Misty May-Treanor is one of a number of famous former 49ers making a living on the beach.
Sept. 15, 2011
Long Beach, Calif. - While Long Beach State is just now adding sand volleyball as an intercollegiate sport, 49er alumnae have had tremendous success on the beach in national and international tournaments following their stints with Long Beach State's indoor volleyball program.
Obviously the first name that comes to mind is the first name in women's beach volleyball worldwide, Misty May-Treanor. A two-time NCAA player of the year as a setterat Long Beach State, May-Treanor led the 49ers to the first-ever undefeated season in women's volleyball on the way to the 1998 National Championship.
If her success in college set a high bar, May-Treanor clearly exceeded it following her time at Long Beach State. Joining a fledgling AVP Beach Tour, May-Treanor quickly became one of its brightest stars, and represented Team USA with Holly McPeak in the 2000 Olympics.
Switching her partner to Kerri Walsh after that Olympics, May-Treanor started a run of unprecedented success on the beach, which included a record 90-match winning streak, capped by winning the Gold Medal in beach volleyball in the 2004 Athens Olympics. The pair then defended their Gold Medal in 2008, winning again in Beijing.
May-Treanor is the all-time winningest women's beach volleyball player of all time, and is preparing for a run at a third Gold Medal in the 2012 London Olympics.
Long Beach State's beach pedigree isn't limited to just May-Treanor, however. Alicia Mills Polzin, a member of Long Beach State's first national championship team, is continuing what has been a nearly 20-year career in beach volleyball, while Jenn Snyder and Brittany Hochevar are been stars in their own rights in the AVP and NVL. Both Hochevar and Snyder each ranked in the Top 20 in the NVL over the summer of 2011.
Outside of the professionals, many former 49ers still compete in local tournaments that have open entry in Long Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Manhattan Beach, and continue to play the sport despite not having the option to represent Long Beach State in college. One can only imagine that the influence of 49ers in sand volleyball will only increase in the coming years.