With the Association of Volleyball Professionals prematurely going down in bankruptcy last summer in the middle of the season, who’s up for filling the void for some quality beach volleyball tournament?
The National Volleyball League wants a crack at it.
The NVL will take its event to the people — the infield of Pimlico for this weekend’s Preakness, in front of about 80,000 as part of its InfieldFest 2011.
They’ve got 32 teams of men and women, starting with prelims on Friday at Baltimore before the finals move to Pimlico on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The men’s final is at 2 p.m.; the women’s at 3:30 p.m. — with the Preakness going off at about 6 p.m. local time.
While most of the elite former AVP teams are playing overseas in preparation for the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sean Scott (left) and Sherman Oaks’ John Hyden are this weekend’s top men’s team — they’ve beaten Olympic gold medal winners Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers six times over the years. Casey Patterson and Brad Keenan, who have been competing internationally, are also considered a favorite.
Lisa Rutledge and 2000 Olympian Annett Davis (the former partner of Jenny Johnson Jordan) are the women’s No. 1 seed.
The NVL was created last year by longtime volleyball player Albert Hannemann,a former AVP Executive Director of Player Promotions. They’ve got six events planned for this summer, including Malibu and Long Beach, along with Virginia Beach, Va., Aspen, Colo., and Miami.
A group called Corrigan Sports Enterprises has helped create this event.
“This weekend has been a long time coming for the players as well as beach volleyball fans around the country,” said Hannemann. “We are grateful to Baltimore Beach, Preakness and our sponsors for giving us the opportunity to bring an entirely unique element of entertainment and competition to the infield.”
All four courts will be streamed live online at www.thenvl.com.