Beach Bytes: Kotnik-Simonsson win in Australia, FIVB adds tourneys

Kotnik/Simonsson win Vic Open: GCU alum Tjasa Kotnik (Slovenia) and Sigrid Simonsson (Sweden) won the Vic Open in Melbourne, Australia. The event was held at St. Kilda Beach February 7-8 as the seventh stop of the Vic Beach Volleyball Series. 

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Top-seeded Kotnik-Simonsson defeated third-seeded Christie Jenkins and Jordan Mowen 21-17, 21-19 to reach the top step of the podium.  Valerie Zivcic and Marta Slawuta and Stefanie Weiler and Johannah Rohkamper tied for third.

In the men’s division, third-seeded Matt Abela and Nejc Zemljak defeated fourth-seeded Sam Halley and Mateusz Zieba 21-16, 19-21, 15-10 in the finals. Chris Burns and Shaien Govender and Daniel Kuklych and Alex Naef tied for third.

The next stop of the Vic Beach Volleyball Series is February 24 at South Melbourne Beach.

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FIVB beach-Beach Bytes 2/16/2019
The FIVB added five one-star events in Europe to the beach competition calendar this week/FIVB photo

FIVB adds one-stars: The FIVB 2019 calendar will add five events this year in Baden, Austria (June 6-10), Ljubljana, Slovenia (August 1-3), Malbork, Poland, (August 1-3), Vaduz, Liechtenstein (August 7-11), and Knokke-Heist, Belgium (August 15-18). One-star events are single-elimination events, awarding $5,000/gender purses.

SFA adds beach: Stephen F. Austin will add beach volleyball next season, announced Ryan Ivey, Director of Athletics. The beach volleyball program was funded through the Gender Equity Plan approved in 2016.

SFA will play in the Southland Conference, which will sponsor beach volleyball beginning in 2020. Former San Jose State beach volleyball assistant Alex Luna will head the program.

A four-court private beach facility will be built on campus.

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“The decision to add beach volleyball to our compliment of sport offerings was independent of the indoor team success,” SFA athletic director Ryan Ivey said. “However, the success of our indoor program provides tremendous opportunities when it comes to recruiting and name recognition. The success of the indoor team is noticed throughout the collegiate volleyball world, indoor and beach.”

Cal Berkeley-Beach Bytes 2/16/2019
Berkeley residents are suing to stop development of the Cal beach volleyball complex/Todd Trumbull photo

Cal complex in jeopardy: Residents of Claremont Elmwood, Panoramic Hill, Dwight Hillside, and Save Berkeley’s Neighbohoods are suing to stop development of Cal’s new four-court beach volleyball facility, which includes locker rooms, 40-foot field lights and a public address system on 14,000 square feet. The lawsuit claims that the campus illegally skirted a required environmental impact review.

The new courts are sited on the middle of campus, said Dan Mogulof, spokesman for UC Berkeley chancellor Carol Christ.

“No part of this project is for the benefit of spectators, just the players,” he said. “Sand volleyball games attract, at most, about 50 people per game. … There is absolutely nothing in our plans that will lead to new, additional impacts on neighbors who live far from, and out of eyesight of, the court location.”

Last year Cal finished 24-8 and is ranked No. 12 in the AVCA coaches preseason poll.

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