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May 14, 2022, Hermosa Beach, CA - There were few who were surprised when, last Sunday afternoon, the USC beach volleyball team sprinted into the teal waters of Gulf Shores, Alabama, celebrating its second consecutive NCAA Championship. The Trojan lineup was loaded, top to bottom. And while few ever root for the heavy favorites to win, there was also no shortage of individuals with no dog in the NCAA fight who enjoyed every minute of watching the NCAA Championship. Chris Brown was one of them. Long the director of Hermosa Beach-based CBVAs, Brown had seen virtually every athlete in Gulf Shores...

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May 12, 2022 - Many who are preternaturally gifted at any particular craft are often described as “born” to do whatever it is they came to do. Tiger Woods was born to play golf, Jordan for basketball, Federer for tennis, Mia Hamm for soccer. None of these cases, however successful they may have been, are true, in the literal sense of the word. But Angel Dache was, quite literally, born to play volleyball. On October 3, 1990, Dache was welcomed into the world in Havana, Cuba, the son of a former Cuban National Team player. From that moment on, he, like...

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Summer still technically does not begin for more than a month. But the beach volleyball calendar no longer waits for the official start of anything. It’s played year-round, all around the globe. Last weekend delivered any and all evidence one would need. The AVP’s season debuted in Austin, Texas last weekend – the first under the ownership of Bally’s – where Andy Benesh won his first career event, split-blocking with Phil Dalhausser, and young darlings Kristen Nuss and Taryn Kloth won their second. To the southeast, three American teams were competing in a NORCECA in Varadero, Cuba. To the far...

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May 6, 2022, AUSTIN, TX - Earlier this spring, when the AVP announced its schedule as well as the subsequent changes to the qualifying process for the Pro and Gold Series events, it produced the rarest of feats: Qualifier players agreed with near unanimity. Off-site qualifiers, satellite tournaments held at least a week before the event itself rather than a day-long grind the day before, are, as Hagen Smith described it, “game-changers.” Smith knows well enough. He’s qualified three times via the traditional route, advancing from qualifiers the day before the main draw, and on Saturday he sealed up his...

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May 4, 2022 - We are, as Geena Urango will be the first to admit, in “a new age.” Care to count the ways? There are few better places to begin than Urango and Carly Skjodt’s winding journey into the main draw this week at AVP Austin, the first of Skjodt’s burgeoning beach career. It begins, oddly enough, well outside of the United States, in Doha, Qatar. And it begins a little more than one year ago. In March of 2021, the country of just 2.3 million people was allowing women to compete in beach volleyball for the first time in...

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