| Medalists in the women's under-26 division at the USAV Beach High Performance Championships, including Stevi Robinson, third
from left, and Caitlin Ledoux, third from right.
HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. (July 18, 2013) – Stevi Robinson (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) and partner Caitlin Ledoux (Phelan, Calif.) won gold in the women’s under-26 (U26) division at the 2013 USA Volleyball Beach High Performance Championships (Beach HPC) in Hermosa Beach, Calif., on Thursday.
Robinson said that all she could think during the final point of the final match was, “God, please don’t make us play a third set!”
Ledoux added, “We just got off the plane from Russia, pretty much."
Robinson and Ledoux represented the United States at the 2013 World University Games in Kazan, Russia, where the duo placed ninth. Competition ended on July 13, and the athletes flew home the following day. After only one day off, they were back on the sand on July 16 to compete at Beach HPC.
“Yesterday and this morning we were just trying to get our bodies moving again,” Ledoux said. “We were so dead tired. By the last match we were finally feeling like our bodies were working right and our minds were a little more fresh.”
“My time is so messed up,” Robinson said with a shake of her head. “I don’t know what time I’m going to sleep, what time I’m waking up.”
After winning two long, three-set matches earlier in the day Robinson and Ledoux were hoping for a quick victory in the final. They got their wish as they defeated Leah Hinkey (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) and Emily Stockman (Hermosa Beach, Calif.), 21-14, 23-21.
“It’s a good little way to end it,” Robinson said.
Despite the jet lag and exhaustion, Robinson and Ledoux had nothing but rave reviews about their time at the World University Games. There was a bit of culture shock to adjust to, and Ledoux said she was a little overwhelmed. Because 27 sports were competing in Kazan, Robinson and Ledoux lived with 7,000 other athletes.
“It was so cool,” Robinson said. “You know, you kind of think about it when you’re at these tournaments, like ‘oh, I’m playing internationally!’ But that tournament had 129 different countries, and you really get to see it. They’re all around. You go to the cafeteria to eat and it’s like, South Africa, Thailand, Korea… just everyone.”
Robinson and Ledoux are both pursuing master’s degrees (Robinson at USC and Ledoux at Long Beach State). The competition in Kazan was often much older and much more experienced.
“The Russian team that won it took ninth in the Olympics last year,” Ledoux said with a laugh. “All those girls have been playing together forever, for years, and Stevi and I have played three tournaments together before. But it’s a good learning experience, going to these tournaments and playing teams that are really, really, really good, because it only makes us better.”
They also managed to make time for sightseeing in Russia, taking a tour of Moscow while on a 12-hour layover in the city. Both athletes especially enjoyed visiting Red Square.
“There’s just so much history behind all of that,” Ledoux said. “Russia’s not really a place we’re gonna just go for vacation, so being able to see all that while we’re still really young is really cool.”
This is far from the end of international travel for Ledoux, as she will be moving to Switzerland in September to play indoor volleyball professionally. Robinson plans to try out for the U.S. Women’s National Team when open tryouts are held in February. Beach HPC is probably the last tournament they will play together this summer and for the foreseeable future.
“We’re a very quiet team,” Ledoux said. “Our struggle all summer has been to find some spark on the court, because we’re both the calm, steady players. As the tournament went on we got our bodies working and our heads in the right place and got more confident.”
“Smiling, laughing, having fun,” Robinson added.
A gold medal was definitely something worth smiling about, jet lag and all.
For match schedules and results, click here.
2013 USA Volleyball Beach High Performance Championships
U15 Girls: July 19-21
U17 Girls: July 18-20
U19 Girls: July 19-21
U21 Women: Gold - Jace Pardon (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Lara Dykstra (Redondo Beach, Calif.); Silver - Sophie Asprey (Dallas, Texas) and Becca Strehlow (Long Beach, Calif.); Bronze - Kamila Tan (San Diego, Calif.) and Emily Podschweit (Denver, Colo.)
U26 Women: Gold - Stevi Robinson (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) and Kaitlin Ledoux (Phelan, Calif.); Silver - Leah Hinkey (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) and Emily Stockman (Hermosa Beach, Calif.); Bronze - Kirby Burnham (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Meg Norton (Pacific Palisades, Calif.)
U15 Boys: July 18-20
U17 Boys: July 18-20
U19 Boys: July 19-21
U21 Men: Gold - Branden Clemens (Carmel, Ind.) and Chris Long (Tustin, Calif.); Silver - Brendan Duff (Carmel, Ind.) and Cody Martin (Tucson, Ariz.); Bronze - Skyler McCoy (Long Beach, Calif.) and Austin Rysyk (San Jose, Calif.)
U26 Men: Gold - Adam Cabbage (Rio Ranchero, N.M.) and Rob Page (Rochester, N.Y.); Silver - Kyle Stevenson (Ranchos Palos Verdes, Calif.) and Martin Lorenz (Spokane, Wash.); Bronze - Weston Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Kevin Villea (Glendale, Ariz.)