Team Florida Wave Making Waves in Men’s Open

By Bill Kauffman | May 28, 2013, 3:24 p.m. (ET)

by Deb Stadick for USA Volleyball

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 28, 2013) - The Men’s Open division is coming to an exciting conclusion at the 2013 USA Volleyball Open National Championships being held at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville, Ky. But 2008 Olympic Games gold medalists Lloy Ball and Riley Salmon’s Team Pineapple isn’t drawing all the attention.

Team Florida Wave, one of five men’s teams slated to compete in the inaugural season of the Men’s Premier Volleyball League (PVL), started the Men’s Open Division of the USA Volleyball Open National Championships with an undefeated 7-0 record to reach the championship match.

The PVL is a grassroots professional volleyball league using USA Volleyball’s 40 Regional Volleyball Associations as the foundation for the team structure. The league, which started a women’s program last year and implemented a men’s division this year, is sanctioned by USA Volleyball. On the women’s side, Team Florida Wave women have also advanced to the PVL Women’s Championship this year and will face Team Iowa Ice on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.

Team Florida Wave Men is using this tournament as a warm-up for the PVL being held June 29 to July 2 in conjunction with the 2013 USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championships in Reno, Nev.

“Our goals coming into this year were to create the most competitive program possible without the advantage of any NCAA Division I men’s volleyball programs in the state,” Team Florida Wave General Manager Steve Bishop said. “Without the men’s NCAA programs, we do not have a big pool of athletes and many of our players have a beach background. Second, we came to this tournament wanting to use it as an opportunity to find out where we fit in the grand scheme of things. Third, we wanted to get the players ready for the PVL Championships in Reno.”

Other men’s PVL teams include Great Lakes Region, New England, Northern California and Western Empire. Additional teams may join the tournament in Reno based on Regional Volleyball Association commissioner’s feedback.

“The feedback that I am getting is the regions that are here competing in the Open are expressing interest in the PVL and possibly compete in Reno this year,” Bishop said.