Seaside Open: Welcome Back to The AVP, Bill Kolinske
SEASIDE – It would be wrong to say that Billy Kolinske is used to the type of load forced upon him and Miles Evans on the final day of the Seaside Open. Five matches in a single day is something the body cannot really prepare for, especially in a professional beach volleyball environment that rarely demands more than two.
Yet if there was anyone in the massive field of 40 teams who was as prepared as any, it would be Kolinske. He’s a Wisconsin native, Kolinske, a state where summer lasts about three months. And in those three months, he’d try to pack in a year’s worth of beach volleyball.
“Growing up, I was so into volleyball that I remember one time I played 21 sets in one day,” Kolinske said. “It was crazy, it was stupid, but you only have three months to play in summer. So in those three months of summer you’ll be there the entire day, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.”
On Saturday, he was actually out there longer. After dropping into the contender’s bracket with a loss to Avery Drost and Chase Frishman on Friday late afternoon, Kolinske “had to battle through the tournament,” he said. “I was like ‘Ok, I don’t even know what place we’re in but tomorrow’s going to be a really long day.’”
His and Evans’ first match was at 9 a.m. They wouldn’t be off the beach celebrating their second Seaside title until 9 p.m.
“You really don’t want to lose early,” Kolinske said. “You want to go as far as you can because there’s 40 teams, and there are a lot of good teams.”
If you don’t want to take his word for the strength of the tournament, take a peek at the gauntlet he and Evans had to navigate on Saturday alone, after already having played Travis Mewhirter and Myles Muagututia and Drost and Frishman on Friday: Miles and Marcus Partain (21-18, 21-18), Ric and Shane Cervantes (21-18, 21-18), Christian Honer and Brian Miller (17-21, 21-8, 16-14), Drost and Frishman (28-26, 21-15), and, in the finals, Adam Roberts and Andy Benesh (21-14, 21-16).
“I’ve played a lot of these the past few years because I haven’t been playing AVP,” Kolinske said. “It’s so different because you can play nine matches in a couple days or FIVBs you travel so far and you have the pressure of one match, 30 minutes, and you have to get in. You know it can be a long haul.”
But here is the best aspect of it all for Kolinske: This tournament was a haul at all. As he mentioned above, for the past few years, he had been in a dispute with the AVP. Not only was he unable to play any of the major AVP events, he also couldn’t play events like Seaside, which are now AVP Next Gold Series events. Kolinske was limited to FIVBs, where he’d have to travel 30 hours instead of three, or other independent events, like Pottstown, Waupaca, and others of that ilk.
He almost had all three, too. He and Evans took home Waupaca in July, and with Eric Beranek, he fell in the Pottstown finals to Andrew Dentler and Shane Donohue.
“Man, I wanted the trifecta,” he said. “I wanted Pottstown.”
He has something far better than the trifecta. He’s now back to playing on the tour he loves, the one for whom he uprooted his life and moved from Big Bend to Southern California. Doesn’t matter if it’s three matches in a day or five: Bill Kolinske is back on the AVP Tour.
“It’s so nice to travel two and a half hours and you’re there and not have to travel across the world to play,” he said. “It feels really good. I’m excited to be back on the AVP. I’ve always loved it, definitely missed it.”
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