The Girls of Summer are back! The beach, beer, boardshorts and bikini sport (and possibly best way to make a living) is celebrating opening day! With Kerri Walsh knocked up and out of competition, here are 2010's Best Female Pro beach Volleyball players.
Two time gold medal winner Misty May-Treanor is back from taking a year off. She has been missed. With the regular tour MVP out for the whole last season and partner Kerri Walsh out for most of it, an element of fun was missing from the sand. Nicknamed "The Turtle" and hailing from Long Beach, Misty represents both the intensity and spirit of the port.You've seen her play in Beijing.. now watch her dance
In what is the 2nd best chemistry match-up on the tour, Jen Kessy and April Ross will continue to knock the chip off of anyone's shoulder. These two are fearless and play that way. Just one match shy of taking the second spot on the Olympic team, these two just get better and better every year.
There really is no loyalty in this sport. Nicole Branagh was plucked up and mentored b y Elaine Youngs after her very public and vocal split with Rachel Wacholder a few years back. Since then Nicole has really come into her own winning Most Improved Player twice as well as Rookie of The Year. Also who can forget here magnificent win after EY cramped up in Manhattan a three years ago. But when the big endorsement dollars that pairing with Misty May come a-knockin', it's hard to turn that down. Misty May who for the first time in years will be Kerri Walshless (knocked up) snagged the up and comer away from her mentor. Together they are the team to beat this year.
Known as the John McEnroe of Pro-Beach volleyball, Elaine Youngs keeps bringing her firecracker (like an M-80) brand digging to the beach. Despite her age of somewhere between a "matriarchal" 39 and 42 (depending on who you ask) EY swept just about every tournament last year with partner Nicole Branagh. However, Nicole Branagh pulled a fast one and joined forces with Ninja Turtle May.
Here is a clip of her in "happier" times with former (and soon to be current) partner Rachel Wacholder... the ref has just blown a call.
April Ross is the bulldog of the tour. She never gives up and will never surrender. Partnered with Jenn Kessy this is "the year" for this dynamic duo. With both EY and Misty May playing with new partners that have yet to combust these two should take the first couple of tourneys this year.
JENNY JOHNSON JORDAN
"3J," along with partner Annett Davis, are the stealth bombers of the AVP Tour. They play with finesse and will blow you out when you least expect it. Always a pair to be reckoned with, expect them to be Ross/Kessy's greatest challenge.
The other half of the 3J partnership, her most valuable weapon is consistency. Expect the same game but it is a good game, fundamentally sound she beats out flash any day.
It could finally be Angie Akers year. the most sculpted athlete in the women's bracket, Angie kicked some serious butt on the European FIVB tour last. Along with partner Tyra Turner, she finished the FIVB season ranked fifth in the world.
Ah, Rachel Wacholder, the official "More than a Pretty Face" of the tour, this digger has some serious game. After a horrendous and public shouting match in Center Court of the Paris FIVB with former partner Elaine Youngs, this duo is back together again. After taking most of 2009 off to look after her baby, she teamed up with Kerri Walsh for a disappointing half season. Somewhat media shy, here is the best video I could find of her. Just after the EY break up, they face off on center court.
Tyra has been both a partner with Angie and Rachel. A regular for the year end All Star Game "Queen of the Beach." Teamed up with Angie Akers that have hit South American to tune during the off-season.