Kelley Kolinske, former Waves All-American, nabs beach volleyball championship in Manhattan Beach

Former Pepperdine Waves beach and indoor women’s volleyball player Kelley Kolinske’s name will soon be etched on plaque on the Manhattan Beach Pier Walk of Fame. 

Kolinske and partner Sara Hughes, a former USC volleyball player, won their first-ever AVP Gold Series Manhattan Beach Open championship on Aug. 21. The duo, seeded second in the event, downed third-seeded Kelly Cheng and Betsi Flint in three sets to win the four-day beach volleyball tournament. 

Winners of the Manhattan Beach spectacle, known as the “Wimbledon of beach volleyball,” get their names engraved into bronze plaques that are displayed on the pier. 

Kolinske, who won AVCA Championships in 2012 and 2014 while at Pepperdine, told the Los Angeles Times that Manhattan Beach is the mecca for beach volleyball. 

“It’s the most iconic, it’s the most historic tournament so getting your name on the pier, stamped on there forever, is pretty special and to be doing it where we both live, in our hometown, with all our families and our friends here was awesome,” she said. 

Kolinske and Hughes, the crowd favorites at Stadium Court, beat Cheng and Flint 21-8, 11-21, 15-13. The winning pair were down 13-10 in the final set before their five-point rally cemented the victory. Hughes rang up a kill and then an to ace to tie the match. A Kolinske block gave the pair the lead, and then Flint hit the ball long on match point to give Kolinske and Hughes the title. 

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Kolinske and Hughes’ defeat of Cheng and Flint was an opportunity to get revenge. Flint and Cheng knocked the eventual champions into the tournament’s contenders’ bracket in a fourth-round sweep on Aug. 20. 

Kolinske and Hughes beat Megan Kraft and Emily Stockman 21-15, 21-13 in the contenders’ bracket quarterfinal. The two then beat No. 1-seeded Terese Cannon and Sarah Sponcil 21-19, 21-18 in the semifinals to advance to the championship match. 

Former Pepperdine volleyball player Kelley Kolinske (left) and Sara Hughes acknowledge the crowd after winning the Manhattan Beach Open beach volleyball tournament championship. Photos Courtesy of AVP

Kolinske and Flint were a pairing that last played together in 2017. Hughes and Cheng were a duo until that year also. 

The Manhattan Beach victory was Kolinske’s fourth AVP win. She won her first AVP title with Flint in her rookie season seven years ago. 

Kolinske was a AVCA sand volleyball All-American in 2014 and 2015. She is the all-time winningest player in Waves beach volleyball history. Since graduating from Pepperdine in 2015, Kolinskehas also won gold, silver, and bronze medals on the FIVB World Tour.

Tri Bourne and Trevor Cobb won the men’s side of the Manhattan Beach Open. Kolinske was one of several former Pepperdine men’s and women’s volleyball players that competed in the event, which began on Aug. 18.

The other players were Noah Dyer, Deahna Kraft, Corinne Quiggle, Delaney Mewhirter, and Madison Shields.

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