During this month of love, we’re shouting it out to some of the couples who’ve met through beach volleyball. What’s better than falling in love doing something you love??
Everyone loves Love on the AVP. And we especially love when we get to see it up close. Like when we got to watch Bill Kolinske propose to his longtime girlfriend Kelly Larsen on Stadium Court at the 2019 Chicago AVP. Billy is from Chi-Town, so this moment was extra special for the couple. Plus, they were psychic-level smart and got married on March 7, 2020, just days before the whole world shut down. Well executed, Kolinskes.
Billy and Janelle Allen met on Tour in the mid-2000s and have been married for over a decade. The picture on the left is their first AVP banquet in 2008. The right pic is them in 2019. Totes adorbs! They’re also parents to the orneriest cutie on the beach – Ketch Allen. Watch out for that kid; he’s gonna be a baller.
AVP Senior Director Jeff Conover and AVP Legend Jen Fopma have also been married for over a decade. Jeff plays a crucial role in all things AVP; most of the time, when I have a question on-site, I’m directed to Jeff. Jen retired a few years ago when she got pregnant with their son Bowie, but her career remains illustrious and impressive. She has her name on the Manhattan Beach Pier for crying out loud. This Christmas-loving couple represents two vital parts of the AVP – operations and athletes.
I’d be remiss to not mention Mark and me. We both said we’d never date people on the AVP (didn’t want to mix church and state). We tried for a full year to not date and then we fell in love and the rest is history. Funny story: we both played Name that Tune during AVP Media Day in 2019 (pictured above). The person who pitted us against each other in this video had no idea we were dating; it was totally random. Producer Kelly about died when she saw it and sent it to us right away. It’s still one of my favorite videos.
Eric Beranek and Geena Urango are one of the AVP’s newest couples. Their romance sparked on a South of the Border Volleyball Vacation – so romantic 😍 And it was right in time to develop their relationship and love during quarantine.
You may not recognize Sarah Pavan’s husband right away, but rest assured – this guy has a lot to do with the AVP. Not only is Adam Schultz a coach and incredible volleyball brain, but he also helped start the AVP Academy with Scott Davenport. He has his hand in a lot of AVP-related endeavors. Sarah Pavan is just arguably one of the greatest to ever play volleyball. So no biggie.
Though Lane Carico and Chaim Schalk technically met on the FIVB World Tour, their love and marriage carried them throughout Chaim’s transition to American citizenship. This AVP Power Couple now has a pair of AVP Championships under their belts and the sweetest little daughter, Koa. Here are Lane and baby Koa watching Chaim in his 2019 Seattle Final (that he won).
Nick Lucena and Brooke Niles are an OG AVP Couple. This insanely talented duo met on Tour in the early 2000s. We all know Nick as the dominant defensive presence behind Phil Dalhausser, but his wife Brooke Niles was tearing it up in the backcourt for years before she retired. She’s now Head Coach of FSU, leading her team to multiple National Championships and raising up the next generation of beach volleyball women.
Both McKibbin brothers found volleyball players. Riley and Carli Lloyd (an Olympic Medalist for the USA Indoor Team) are expecting a baby together. And Maddison recently proposed to longtime girlfriend and former baller Chelsea Hayes. Though both women have retired from professional volleyball, they get out in the sand to play and coach often. Even Carli who’s almost six months pregnant! Incredible.
Amanda Dowdy and Brad Lawson met on the AVP Tour in 2015. Brad grew up on the Baby Court in Honolulu, Hawaii with the Crabbs, McKibbins, and Tri Bourne. He also had two pretty successful seasons on the AVP before he turned his attention to other endeavors. And, of course, we all know AVP standout and 2014 Newcomer of the Year, Amanda Dowdy Lawson. The Lawsons married in 2019 and now live in Austin, Texas where Amanda is originally from.
I wrote about Phil and Jen Dalhausser before, and I definitely wanted to include them here. We all know Phil, or if you don’t I’m wondering how you came upon this article and why you’ve made it all the way to the bottom. His better half, Jen, also played and was a talented player – super athletic and highly skilled. She stopped after having their second kid, but still loves the game. And this volley duo is taking their talents beyond playing by starting a club in their hometown Orlando, FL.