The 2015 Asics World Series of Volleyball event in Long Beach. Photo by Stephanie Rivera.
If you happened to miss the epic beach volleyball battles served up at the 2016 Rio Olympics, fret not, for the Asics World Series of Volleyball (AWSOBV) will bring more than a few heavy hitters to Long Beach to throw down once again during the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) tour’s kick off Grand Slam event this week.
The women’s matches this year will certainly be exciting to watch, with Germany’s Kira Walkenhorst and Laura Ludwig, who took the gold at the games and the bronze at last year’s event, set to scuffle and defend their recent victory against the world’s top-tier teams. Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes, also from Brazil, who lost the bronze in an epic battle to Kerri Walsh-Jennings and April Ross of the United States, are also expected to be heavy hitters at this year’s world series and are likely looking to redeem themselves after their valiant effort in Rio.
Expect Walsh-Jennings, who was handed her first ever Olympic loss by Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas earlier in the semifinals, to land at AWSOBV ready to bring it, alongside Olympic teammate Ross. The two were able to claim the bronze at Rio. Also representing the United States is top defensive player Brooke Sweat and beast blocker Lauren Fendrick, a dynamic duo who upset many a top team during 2014’s FIVB season.
On the men’s side, Brazilian team Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt will head to Long Beach after winning Olympic gold during the deciding match against Italy. Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, who were defeated by the top-seeded Brazilian duo in the quarterfinals, will take to the sand to play the top-tier teams of the tour.
Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands, who won bronze at the Olympic games, may also be looking for another shot to best the winning Brazilian team. Olympic hopeful Casey Patterson and two-time Olympian Jake Gibb, also Americans, will team-up against the best of the best to represent the stars and stripes in Long Beach this week.
While times are approximate and subject to change depending on seedings and results, watch on Tuesday the Women’s Qualifications from 9:00AM to 2:00PM and the Men’s Qualifications from 2:00PM to 7:00PM. The Women’s Main Draw will take place Wednesday from 9:00AM to 8:00PM with the men’s from 10:30AM to 6:00PM. On Thursday, Men’s and Women’s Main Draw will begin at 10:30AM and last to 9:00PM with the Junior Beach Tour and Kid’s Day to take place alongside the matches.
Legends’ Night, honoring USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal, is free to attend and will take place on Friday starting at 7:00PM featuring a screening of Walsh-Jenning’s documentary Grit before Gold, live music and a $20 dinner provided by local eatery Restauration. Prior to the evening activities the Men’s and Women’s Playoffs will start at 10:00AM and end at 7:00PM, with the Women’s Quarterfinals slated to start at 7:00PM.
On Saturday starting at 8:45AM the Men’s Quarterfinals will be underway with the Women’s Semifinals set for 12:00PM and 4:30PM (catch the first Semifinal live on NBC at noon). The Men’s Semifinals will follow starting at 3:15PM. Set to take the stage for Saturday’s live music are DJs Thomas Jack, Jillionaire, Branchez, Team Ezy and Filthy Gorgeous.
Sunday will feature the Women’s Bronze and Gold matches at 10:00AM and 1:30PM and the Men’s Bronze and Gold matches at 11:00AM and 3:30PM. Watch Team Josh Hutcherson and Team Terrell Owens participate in a celebrity match of their own during Battle on the Beach at 12:15PM.
If you can’t make it to the beach, NBC and NBCSN will be showing the event. Click here for the full television schedule.
The events will take place at 700 East Shoreline Drive.