78 Teams Enter $150,000 VolleyHut Clearwater Beach Invitational; BVA Tour Qualifying Opens Play Friday
78 Teams Enter $150,000 VolleyHut Clearwater Beach Invitational; BVA Tour Qualifying Opens Play Friday
(from BVA Media Relations)

CLEARWATER BEACH, FLA. - Led by Sydney 2000 Olympic beach volleyball Gold Medallists Dain Blanton and Eric Fonoimoana, a total of 78 teams have entered next weekend's (April 20-22) $150,000 Volleyhut Clearwater Beach Invitational on the Pier 60 South courts.

The women's and men's tournament will open Friday (April 20) at 8 a.m. with a Qualification Tournament. A total of 32 women's and 22 men's teams will be battling for the final four spots in each Main Draws that will be played Saturday and Sunday. Twelve teams in each gender have already been seeded in both Main Draws that start Saturday at 8 a.m.

Blanton and Fonoimoana are the top-seeded men's team ahead of Carl Henkel and Sinjin Smith, who placed fifth at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games for the United States. Smith, a winner of 139 domestic and international events, is the oldest elite player in the world and will turn 44 (May 7) during the 2001 season.

Barbara Fontana and Elaine Youngs, who both competed in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, are the top seeded women's teams. Fontana teamed with Linda Hanley to placed fourth in the beach competition at Atlanta while Youngs was competing with the USA indoor team in 1996.

Making their first competitive appearance since capturing the men's Sydney 2000 Olympic Gold Medal last September, Blanton and Fonoimoana will be seeking their second-straight Clearwater Beach men's title after winning the 1999 event. Youngs and Liz Masakayan captured the 1999 women's crown on Clearwater Beach.

The opening domestic event on the 2001 BVA Pro Beach Volleyball Tour, Volleyhut Clearwater Beach Invitational will feature a $15,000 first-place prize for each gender's winning team. Sunday's final rounds will start at 8 a.m. on the Pier 60 South courts with the finals being taped for television replay on ESPN2.

Blanton and Fonoimoana upset the Brazilian pair of Ze'Marco de Melo and Ricardo Santos to win the Sydney 2000 Olympic Gold Medal. Ze'Marco and Ricardo had won five FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour events in 2000 enroute to $231,000 in international earnings.

Rob Heidger and Kevin Wong, who finished fifth in Sydney after being eliminated by Blanton and Fonoimoana, will also buy custom research papers. Heidger will compete with Chip McCaw as the fifth-seeded men's team while Wong and Stein Metzger are seeded fourth.

Dax Holdren and Todd Rogers, who captured four Gold Medals last season, are seeded third in the men's competition. Holdren and Rogers netted three domestic titles in 2000 while upsetting the field to win last June's FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event in Mexico, where they defeated Heidger and Wong in the finals.

The Volleyhut Clearwater Beach Invitational will be the second pro beach event this season for the women. Fontana and Youngs placed fourth in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event earlier this month (April 4-8) in Macau. Eight other BVA Tour teams competed in Macau where Misty May and Holly McPeak captured the Bronze Medal for the United States.

May and McPeak will be competing with different partners in the Volleyhut Clearwater Beach Invitational. McPeak will team with Rachel Wacholder and will be seeded third behind Lisa Arce and Carrie Busch. May, who set a pro beach record for rookie earnings ($127,700) and wins (five Gold Medals) in 2000, will be seeded 11th with Kerri Walsh.

Arce and Busch finished seventh in Macau in their first pro beach event together. Other BVA Tour teams placing in Macau were Ali Wood/Danalee Bragado (ninth), Masakayan/Cary Wendell (17th), Dianne DeNecochea/Wendy Stammer (25th), Leanne Schuster/Nancy Mason (33rd), Liz Pagano/Kristen Schritter (33rd) and Angie Kammer/Jennifer Kessy (33rd).

MEDIA INFORMATION OPERATIONS - Tim Simmons (303/678-8484; e-mail [email protected]) is the Media Information Officer for the BVA Pro Beach Volleyball Tour. Simmons will be headquartered at the Red Roof Inn (421 South Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater Beach; 727/447-3464) Thursday through Sunday.

$150,000 VOLLEYHUT CLEARWATER BEACH INVITATIONAL TEAM ENTRY LIST (As of April 10, 2001; subject to revision) April 20-22, 2001 at Pier 60 South, Clearwater Beach, Fla.

Women's Main Draw Teams

  1. Barbra Fontana, Manhattan Beach, Calif./Elaine Youngs, Encinitas, Calif.
  2. Lisa Arce, Redondo Beach, Calif./Carrie Busch, Hermosa Beach, Calif.
  3. Holly McPeak, Manhattan Beach, Calif./Rachel Wacholder, Hermosa Beach, Calif.
  4. Nancy Mason, Belleville, Ill./Leanne Schuster, Mesa, Ariz.
  5. Stephanie Cox, Mission Viejo, Calif./Katy Eldridge, Playa del Rey, Calif.
  6. Danalee Bragado, Honolulu, Hi./Ali Wood, Long Beach, Calif.
  7. Liz Masakayan, San Diego, Calif./Cary Wendell, Menlo Park, Calif.
  8. Marsha Miller, Santa Monica, Calif./Lia Young, Honolulu, Hi
  9. Jennifer Meredith, Manhattan Beach, Calif./Jennifer Pavley, Agoura Hills, Calif.
  10. Diane DeNecochea, La Jolla, Calif./Wendy Stammer, Portland, Ore.
  11. Misty May Long Beach, Calif./Kerri Walsh, Los Gatos, Calif.
  12. Linda Hanley, Pacific Palisades, Calif./Sarah Straton, Hermosa Beach, Calif.
Women's Qualification Tournament Teams
  1. Kristen Schritter, San Diego, Calif./Liz Pagano, San Diego, Calif.
  2. Karen Helyer, San Diego, Calif./Barbara Nyland, San Diego, Calif.
  3. Helen Reale, Los Angeles, Calif./Mary Baily, Calabasas, Calif.
  4. Shannon Sneed, Phoenix, Ariz./Kristi Vandenberg
  5. Angie Kammer, San Diego, Calif./Jennifer Kessey, San Diego, Calif.
  6. Jill Stephens, Lakeland, Fla./Damaris Flores, San Juan, Puerto Rico
  7. Wendy Martin, Clearwater, Fla./Malissa Karwowski
  8. Marla O'Hara, Agoura Hills, Calif./Julie Sprague, Manhattan Beach, Calif.
  9. Shannon Whitehead/Amber Warren
  10. Carrie Wright, San Diego, Calif./Lori Heeter, Tulsa, Okla.
  11. Gracie Bani, El Paso, Tex./Erin Galli San Diego, Calif.
  12. Allison Block, Oceanside, Calif./Pat Keller, Lake Forest, Calif.
  13. Maggie Philgence, Santa Monica, Calif./April Chapple-Zanella, Los Angeles, Calif.
  14. Kim Zuffelato, Santa Barbara, Calif./Daven Casad
  15. Alicia Zamparelli, Redondo Beach, Calif./Natacha Nelson, San Jose, Calif.
  16. Teri VanDyke, Deerfield Beach, Fla./Laura Romeika
  17. Kerri Eich, Santa Monica, Calif./Catie Fliesher, Culver City, Calif.
  18. Veronica Sanchez, Hawthorne, Calif./Kelly Rowe, Los Angeles, Calif.
  19. Lisa Marshal, Loudonville, Ohio/ Playa del Rey, Calif./Susie Turner, San Diego, Calif.
  20. Janette Simenson, Palatine, Ill./Stacey Wancheck
  21. Jennifer Holdren, San Diego, Calif./Heather Lowe, Redondo Beach, Calif.
  22. Anne McArthur, Brentwood, Calif./Kristin Neidung
  23. Tammy Pelski/Tammy Rau
  24. Cherry Simkins, Torrance, Calif./Kimura, Kaili, Hawthorne, Calif.
  25. Michelle Morse, Redondo Beach, Calif./Rhonda Kottke, Los Angeles, Calif.
  26. Andrea Ventura/Tanya Gwinn
  27. Jamie Ivers, Sacramento, Calif./Huntington Beach, Calif./Jody Paperno, Huntington Beach, Calif.
  28. Missy Ross, La Jolla, Calif./Sara White, Venice, Calif.
  29. Samantha Meador, Houston, Tex./Julie James, Newport Beach, Calif.
  30. Mira Sanchez, Clearwater Beach, Fla./Maureen Milnamow
  31. Karen Hoyt, St. Petersburg, Fla./Lynda Street Jupiter, Fla.
  32. Karen Reitz/Caron Janc, San Diego, Calif.
Men's Main Draw Teams
  1. Dain Blanton, Laguna Beach, Calif./Eric Fonoimoana, Hermosa Beach, Calif.
  2. Carl Henkel, Redondo Beach, Calif./Sinjin Smith, Pacific Palisades, Calif.
  3. Dax Holdren, San Diego, Calif./Todd Rogers, Santa Barbara, Calif.
  4. Stein Metzger, Honolulu, Hi./Kevin Wong, Pearl City, Hi.
  5. Rob Heider, Redondo Beach, Calif./Chip McCaw, Tulsa, Okla.
  6. Bill Boullianne, Redondo Beach, Calif./Colin Smith, Hermosa Beach, Calif.
  7. Adam Roberts, Myrtle Beach, S. C./Brian Soldano, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  8. Albert Hannemann, Torrance, Calif./Sean Scott, Kailua, Hi.
  9. Pete Divenere, Pawleys Island, S.C./James Fellows, Naples, Fla.
  10. Gaston Macau, Miami, Fla./Chad Turner, Clearwater Beach, Fla
  11. Aaron Boss, San Diego, Calif./Colin Wellman, Pacific Palisades, Calif.
  12. Dan Landry, San Diego, Calif./Jeff Nygaard, Madison, Wis.
Men's Qualification Tournament Teams
  1. Jim VanZwieten, Pompano Beach, Fla./Bill Maik, Deerfield Beach, Fla.
  2. Pete Kucera, Hermosa Beach, Calif./Rifit Agi, Redondo Beach, Calif.
  3. Noel Khirsukani, Jacksonville, Fla./Scott Perry, Jacksonville, Fla.
  4. Eric Wurts, Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Matt Heath, Delray Beach, Fla.
  5. Wayne Matthews, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)/Mike Emory, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  6. Chad Poppell, Jacksonville, Fla./Glen Cox
  7. Coley Kyman, Aliso Viejo, Calif./Mark Presho, San Diego, Calif.
  8. David DiPierro, Pompano Beach, Fla./Dana Camacho, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  9. Andrew Pelski, Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Jim Walls, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  10. Jeff Wong, Palm Beach, Fla./Evan Silberstein, Palm Beach, Fla.
  11. Matt Sokolowski, Hermosa Beach, Calif.)/Jack Quinn
  12. John Goings, Jacksonville, Fla./Joe Rohr, Clearwater Beach, Fla.
  13. Jason Aucoin, Fort Lauderdale/Nick Lucena, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  14. David Fischer, Santa Monica, Calif.)/John Hribar, Hermosa Beach, Calif.
  15. Jereme Cadorette, Orlando, Fla./Justin Culp, Orlando, Fla.
  16. Dane Valdes/Kevin Dake
  17. Patrick Aparicio/Jeff Neilson
  18. Douglas Nascimiento, Deerfield Beach, Fla./Todd Hart, Pompano Beach, Fla.
  19. Anthony Mihalic/Brett Becker, Tampa, Fla.
  20. Shane LeCroy, Simpsonville, S. C./Jerry Goodlow, Wilmington, N. C.
  21. Dave Findley/Brian Rutland, Pompano Beach, Fla.
  22. Chad Mowrey/to be announced
CLEARWATER REVIVAL - Clearwater has been the site of five previous women's pro beach events, including a 1995 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event. The United States placed second, third and fourth behind Brazil's Sandra Pires and Jackie Silva, the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Gold Medallists, in the international event. The last domestic women's event was in 1999 when Liz Masakayan and Elaine Youngs defeated Annett Davis and Jenny Johnson Jordan in the finals. Clearwater has been the site of 19 previous men's pro beach events, including a 1995 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event. The United States' Bruk Vandeweghe and Jeff Williams placed third behind two teams from Brazil. The last domestic men's event was in 1999 when Dain Blanton and Eric Fonoimonaa, the Sydney 2000 Olympic Gold Medallists, defeated Karch Kiraly and Adam Johnson in the finals.

2001 COMPETITION NOTES - For the 2001 BVA Pro Beach Volleyball Tour, the following rules will be used:

  • Each match will be the best of three rally-scoring sets.
  • First two sets are to 21 points.
  • Third eventual set is to 15 points.
  • Must have a two-point advantage to win the set.
  • No caps for all sets.
  • Two timeouts per set with a duration of 30 seconds each
  • Injury timeout - only one injury timeout per match is allowed per player.
  • A side change will occur every 10 points in the first two sets and every five (5) points in the third eventual set. The side changes will be direct without delay
  • Time between sets will be one (1) minute.
  • Court dimensions for the 2001 season are 8-meter by 8-meter per side, and will be implemented starting from January 2001.
BARBRA FONTANA ON COURT SIZE/RALLY SCORING - "I was interested to see how different the game would be once I stepped on the court for the first-time. The most difficult thing is the offense. I have been playing volleyball for 20 years on a 9-meter court, so you really have to be aware of where you are putting the ball. This rule makes the game easier to play. It evens the field for a lot of mid to lower teams and enables them to dig balls that they could not get to before and that is the biggest difference to me. The FIVB continues to change the rules to benefit players with less refined skills from the traditional game (i.e., setting and defense). I think it is good they are trying to make the game more marketable, however, some players and styles will be a casualty. I think they will be happy with the result, closer games, more rallies. It will take some time to adjust to this and be able to capitalize."

ELAINE YOUNGS ON COURT SIZE/RALLY SCORING - "The smaller court size in my opinion doesn't bother the bigger players. For me there really is no difference because I have a power game and it is obviously easier to hit faster shots when you are bigger. The serving is a lot different, but I think that has a lot to do with the new scoring system. In the next event, teams will serve a lot tougher and go for it a lot more as we get more and more used to the scoring. The scoring totally changes the game, I am more upset with this rule change than the court size. The games are long especially when you get into the later rounds. In hot temperatures it will be very difficult."

DANALEE BRAGADO ON COURT SIZE/RALLY SCORING - "After having trained all winter with the small court, I got used to the new court size pretty quickly. Now when I get on a regular court, it looks so big to me. It took some time to adjust my shots a bit, but being more of a hitter, I worked more on tooling the block and hitting against a block rather than shooting so much. The small court suits my game better. I think the harder thing to get used to is the rally score system rather than the court size. The game is very different. Player' are hitting more aggressively against the block, they are hitting over on two much more and it is easier for the taller players to play defense and cover the shots. I welcome this change. I think it helps the taller players like my partner (Ali Wood) and I. It is easier to defend the ball and harder for the smaller players to put a ball down. The new court size and the new scoring system equalize the playing field."

MCPEAK TOPS - Here's a listing for combined 2000 earnings for United States players, including the BVA Tour (eight women's), the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour (16 men's and 14 women's events), the Oldsmobile Beach Volleyball Olympic Challenge Series (one men's and two women's) and the Association of Volleyball Professionals (12 men's) circuits.

Rank, Player, Overall Earnings

  1. Holly McPeak (5 Gold Medals), $139,900
  2. Misty May (5), $127,700
  3. Barbra Fontana (3), $100,100
  4. Jenny Johnson Jordan (3), $99,250
  5. Annett Davis (3), $99,250
  6. Elaine Youngs (4), $96,075
  7. Mike Whitmarsh (2), $95,875
  8. Dax Holdren (4), $93,375
  9. Canyon Ceman (2), $84,875
  10. Liz Masakayan (4), $75,000
  11. Todd Rogers (2), $74,375
  12. Lisa Arce (3), $73,200
  13. Brian Lewis (1), $69,875
  14. Dain Blanton (2), $52,500
  15. Eric Fonoimoana (2), $52,500
  16. Lee LeGrande (1), $48,750
  17. Nancy Reno (1), $46,125
  18. Adam Johnson (1), $42,375
  19. Leanne Schuster (1), $37,000
  20. Linda Hanley, $36,150
  21. Nancy Mason, $36,025
  22. Karch Kiraly (1), $33,875
  23. Rob Heidger, $33,000
  24. Kevin Wong, $33,000
  25. Brent Doble (1), $32,500
  26. Stein Metzger, $32,000
  27. Sinjin Smith, $31,875
  28. Carl Henkel, $30,000
  29. Carrie Busch (1), $23,750
  30. Ali Wood, $21,875
  31. Karrie Poppinga, $21,875
  32. Danalee Bragado, $20,875
  33. Brent Frohoff, $19,750
  34. Stephanie Cox, $18,375
  35. Rachel Wacholder, $18,250
  36. Jennifer Meredith, $18,250
  37. Adam Jewell, $18,250
  38. Ian Clark, $18,000
  39. Larry Witt, $16,875
  40. Katy Eldridge, $16,500
Career USA Women's Beach Volleyball Wins

Rank, Player, Overall

  1. Karolyn Kirby, 67
  2. Holly McPeak, 55
  3. Liz Masakayan, 44
  4. Nancy Reno, 38
  5. Linda Chisholm, 36
  6. Angela Rock, 27
  7. Linda Hanley, 19
  8. Lisa Arce, 18
  9. Barbra Fontana, 16
  10. Janice Harrer, 15
  11. Cammy Ciarelli, 14
  12. Patty Dodd, 13
  13. Nina Matthies, 10
  14. Elaine Youngs, 10
  15. Lori Forsythe, 8
  16. Annett Davis, 6
  17. Jenny Johnson Jordan, 6
  18. Kathy Gregory, 5
  19. Gail Castro, 5
  20. Misty May, 5
  21. Kathy Hanley, 4
  22. Elaine Roque, 4
  23. Dennie Shupryt Knoop, 1
  24. Anna Prousalis, 1
  25. Julie Schaar Thornton, 1
  26. Nancy Townsend, 1
  27. Carrie Busch, 1
  28. Leanne Schuster, 1
  29. Lisa Strand-Ma'a, 1
  30. Marie Andersson, 1
  31. Christine Schaefer, 1
  32. Marla O'Hara, 1
  33. Gayle Stammer, 1
  34. Donna Townsend, 1
  35. Monique Oliver, 1

Beach Volleyball America
13955 Stowe Drive, Poway, CA 92064; 858/486-8659; FAX - 858/486-2817;
Revised April 14, 2001

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