Anders Mol, Player of the Year

Film Room Friday: Anders Mol, FIVB Player of the Year, Highlight Reel

Last August, after narrowly missing out on what would have been his fourth Manhattan Beach Open title, Jake Gibb sat in the USA Volleyball offices, fresh off a workout, riffing on all things volleyball.

The biggest of those things, literally and metaphorically, was Anders Mol.

“There is,” Gibb said on SANDCAST that day, “going to be a lot of Norwegian film being passed around.”

With good reason. At that point in the season, Mol’s and Christian Sorum’s first full year on the FIVB, the young Norwegians had made the ascent from placing fifth in a one-star in France to winning Gstaad, Vienna, and Hamburg back to back to back. It was the most prize money made in a three tournament span in the history of beach volleyball.

The Beach Volley Vikings, as they have since dubbed themselves, had taken the beach volleyball world by storm.

These things do not happen often, a 21- and 22-year-old barnstorming the three biggest beach tournaments in a season. It wouldn’t have been wrong to perhaps the Norwegians to take a step back, to regress. All that film that Gibb alluded to — and indeed, there has been no shortage of Norwegian film being watched — could have caught up to them.

It didn’t.

Mol and Sorum continued their remarkably torrid streak not just through a handful of tournaments, but the entirety of the 2019 season. They won in Las Vegas. They won in Itapema. And then won in Jinjiang and Ostrava and Gstaad and Tokyo and everywhere in between. Eight times did they end up atop the podium, and thrice more did they return home with a medal. Their lowest finish of the year was, unbelievably, given the depth of the world tour, a pair of fifths.

At year’s end, Mol was awarded his second consecutive Best Blocker award, as well as Most Outstanding and Best Offensive Player. His partner, Sorum, took home Best Defensive Player for the second consecutive season as well.

Now we get to enjoy the highlights, which are above, and we all get to go back, watch as much of that film as we can.

Gibb is watching it to gain an edge. As for the rest of us? It’s just pure, blissful volleyball entertainment.