p1440 Men’s Beach Volleyball World Power Rankings
With the now somewhat annual season-opening event of the FIVB calendar in the books, the 2019 beach volleyball year, and two-year Olympic race to the Tokyo Games, is officially underway.
Here at p1440, we’ll be putting together a power rankings following the bigger tournaments of the FIVB season, namely the major four-stars and all of the five-stars. To be clear, this isn’t an Olympic tracker, just a subjective ranking of where the top teams in the world stand. Feel free to comment, debate, yell at us, drop your own rankings. This is a subjective drill meant to provide debate, discussion and, most of all, attention to the beach volleyball world.
1. Anders Mol/Christian Sorum, Norway
The Beach Volley Vikings, the golden boys of beach volleyball, both on and off the court, enjoyed one of the most enviable years in beach volleyball history. On the court, they won almost literally everything, from the major tournaments – Gstaad, Vienna, Hamburg, back to back to back – to essentially every individual award there was to win. Off the court, their social media, popular YouTube channel, and overall pleasant and open personalities won them fans from all over the world.
It will take far more than a fifth at The Hague to knock these guys down.
2. Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Oleg Stoyanovskiy, Russia
Krasilnikov has been one of the best defenders in the game for a few years, and now he’s playing behind one of the most physically imposing blockers – with tremendous upside – on the world tour. Stoyanovskiy (22) began with Igor Velichko, a 23-year-old dynamo of a defender, and it took less than a year for the 6-foot-9 blocker to get scooped up by Russia’s top talent in Krasilnikov.
They’ve played just three tournaments together – Yangzhou, China; Las Vegas; The Hague – and they’ve medaled in all three, taking silver, bronze and gold, respectively.
There are only more medals to come.
3. Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen, Netherlands
Prior to the astonishing rise of the Norwegians, Brouwer and Meeuwsen were unquestionably the top team in the world. In a stretch of six events to begin the 2018 season, they claimed three gold medals and three more top ten finishes. They may not have won a medal after Huntington Beach in May, which they won in dominant fashion, but still, there’s something to be said about a team that played in 13 events with a low finish of ninth.
4. Michael Bryl/Grzegorz Fijalek, Poland
It actually physically pains me to write that there is a Polish team better than my YouTube rabbit hole that is Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak, but alas, there is little arguing against Bryl’s and Fijalek’s case here.
In their final three events of the 2018 season – in Vienna, Austria; Moscow, Russia; Hamburg, Germany – they took two silvers and a fifth, and in their first event of the 2019 season, in Las Vegas, they secured yet another silver.
It’s important to note, too, that two of those events were majors, and the other two a pair of four-stars.
5. Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins, Latvia
Another year, another season in which Latvia’s veterans will be in the mix nearly every tournament. It’s a bit insane to acknowledge that Samoilovs is only 33 and Smedins 31. Together, they have five Olympic appearances and a bronze medal (earned by Smedins in 2012), and there’s no reason to believe 2020 would be any different.
In 2018, they took home two golds, two bronzes and appeared in another semifinal, paragons of consistency always.
6. Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak, Poland
My favorite team to watch remains, per usual, one of the most confounding teams to defend, running their shoots and quicks and fake shoots and all other manner of maddening plays for blockers.
The 2018 season was arguably the best of their brilliant careers, with a gold, two silvers, two bronze, and 10 top-10 finishes in 11 events. With their lone event in 2019 thus far, at The Hague, they added another top-10, taking fifth.
7. Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira, Spain
Seven teams down and we’re finally ranking a warm-weather country! Who would have thought that, of the top six teams in the world, all six hail from countries where the average temperature would suggest staying indoors at all costs. Yet here we are, in 2019, and Spain’s veterans in Herrera and Gavira lead the warm-weather countries at No. 7 in the initial power rankings.
Similar to Samoilovs and Smedins, the Spanish are the consummate competitors, in the medal hunt every tournament, winning three in a five-tournament stretch in 2018.
8. Jake Gibb/Taylor Crabb, U.S.A.
Had Christian Sorum not gone totally bonkers and hauled in every major award and tournament title, Crabb made quite the case for himself as the most improved player in the world. He’s now firmly in the discussion of the world’s top defenders, along with several other names on this list. As for Gibb? He’s still the same, remarkably consistent player he has been since establishing himself as a bona fide world tour player in 2005. Heck, at 42 years young, USA Volleyball named him the Beach Player of the Year.
9. Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai, Italy
It was a curious 2018 for the 2016 Olympic silver medalists. They just didn’t play a whole lot, though that’s sort of their thing, too. While other teams were playing in sometimes up to 15 events, the Italians played just eight, though they were contenders in nearly all of them. They claimed silver in the Fort Lauderdale Major, bronze in Gstaad and finished on a pair of quarterfinal appearances at the World Tour Finals and a four-star in Moscow.
They might not be flying this way and that, but wherever they go, they’re a threat to win.
10. Evandro Goncalves/Vitor Felipe, Brazil
Really, this could read: Evandro, and whomever Evandro is playing with. Four years straight the Brazilian bomber has won FIVB Best Server, and he’s only a year removed from winning Team of the Year and Tour Champion with Andre Loyola. In six tournaments with Felipe – after Loyola puzzlingly teamed with Alison – they took a silver in Warsaw and made the semifinals in Espinho and Moscow.
Just missed the cut
Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena, U.S.A.
Pedro Solberg/Bruno Schmidt, Brazil
Edgars Tocs/Martins Plavins, Latvia
Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb, U.S.A.
Julius Thole/Clemens Wickler, Germany
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