Mating Season

Pro volleyballers find love on the beach
August 26, 2007

WHEN THE sports-and-entertainment agent Leonard Armato bought and consolidated the men's and women's pro beach volleyball tours in 2001, he thought he was just making a sound business decision. And maybe he was, but he was also inadvertently becoming a matchmaker. The blending of the divisions inevitably led to fraternization, and there are now 10 couples on the AVP tour. "I liken it to movie stars who spend a lot of time working together," says Armato. "Like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie after doing Mr. & Mrs. Smith." He ought to know: Six years ago Armato married Holly McPeak, a 2004 Olympic bronze medalist who is now a member of the tour's 12th ranked team. As the AVP heads into the Brooklyn Open at Coney Island this weekend, here's a look at how love is shaping the world of beach volleyball.

CASEY JENNINGS
Ranking: 12. 2003's top defensive player

KERRI WALSH
Ranking: 1. Two-time AVP MVP

WHEN THEY first met at a training session, recalls Walsh, "he tried to slam a ball in my face." Now, they've become homebodies, even when they're on the road. Says Walsh, "We are big fans of room service."
MARRIED TWO YEARS

APRIL ROSS
Ranking: 11. 2006 Rookie of the Year

BRAD KEENAN
Ranking: 8. 2006 Rookie of the Year

"SHE HAS the lead in mini golf; I have the lead in chess and H-O-R-S-E," says Keenan. Competitive? Their favorite stop while touring was Savannah, where they wound up at a dive bar playing darts against locals. Alas, Ross laments, "they won."
DATING FIVE MONTHS

SEAN SCOTT
Ranking: 13. Five-time event champ

RACHEL WACHOLDER
Ranked No. 5, second straight year

BOTH WERE coming off relationships when they met at a players' party in Montreal. "Everyone was dancing, drinking," says Wacholder. "We were shy, but as we were leaving, a friend got us to exchange e-mail addresses." A month later they went out.
DATING SINCE 2002

ANGELA LEWIS
Ranking: 18. Five years on tour

ANTHONY MEDEL
Ranking: 9. Fourth in aces in 2006

THEY'VE DATED for 18 months and last week Medel proposed on the sand outside their oceanfront home in Hermosa Beach, Calif. "We're beach bums," said Medel, explaining his proposal spot. "It seemed fitting."
ENGAGED LAST WEEK!

PHOTOCHRISTIAN PETERSEN/GETTY IMAGES (CASEY) PHOTOJOHN BIEVER (WALSH) PHOTOKEVIN C. COX/GETTY IMAGES (ROSS) PHOTOMELISSA MACATEE/BEIMAGES SPORTS (KEENAN) PHOTONICK DOAN/GETTY IMAGES (SCOTT) PHOTOHAMISH BLAIR/GETTY IMAGES (WACHOLDER) PHOTOWARREN WIMMER/ICON SMI (LEWIS) PHOTOKEVIN C. COX/GETTY IMAGES (MEDEL)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)