This week in beach volleyball

This Week in Beach Volleyball: Historic One-Star in Israel; p1440 Pro Challenge


By: Travis Mewhirter

TEL AVIV, Israel — It is, in small, relative terms, an historic week in beach volleyball. I am writing this story, for example, at the Aroma TLV cafe in Tel Aviv, Israel. It’s a cozy little spot, just off a white-sand beach and water that, at first blush, reminds you a bit of Hawai’i — small, rolling waves, clear bluish-teal water, postcard weather.

But it is not Hawai’i. It is not the birthplace of beach volleyball. It is, however, the birthplace of the first FIVB beach volleyball tournament Israel has ever hosted, set to begin with Wednesday’s qualifier in the Tel Aviv one-star.

“We are happy and proud to host a World Tour tournament for the first time, after hosting two editions of the U20 European Championships in 2005 and 2011 and a CEV Continental Cup event in 2015,” Eviatar Dotan, President of the Israel Volleyball Association, told the FIVB. “Playing host to such a tournament is very important for the development of the sport in Israel and in order to raise further awareness, especially one year ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. I wish all the players a lot of fun and a great event to all involved.”

Two American teams will be competing in the one-star. On the men’s end, Timmy Brewster and I are the lone Americans, while Delaney Knudsen and Melissa Fuchs-Powell will represent the U.S.A. women. Brewster is coming straight from a fourth-place finish at a NORCECA in the Dominican Republic with Jon Ferrari, an event won by Chaim Schalk and Jeremy Casebeer and Corinne Quiggle and Falyn Fonoimoana.

On another smaller level of an event that is the first of its kind is the p1440 Pro Challenge, which will be hosted at the Manhattan Beach Pier on Friday morning. The event is essentially a paid training showcase for some of the top teams in the world, who will get an opportunity to compete for prize money in preparation for the Chetumal four-star in Mexico next week.

Participating teams include Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat, Canadians Brandie Wilkerson and Heather Bansley, Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman, Nicole Laird and Becchara Palmer, Betsi Flint and Emily Day, Japan’s Megumi Murakami and Miki Ishii, Germans Isabel Schneider and Victoria Bieneck, and Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes.

Commentating on the livestream will be the game’s legends in Mike Dodd, Tim Hovland, Randy Stoklos, Sinjin Smith, as well as Rob Espero.