March in Chula Vista, Calif. The pair also finished 13th at the 2012 NVL event in Baltimore and the 2012 Jose Cuervo Series tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Connor Hughes (Costa Mesa, Calif./UC Irvine): Hughes, who is 22 and 6-6, completed his sophomore season as an outside hitter for UC Irvine by winning the NCAA National Championship. Hughes and partner Madison McKibbin placed seventh at the 2011 World University Games. Hughes and Jeff Carlson finished fifth at the FIVB beach junior world championships in Turkey. Hughes and Cabbage placed 25th at the Manhattan Beach Open.