Wednesday, 29 May 2024

U.S. Beach Teams Gear Up for 2023 U21 World Championships

Four U.S. beach teams are eagerly preparing to compete at the highly anticipated FIVB Under-21 World Championships in Roi Et, Thailand, from November 6th to November 12th.

Exciting Qualifying Phase and Main Draw

The tournament kicks off with a thrilling 24-team qualifier for both genders on Tuesday. After the qualifying phase, 32 teams will advance to the main draw, which runs from Wednesday until the end of the competition. The U.S. is proudly sending two teams for each gender, showcasing their strength in the sport.

Stellar Lineup of U.S. Women’s Pairs

Representing the U.S. in the women’s category are Samaya Morin from Grand Canyon University, paired with Taylor Wilson from Stanford University. Additionally, Sally Perez and Alexa Fernandez, both from UCLA, form another formidable duo. Fernandez and Perez were the alternate pair and were awarded a bye in the preliminary qualification phase. They will start their journey in the second round of qualification against Neub/Maidhof from Germany.

Strong Men’s Representatives

On the men’s side, Thomas Hurst from the University of Colorado is teamed up with Gage Basey, while Carson Barnes and Ayden Keeter from Webber University form another dynamic pair. Keeter and Barnes were the alternate pair and will face Sacit K. and Batuhan K. from Turkey in the preliminary qualification phase.

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Securing their Spots

These talented teams earned their coveted spots to represent the U.S. at the world championships after a fierce battle at the 2023 U23 and U21 Beach National Team Trials held in Hermosa Beach, California, in June.

Intense Trials Determined the Winners

In the women’s trials, Morin and Wilson emerged victorious in the semifinals against Jessie Smith and Ella Connor, securing their place in the final. Facing off against them were Fernandez and Perez, resulting in an intense three-game match, with Morin and Wilson ultimately triumphing and earning the right to represent the U.S.

For the men’s trials, Hurst and Basey outperformed Leo Tuncer and Zephyr Dew in the semifinals. They then faced off against Keeter and Barnes in an equally thrilling final match. Hurst and Basey clinched the victory after a nail-biting three-game battle, guaranteeing their place representing the U.S.

A Journey of Development and Training

Following their selection, all the age-group national teams, including alternates, participated in the National Team Development Program (NTDP) summer training block at the Elite Athlete Training Center in Chula Vista, California, in July.

The 19th Edition of the Championships

This year marks the 19th edition of the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships, and it is the third consecutive year that Thailand is hosting the event.

U21 Beach National Team Roster

Women’s Competing Pair/Athlete

  • Samaya Morin (6-0, 2003, Lake Stevens, Wash., Arizona State, Puget Sound Region)
  • Taylor Wilson (5-10, 2003, Stanford, Santa Barbara, Calif., Southern California Region)
  • Alexa Fernandez (5-8, 2005, Houston, Texas, Lutheran South Academy, Lone Star Region)
  • Sally Perez (6-3, 2006, Apex, N.C., Middle Creek HS, Carolina Region)
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Alternates

  • Alexis Durish (5-10, 2004, Venice, Fla., Florida State, Florida Region)
  • Madison White (5-10, 2004, Scottsdale, Ariz., Univ. of Southern California, Arizona Region)

Coach: Brooke Niles (Florida State)

Men’s Competing Pair/Athlete

  • Gage Basey (6-3, 2003, Lyons, Colorado, Univ. of Colorado, Rocky Mountain Region)
  • Thomas Hurst (6-4, 2004, Plano, Texas, UC Irvine, North Texas Region)
  • Carson Barnes (6-4, 2003, Ocean View, Delaware, Webber Univ., Chesapeake Region)
  • Ayden Keeter (6-1, 2004, Yorktown, Va., Webber Univ., Chesapeake Region)

Alternates

  • Zephyr Dew (6-4, 2005, Santa Cruz, Calif., Santa Cruz HS, Northern California Region)
  • Dylan McClung (6-8, 2003, North Kingstown, R.I., Sacred Heart Univ., New England Region)

Coach: Fiapo Tenius
Team Lead: Cody Liner (USAV NTDP)


FAQs

Q: How many teams will be participating in the FIVB Under-21 World Championships?
A: The championship will feature a total of 32 teams in the main draw, with 24 teams competing in the qualifying phase for each gender.

Q: How did the U.S. teams qualify for the world championships?
A: The U.S. beach teams earned their bids through the 2023 U23 and U21 Beach National Team Trials held in Hermosa Beach, California, in June.

Q: Where was the National Team Development Program (NTDP) summer training block held?
A: The NTDP summer training block took place at the Elite Athlete Training Center in Chula Vista, California.

Summary

The U.S. beach teams are eagerly gearing up for the highly anticipated FIVB Under-21 World Championships in Roi Et, Thailand. With a thrilling qualifying phase and intense competition in the trials, these talented athletes have secured their spots to represent the U.S. Supported by experienced coaches and having undergone rigorous training, the U.S. teams are ready to showcase their skills on the sand. Stay tuned for this exciting event and cheer on the U.S. teams as they strive for victory.

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For more information on the event schedule and live streams, visit our website.