A new sand volleyball program is serving up some impressive success in its inaugural summer of training.
Since launching in March, Chicago Sand Volleyball (CSV) has attracted 136 junior players and 17 sand coaches, including a professional AVP coach, Dan Mickle, in the role of coaches education director and sports psychology consultant. CSV has also placed nearly a dozen doubles teams at or near the top of two of the most prestigious sand tournaments in the Midwest, with an eye on competing in the USAV Junior Beach Championships later this summer.
"We couldn't be more excited about our first season of sand," said CSV Executive Director Alex Hurlburt. "With a talented group of young athletes and a standout coaching staff, the future looks bright for our organization in our mission to become the premiere sand volleyball training program in the Midwest."
Chicago Sand Volleyball currently is running nine training classes at practice locations in Downers Grove, Winfield and Northbrook, teaching the fastest-growing sport in the world to youth athletes ranging from ages 12 to 18. CSV offers both national and regional training tracks for guys and girls. Its national training program is intended for the most serious players looking to learn and play the game at the highest level in nationwide competitions. Its regional training program is geared to athletes who want a first-time taste of sand volleyball or who aren't yet ready to commit the time necessary for the more rigorous national training schedule.
After only a few weeks of preseason training, CSV's national athletes are already racking up significant hardware in high-level tournaments. Competing in the A2 HP Zonal Championships in Iowa, Zeo Meyer (Wheaton) and Eddie Jakuboskas (Plainfield) took first place in the U17 division to earn a bid to the A1 HP National Championship July 31 to August 2 in Hermosa Beach, California, which they accepted. Anthony Figueroa (Darien) finished third in U17, while in U15 Abhi Lakkamsani and Louie Batang, both of Northbrook, placed second and Ryan Murphy and Tommy Lohman, both from Glen Ellyn, brought home third.
CSV's national teams were coming off an exceptional debut at the North Coast Open, a junior national qualifier on June 4 in Chicago. Playing at Montrose Beach, seven teams clinched tickets to the national championships coming up July 20 to 25 in Siesta Key, Florida. CSV swept the medal stand in the 16U division. Ben Harrington and Nicco Cavalcante, both of Glen Ellyn, won the division. Jakubauskas and Dorian Fiorenza finished second, and the team of Figueroa/Schwegel took third. CSV's teams were nearly as dominant in the 14U division. Lakkamsani and Batang placed second, Yoel Gros and Nate Oleari grabbed third, and Joey Greenblatt and Emmitt Thulin, both of Downers Grove, came in fourth. Pete Alessandri of Villa Park and Jon Hogan of Wheaton gave CSV its seventh bid to nationals with a fourth-place finish in the 18U division.
The highlight of the summer so far for Chicago Sand Volleyball occurred June 18 at the Central Open Junior Beach Tour event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. CSV swept the top five spots in the 14U division, led by Lakkamsani and Batang's first-place finish. Murphy and Lohman took second, Zach Uhlig and Massimo D'Agaro placed third, Gros and Oleari were fourth, and Fallara and Grabs finished fifth. Lakkamsani and Batang accepted a bid to compete in the 15U division at the A1 HP National Championship in Hermosa Beach.
"Our national team athletes are off to an outstanding start to the summer," national team coach Tim Maruyama said. "They are training three days a week, participating in competitive tournaments and making a successful transition from indoor volleyball to the sand game. I'm excited to see them continue to grow as they gear up for the national tournaments in Florida and California."
As part of its summer programming, Chicago Sand Volleyball is also hosting eight tournaments at locations in Downers Grove, St. Charles and Elgin. The first CSV tournament, on June 24, featured 14U and 16U divisions. Visit https://www.chicagosandvolleyball.org/regional-tournaments/ for more information and to register.
For more information on Chicago Sand Volleyball, please visitwww.chicagosandvolleyball.org or call (630) 456-1717.