3 Reasons To Care About The World Series Of Beach Volleyball
For the first time since its creation in 2013, however, the event will not be headlined by an FIVB Grand Slam and will instead feature an invitation-only exhibition tournament, dubbed the Long Beach Presidents' Cup, which is sanctioned by the FIVB but does not count toward World Tour rankings.
The lack of a full-blown FIVB tournament doesn't mean you shouldn't tune in or follow the event. In fact, the unique format might be a reason to pay even closer attention.
Here are three reasons you, as a volleyball fan, should care about the 2017 World Series of Beach Volleyball.
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1. It will be the first domestic competition appearance for Kerri Walsh Jennings since her breakup with April Ross.
Walsh Jennings and Ross played in the FIVB Fort Lauderdale Major back in February, but because of Walsh Jennings' refusal to sign the AVP players contract, the five-time Olympian has not played on U.S. soil since. She formed a partnership with Nicole Branagh in late May, and the pair has since played in two tournaments--the Porec Major, where they were ousted in the country quota round, and the Gstaad Major, where they finished ninth.
The WSOBV also marks the first competition appearance of Walsh Jennings' husband, Casey Jennings, who will play with Bill Kolinske.
2. There's no other beach volleyball event like it.
The WSOBV format caters specifically to American fans. Eight of the 16 teams per gender in the field are from the U.S., and the American teams are kept separate from the international teams until the final, guaranteeing a U.S. versus the world championship match.
The event is also invitation only, meaning every international team in attendance has proven themselves on the FIVB tour, so each match will be top notch, and the championship match should be downright epic.
3. Find new international beach volleyball teams to love.
If half of the teams in action at the World Series are from the U.S., that means the other half are from elsewhere! Expand your horizons this week, and find a new international team to follow--there are plenty of excellent options to choose from.
Maybe you'll pick Rio bronze medalists Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands, who also happen to be the winners of the 2013 World Championships.
Or maybe you prefer Olympic gold medalists Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst. Since winning in Rio, the German pair won the 2016 FIVB World Tour Finals and have earned a fifth-place finish and two ninth-place results so far this season.
Of the men's teams on the international side of the bracket, Brazilians Alvaro Filho and Saymon Barbosa have had the best season so far. At only 26 and 23, respectively, this is one of the youngest teams on tour, and they recently added a bronze medal at the Gstaad Major to the gold they won at the Fort Lauderdale Major in February.
Brazilians Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes failed to medal at the Rio Olympics, despite being the No. 1-ranked team in the world heading in, but they've maintained their hold on the top spot in the World Tour rankings heading into the new quad. The pair won gold medals at the Fort Lauderdale Major and the Moscow Three Star and recently picked up a silver medal at the Gstaad Major.