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Valencia grad Delaney Knudsen plays on U19 volleyball team

Posted: July 17, 2013 7:05 p.m.
Updated: July 17, 2013 7:05 p.m.

Valencia graduate Delaney Knudsen competes during day three of the FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships on Saturday in Porto, Portugal.

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Only four American girls went to Portugal for the Federation of International Volleyball Under-19 World Beach Championships.

One of them was Valencia graduate Delaney Knudsen.

After making it through a rigorous and lengthy tryout process through USA Volleyball, Knudsen was named as a member of one of two girls teams sent overseas in an all-expenses-paid trip to compete against some of the top under-19 beach players in the world.

Knudsen, 17, and her playing partner Skylar Caputo, 16, ended up tied for ninth among 32 teams representing 25 countries. The tournament ran from last Thursday to Sunday in the city of Porto, Portugal.

“It was definitely the most intense atmosphere I’ve ever been in,” Knudsen said after returning from the trip late Monday. “At least on the beach, I’ve never played with a stadium of people watching. They played music between every rally. It was just intense the level of play I got to experience because I was playing against the top players in each country. Each point mattered so much.”

The FIVB has become the world authority on beach volleyball. The organization hosts world championships annually for various age groups, and those players can funnel into the main FIVB World Championships and, eventually, the Olympic Games.

Last week’s U19 tournament featured two American girls teams and one boys team, which were selected by USA Volleyball.

The six athletes had a short time to train together in the U.S. before the tournament.

Knudsen had never played before with Caputo, a junior-to-be at Mira Costa High.

“Even just based on what I had been told, I still don’t even think I was prepared for it, so it was such an amazing experience to be there and learn from that,” said the Pepperdine-bound Knudsen, The Signal’s 2012 All-Santa Clarita Valley Girls Volleyball Player of the Year.

She graduated from Valencia in May and will play beach volleyball at Pepperdine.

In all, Knudsen and Caputo finished 2-3 through five matches played across three days. The pairing finished 1-2 in pool play after beating the St. Lucia team and losing to the Latvia and Germany squads.

From there, the American duo knocked off a Norway team in the first round of bracket play before being eliminated by the eventual-champion Brazil team in the following round.

There wasn’t much time for exploring the area, Knudsen said, but she had a chance to visit with some of the international players.

It was an experience she says she’ll never forget.




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