Athletes ages 12-18 from the United States and other countries competed in three days of matches in the USA Beach High Performance Championships. The age-group tournaments are part os USA Volleyball’s Path to the Podium program, which attempts to identify, evaluate and develop talent at the player, coach, and officials level.
- London Wijay and Sofia Williams beat Malyssa /Cawa 2-0 (22-20, 21-14).
- Best of the beach format with Dominic Shtylla coming out on top.
- Gala Trubint and Kelly Belardi beat Jordan Boulware and Katie Miller 2-0 (21-10, 21-11).
“Overall, I thought the tournament went really well. We stayed really consistent over the past two days.” – Trubint
“I think our energy was really good. It helped us throughout the game. I thought we served really aggressively to get other teams out of system so we could play defense and get the ball back.” – Belardi
- Marcello Souza and Mick Bakos beat Gavin Blanchette and Thomas Hurst 2-0 (21-11, 21-13).
“This was a really fun tournament. It taught me to be a better player. It was a fun experience. I learned how to be a better blocker. My coach really helped me throughout the experience.” – Souza
- Delaynie Maple and Meg Kraft beat Olivia Bako and Peri Brennan 2-1 (21-12, 24-26, 15-11).
“I think we grew completely from the first game to the last game. I think it was a completely different game. We had our coach, Barbra Fontana, who absolutely helped us so much throughout the whole thing. There’s nothing like playing next to your best friend.” – Maple
“I learned how to compete and strategize when something isn’t going your way and changing it. I think we did a good job of that, especially with Coach Barb’s help. It was really fun to compete against some of the best teams.” – Kraft
Both Maple and Kraft have verbally committed to the University of Southern California for beach volleyball.
- Grant Strong and Kyle Johnson defeated Adam Hartmann and John Ziska 2-1 (21-14, 18-21, 16-14).
“Our thing throughout the tournament was playing steady and being aggressive because other teams can’t really adapt to hard swings.” – Strong
“This morning we didn’t play as well as we wanted to. But then in the semis we definitely brought it back and played our best game.” – Johnson
- Stanford-bound twins Audrey and Nicole Nourse beat Devon Newberry and Lindsey Sparks 2-1 (21-19, 17-21, 16-14). Newberry and Sparks recently finished fourth at the FIVB U19 World Championships and in October will compete at the Youth Olympic Games.
“I think the great thing about the tournament is it gives you time to learn from your matches because you have a lot of time in between. Early on, it was a little shaky, we had a tough time getting into it. By the time we got to the finals, our growth over the tournament helped us pull it out.” – Nicole Nourse
“We learned about connecting with each other and trusting each other. We learned how to adjust when we’re lacking in some areas like serving or sideout. We learned to come in with an aggressive mindset and play together.” – Audrey Nourse
- Tim Brewster and John Schwengel defeated Dane Johnson and Brett Sheward 2-1 (21-14, 21-11).
“We peaked for this tournament. We were playing our best volleyball. (Rivera/Santiago) beat us in Cuba and we really wanted to play hard and not lose on our home beach.” -Schwengel
“It was really nice to come out and beat both those teams and play like we know we can play.” – Brewster
Brewster and Schwengel were part of the Junior National Team that competed at the FIVB U19 World Championships. At Manhattan Beach, they got a big semifinal win over Puerto Rico’s William Rivera and Randall Santiago, who had beaten Brewster and Schwengel in the qualifier for the Youth Olympics. Both players are going to college and hope to continue playing beach volleyball. Unfortunately, beach volleyball is not an NCAA-sanctioned sport for men.