The American Beach Volleyball Tour is back. Instead of a regular season that has been cancelled, the AVP hosts the 2020 AVP Champions Cup Series. It will be played on three consecutive weekends in July and beginning of August. It was obviously not an easy task for the AVP to find a location during these troubling times. But finally, all events will take place at Long Beach in Southern Calfornia.
The first event kicks off on July 18th with the Monster Hydro Cup. The event will be made up of 8 main draw teams for both men and women. There are 6 auto entry teams based on AVP points and 2 teams emerging from the Qualifiers on Friday. Total prize purse is US$ 200.000.
The entry list reads like the “who is who” of American beach volleyball. Top seeds on the men’s side are beach volleyball legends Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena. They are followed by last season’s most successful team Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb. Seeded number 5 is beach volleyball veteran John Hyden who teamed up with Jeremy Casebeer to directly make it into the main draw. The men’s qualifier with 12 teams will witness a gathering of three Olympic champions. Besides Brazilian beach volleyball gold medalist Ricardo Santos and his partner Miles Evans, Reid Priddy and David Lee will join forces. The two volleyball veterans won gold in the Olympic volleyball tournament of the 2008 Beijing Games.
On the women’s side, the A-Team Alix Klineman and April Ross are the top seeds. Their main competitor are Canadians Sarah Pavan and Humana-Paredes. While Claes/Sponcil are seeded number 3, beach volleyball gypsy Brandie Wilkerson is again joining forces with Sara Hughes. Read the full entry list here.
Due to current regulations, no fans can attend the AVP Champions Cup Series. As in previous years, the main draw action will be livestreamed on Amazon Prime Video. Only exceptions are two matches that will be featured on NBC. One of them will be the women’s final on Sunday 1:30pm PT. Alongside Kevin Barnet and Camryn Irwin, it is Sydney 2000 Olympic Champion Dain Blanton who will provide deep insights in his commentary.
The Wilson Cup is the second event of the AVP Champions Cup Series. The three-event series started last weekend with the top seeds claiming the title in convincing fashion. On the men’s side, US oldies Phil Dalhausser and Nick Luncena claimed their win after beating Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb in a nail-biting three set fight (21:19, 13:21, 15:13). After a total of 14 clashes the two teams are now tied at 7:7. In the women’s competiton, A-Team Alix Klineman and April Ross defeated beach volleyball gypsy Brandie Wilkerson and Sara Hughes in the final.
Just right at the same day when the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were supposed to start, the AVP Wilson Cup brings back professional beach volleyball in the United States. The event at Long Beach in California will be made up of 8 main draw teams for both men and women. There are 6 auto entry teams based on previous performance and 2 teams emerging from the Qualifiers on Friday. Total prize purse is US$ 200.000.
The men’s main draw will feature the same teams as last weekend. New blood might be coming from Friday’s qualifiers where Bill Kolinske is now teaming up with Mark Burik after Sean Rosenthal had to withdraw due to injury. The newly formed team did obviously have a rough time to get some practice since beach volleyball is still prohibited in most places in California.
Traci Callahan and Crissy Jones will directly go into the women’s main draw being seeded number 6. They are pushing Emily Day and Lauren Fendrick into the qualifiers after beating the exact same team last weekend and finishing fifth. A new team in the qualifier will be Jace Pardon and Emily Hartong. Hartong who usually plays with Geena Urango is replacing Karissa Cook who also had to withdraw due to injury.
As for last weekend’s Monster Hydro Cup, no fans can attend the entire AVP Champions Cup Series that will come to an end with the Porsche Cup on the first weekend of August. All main draw action will again be livestreamed on Amazon Prime.
After a 4-month break, the FIVB World Tour resumes with a 1-star event in Ljubljana (Slovenia). The double gender tournament is the fourth international event that the Slovenian capital has been hosting since August 2018. 12 teams per gender do directly go into the main draw while 4 additional teams come through the qualification. Main draw kicks off on Friday with the single-elimination rounds starting on Saturday and the medal matches being played on Sunday.
With 2017 world championship silver medalists Clemens Doppler and Alex Horst as well Huber A./Dressler, two Austrian teams are leading the field on the men’s side. Italian Alex Ranghieri, former partner of Adrian “Mr. Skyball” Carambula, and his partner Daniele Sablone will need to go through the qualification. In the women’s competition, Czech team Bonnerova/ Olivova are the top entries.
Due to the COVID-19 situation and associated travel restrictions, no ranking points will be allocated at the Ljubljana event. Strict health and hygiene guidelines will be put in place for all participants.
The Porsche Cup is the third and final event of the AVP Champions Cup Series. In addition to the US$200k prize purse of the Porsche Cup, there is a US$50k bonus purse per gender for the Champions Cup. The main draw will again feature eight teams per gender, six auto entries and two qualifiers.
After the top seeds won the first two events, they have the best chances to also claim the Champions Cup title. This will be the case if A-Team Alix Klineman/April Ross or Phil Dalhausser/ Nick Lucena finish 4th or better in the Porsche Cup. This seems to be quite a safe bet. The men’s main draw will exactly have the same teams as in the Wilson Cup. On the women’s side, Lauren Fendrick and Emily Day return to the main draw replacing Jones/Callahan.
In Friday’s qualifiers, last week’s main draw teams Loomis/Partain and Evans/Santos are seeded number 2 and 3. While Loomis/Partain will play the winner of volleyball Olympic gold medalist Reid Priddy with his partner David Lee vs. Brunsting/Frishman, Brazilian Olympic champion Ricardo Santos and his partner will go up against the winner of Doherty/Drost vs. Benesh/Beranek. In last week’s qualifier Evans/Santos fought an epic battle against Benesh/Beranek to advance and finally make it into the main draw (17:21, 21:17, 18:16).
Since no fans can attend the event, all main draw action will be livestreamed on Amazon Prime Video. NBCSN will show some selected matches. The Porsche Cup will finally close the 2020 AVP season.
After the FIVB World Tour resumed in Slovenia recently, the next event is the 1-star in Baden (Austria). The event will take place from August 20-23. This year, the event will not be run at the iconic Strandbad but at Weilburgpark, an event location nearby. Baden is one of Austria’s most popular beach volleyball locations and has been hosting several prestigious international tournaments over the past decade. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, only 200 people will be allowed in the audience. International participants need to provide a negative Covid-19 test that has been conducted within the last three days.
With many top events being cancelled this season, the Baden 1-star entry list features many international top teams. 2017 world championships silver medalists Clemens Doppler and Alex Horst will try to defend the men’s titles they won in the previous two editions. Top-seeds are Switzerland’s Adrian Heidrich and Mirco Gerson.
On the women’s side, a new champion will be crowned as local heroine Katharina Schützenhöfer is still recovering from an injury. Her partner Lena Plesiutschnig will play with Dorina Klinger. With Hamburg semifinalists Betschart/Hüberli (Switzerland), Czech beach girls Marketa Slukova and Barbora Hermannova, Borger/Sude (Germany) and Menegatti/Orsi-Toth (Italy), the women’s entry list sounds more like the one of a 4-star, not a 1-star event.
The Baden 1-star will feature 16 teams per gender in the main draws. There are 12 auto entries and 4 teams coming from the qualifiers on Thursday. After a modified pool play on Friday, the 12-team single elimination phase starts on Saturday. Semifinals and medal matches will close the event on Sunday.
Livestreams covering all courts and the entire event will be available at beachvolleyball-baden.at.
It will be a major highlight of the season. After the Olympics and the Beach Major Series have been cancelled, the CEV European Championship in Jurmala (Latvia) is the most important event of the 2020 season, at least in Europe. From September 15-20, the European beach volleyball elite will return to Majori beach near Riga, Lavia’s capital. The beautiful seaside resort is the heart of Latvian beach volleyball and already hosted the continental championships in the summer of 2017. Last August, Jurmala hosted an FIVB 3-star event.
Defending champions are Norwegian Vikings Anders Mol/Christian Sørum and Latvian surprise team of Tina Graudiņa and Anastasija Kravcenoka. The Latvian young guns posted their first major international win when claiming last year’s title in Moscow. Tina Graudina:
“I am very happy with this news. It is awesome that the defence of the title will take place at home. I suppose Latvian sports fans are also happy to welcome the European Championship in Jurmala, especially at this time, when sports events are a rarity.”
32 teams per gender will fight for the European title and a prize purse of € 100.000 per gender. The CEV has announced that a strict hygiene protocol will be implemented and 30% of the stadium will be available for spectators. The regular stadium capacity has been detailed with 5000 seats. For the first three event days, fans need to buy separate tickets to attend the morning and afternoon sessions. All-day tickets are available for the last two days of the tournament.