Huntington Beach prepares to welcome 23 countries


Look out for Phil Dalhausser in Huntington Beach when "Surf City USA" becomes the fifth southern California site to host an FIVB World Tour event.

Lausanne, Switzerland, April 25, 2018 - A total of 23 countries will be competing in next week’s FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour stop in the United States as 140 teams are scheduled to compete in the $300,000 Huntington Beach Open next to the pier in "Surf City USA".

Starting Tuesday with preliminary rounds through the medal matches on May 6, the Huntington Beach Open will feature a 48-team double-elimination Main Draw bracket per gender. With 40 men's and 40 women's pairs being placed into the Main Draw that starts on May 3, preliminary play will be held Tuesday and Wednesday to qualify another eight teams per gender.

The semifinals and medal matches will be played May 6 with the winning teams netting the $20,000 first-place prizes. Huntington Beach will become the fifth southern California site to host a FIVB World Tour event. Earlier southern California sites for international competition were Hermosa Beach (1995 and 1996), Los Angeles (1997 World Championships), Carson (2003) and Long Beach (2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016).

The inaugural Huntington Beach Open is a partnership between the FIVB and the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP), the United States’ premier beach volleyball tour. With the partnership, the tournament format created the 48-team Main Draws for each gender with 16 AVP pairs being placed into the Main Draws automatically along with 24 top-ranked international tandems.

Headlining the American entries for Huntington Beach will be beach volleyball Olympians Phil Dalhausser, Lauren Fendrick, Jake Gibb, Nick Lucena, Casey Patterson, Sean Rosenthal, April Ross and Brooke Sweat.  Dalhausser won Olympic (Beijing 2008) and world championship (Gstaad 2007) gold medals with Todd Rogers.

2018 Fort Lauderdale Major podium placers were (left to right) Paolo Nicolai, Daniele Lupo, Nick Lucena, Phil Dalhausser, Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins.

Ross has captured medals at the 2007 (gold with Jen Kessy) and 2017 (silver with Lauren Fendrick) FIVB World Championships and the London 2008 (silver with Kessy) and Rio 2016 (bronze with Kerri Walsh Jennings) Olympic Games.

Earlier this season, Dalhausser teamed with Lucena to win February’s Beach Major Series event in Fort Lauderdale, USA, while Ross and Alix Klineman topped the podium at January’s FIVB World Tour stop in the Netherlands at The Hague.

Topping the list of international entries are Olympic (Rio 2016) and world champions (The Hague 2015) Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of  Brazil. The Brazilian pair also topped the podium at the 2015 and 2016 FIVB World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale and Toronto, Canada, respectively.

In 40 FIVB events, Alison and Bruno have won 12 World Tour gold medals, placed on the podium 19 times and competed in 23 final fours with a career match mark of 190-50 (79.2 winning percentage).

Bruno Oscar Schmidt (left) and Alison Cerutti of Brazil.

The top three pairs from the men’s 2017 FIVB World Championships are in the Huntington Beach Open, including Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola of Brazil (gold), Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst of Austria (silver) and Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin of Russia (bronze).

Dutchmen Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen, the 2013 FIVB world champions and bronze medal winners at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, have won twice this season on the World Tour with gold medal finishes in March at Doha, Qatar and Aalsmeer, the Netherlands.

Brouwer and Meeuwsen have compiled a 21-6 match mark this season to improve their current career record to 220-119 (64.9%) for 71 FIVB World Tour events since starting their partnership in 2011.

The top international women’s team in the 2018 Huntington Beach Open will be Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan of Canada and Brazilians Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas and Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa. The Canadians netted the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games while Fernanda and Barbara topped the podium at the Fort Lauderdale Major in February.

Canada's Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes with Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa of Brazil and Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic.

In 11 FIVB events together, Humana-Paredes and Pavan have posted eight final four finishes with two gold medals, five podium placements and a 47-11 match mark (81.0%). Fernanda and Barbara have also won two FIVB gold medals in 11 World Tour events together. Barbara captured the 2015 FIVB World Championships with Agatha before the pair captured the Rio 2016 Olympic silver medal.

The 19-year old Duda has etched her name into the FIVB record book as the most successful teenager in beach volleyball history. She has won six Age Category World Championships and three FIVB World Tour events.  Since playing in her first international event at 15 years, four months, Duda has competed in 27 FIVB World Tour events with 12 final four finishes and 10 podium placements.

In addition to Austria, Brazil, Canada, the Netherlands, Russia and the United States, other countries entering teams in the Huntington Beach Open are Argentina, Columbia, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and the Virgin Islands.

Prior to the Huntington Beach event, the FIVB World Tour will be staging a men’s and women’s event in Malaysia (Langkawi, April 26-29).  In addition to the Huntington Beach stop, the FIVB World Tour will also stage events during the first full week of May in Turkey ($150,000 Mersin Open, May 2-6, men and women), the Philippines ($10,000 Manila Open, May 3-6, men and women) and Cambodia ($50,000 Anchor Beach Volleyball Carnival 2018 in Phnom Penh, May 4-6, women).