Women's Beach World Power Rankings

p1440 Women’s Beach Volleyball World Power Rankings

Brandie Wilkerson

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 exercise meant to provide debate, discussion and, most of all, attention to the beach volleyball world.

Brandie Wilkerson/Heather Bansley, Canada

The Canadians didn’t play in The Hague and, well, why would they, really? The close to their 2018 season was so torrid that there really wasn’t much cause to rush into the 2019 season. A fifth at the World Tour Finals in Hamburg, Germany, was followed by a victory in San Jose, which preceded a silver medal in a triple-point NORCECA and consecutive golds at a four-star in Las Vegas and a three-star in Chetumal, Mexico.

They earned the delayed start to the 2019 season.

April Ross/Alix Klineman, U.S.A.

These two being so high up may confuse some, since the A-Team finished 21st in the 2018 World Rankings and struggled to crack past the quarterfinals for much of the 2018 international season.

Points aside, this team is playing as well as any. Since June, they’ve played in 11 tournaments and haven’t finished worse than fifth once. They won three straight AVPs, finished second in another, made the quarters in Gstaad, Vienna and Moscow, won a triple-point NORCECA – beating No. 1 Brandie Wilkerson and Heather Bansley – and claimed gold in China before settling for fourth at The Hague.

Agatha/Duda, Brazil

Above all, consistency is key in a two-year-long Olympic race, and there may be no more consistent – and proven – team than Brazil’s Agatha and Duda. In 11 FIVB events in 2018, their worst finish was ninth. Meanwhile, their resume features wins in Itapema, Brazil, and the biggie: The World Tour Finals in Hamburg, Germany, in which they won their final six matches.

Maria Antonelli/Carolina Salgado, Brazil

One of the teams to give Agatha and Duda a scare in the aforementioned World Tour Finals was a fellow Brazilian duo in Maria Antonelli and Carolina Salgado, who lost in the semifinals, 31-29, 21-18. Semifinals, though, are a regular spot for Maria and Carolina who, remarkably, began the 2018 season in the qualifier of The Hague, claiming silver. It was an auspicious start for a decorated season, one in which the two pulled in three silver medals on the FIVB, one in p1440, and made another three semifinals.

Their 2019 year is off to another medal-laden start, with a bronze in Las Vegas in October.

Mariafe Artacho/Taliqua Clancy, Australia

And the award for most quietly successful team of the 2018 season goes to… Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy! I doubt many people would have guessed these Aussies as the team with the most gold medals of the season (4!). They won smaller events – a two- and three-star – to begin the season but quickly proved they could succeed at the highest level as well, taking bronze in Xiamen, China, winning gold in Lucerne, Switzerland, and gold again in Espinho, Portugal. A bronze at the World Tour Finals in Hamburg, Germany, in which they beat Agatha and Duda, Canadians Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan, and Maria and Carolina, was a fitting podium finish to close a wildly successful season.

Chantal Labourer/Julia Sude, Germany

With how deep the world tour has gotten, it is no small feat to play in 10 events and finish outside of the quarterfinals only three times, which is exactly what Labourer and Sude did. That consistency repeatedly put them in positions to medal, as they did in Huntington Beach (bronze), Warsaw, Poland (silver), and Gstaad, Switzerland (silver), with another semifinal appearance in Moscow, Russia, in which they finished fourth.

Sara Hughes/Summer Ross, U.S.A.

Of all the teams in this power rankings, this is the one with the ability to move up the fastest. Few, if any, have a higher upside than Hughes and Ross, who are still in the nascent stages of their partnership. Anybody paying attention in the latter half of the 2018 season caught a glimpse of their potential when they strung together a bronze in Espinho, fifth in Vienna, Austria, and a gold in Moscow. With a full off-season and a winter’s worth of reps with coach Jose Loiola, Hughes and Ross could climb the world rankings quickly.

Rebecca Cavalcanti/Ana Patricia Silva, Brazil

Individually, no player in the world right now is as hot as Rebecca Cavalcanti. The 25-year-old Brazilian took p1440’s Top Guns by storm, winning the Top Gun title, showing every sign that winning won’t be all that unusual for her in the future. Cavalcanti and Silva competed in just three FIVBs in 2018, with a high of ninth.

In the 2019 season thus far? They have a win in Qinzhou, China, a silver in Yangzhou, China, a fourth in Las Vegas and another victory at The Hague. The sample size is still small, but from what little we have, this is a Brazilian team that could very well supplant the established order.

Rebecca Cavalcanti

Barbora Hermannova, Marketa Slukova, Czech Republic

What a final two months to the 2018 season these two had. A win on their home turf at a four-star in Ostrava in June was followed by back-to-back quarterfinal appearances in Warsaw and Gstaad before yet another gold in Vienna and a silver in Hamburg. They ended the year on six consecutive top-five finishes.

Melissa Humana-Paredes, Sarah Pavan, Canada

It was a bit of a topsy-turvy year for the Canadians, one that began with a fifth at the Fort Lauderdale Major, a gold in Xiamen and another semifinal appearance in Huntington Beach. Three ninths followed, which preceded a momentous victory at the Gstaad Major, though an uncharacteristic final stretch – 17th, ninth and seventh – pushed them down the ranks. It’s not an indictment by any means, just a slight cooling off while other teams, like Bansley and Wilkerson, caught fire.

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DAY 3: REFLECT It’s taken some time for me to sit back and reflect on this past season. When I run into someone who congratulates me on this season, not gonna lie it’s been difficult to reply because it didn’t feel like a successful summer. This season really was a rollercoaster of emotions with incredible highs & deep lows but invaluable with so many takeaways. It’s easy to get carried away with results-based thinking and let disappointment override the success, so much so that you forget the good. I was actually surprised when we sat down at the end of the summer to see we finished 3rd in the world ranking… so clearly we must have done some good things! Took some time & perspective to realize that while it’s important to hold yourself to high standards, it’s also okay to let yourself bask in the wins (big or little)!! So after a season of mixed feelings, I’m happy to say that I’m SO incredibly proud of the team. Another successful season in the books with @sarah_pavan, successful in different, and likely more important ways. Itching for 2019💫 . . Big thanks for all the support! Family, friends, strangers, fans, trolls – thankful for you! And special thanks to: @spidertechtape, @kaizencanada, @ipanemavalley, @jolynclothing, @lululemon, @volleyballcanada, @coola, @thinkeatdifferently

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Just missed the cut

Fan Wang, Xinyi Xia, China

Fernanda, Barbara, Brazil

Victoria Bieneck, Isabel Schneider, Germany

Kim Behrens, Sandra Ittlinger, Germany