2018-01-09 14:34:00 CET

Say hi to Alix Klineman

We introduce the newest (and currently undefeated) member of the beach volleyball community

Alix celebrates during last week's final in The Hague. Photocredit: FIVB.Alix celebrates during last week's final in The Hague. Photocredit: FIVB.

There’s a new name in beach volleyball to get used to – and judging by her performance last week in The Hague, one that’s sure to be hitting the headlines through 2018 and beyond: ladies and gentleman, Alix Klineman.

The 28-year-old American joined forces with legendary defender April Ross during the off-season and immediately wrote her name into the beach volleyball record books by becoming the third women in history to top the podium in her first ever tournament when winning in the Netherlands.

But who is she?

Well, Alix was born in one of America’s beach volleyball hotbeds, Manhattan Beach, California, on December 30, 1989, and graduated from Mira Costa High School in her hometown, where she excelled in indoor volleyball.

Standing an imposing 6ft 5in (1.96m) tall, a young Alix led Mira Costa to three consecutive California State Championship titles and soon her form alerted the attentions of the US national team, who she first represented in 2008.

Having played college volleyball for Stanford University between 2007 and 2010, Alix’s talent as an outside hitter saw her move to Italy, where she played for four professional clubs between 2011 and 2015.

Alix then hopped back across the Atlantic and joined Brazilian team Dentil Praia Clube in 2015. Last year she won a silver medal with Dentil in the South American Club Championships, but then switched her attention to the beach, playing eight times on the AVP with firstly Jace Pardon and then Lane Carico.

Klineman keeps her eyes on the ball during last week's final.Klineman keeps her eyes on the ball during last week's final.

Her first full-time season on the sand saw Alix scoop the AVP’s Rookie of the Year award, and her performances soon caught the eye of 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and all-round beach superstar Ross.

“She’s out here on the beach because she wants to go to the Olympics,” said April about Klineman in an interview with NBC.

And, last week, her debut on the international scene began with a bang as she used all of her indoor know-how to clinch gold with Ross in The Hague, where the beach tournament – the first of 2018 – was played indoors.

Having come from the volleyball scene, Alix began zero points, which meant the team had to start life in the country quota. However, that did not stop the pair fighting through two rounds against their fellow Americans, two matches in qualification and a further six matches in the main draw to storm to a sensational first gold medal. There can’t be many players who started their careers with 10 straight wins

With a combined 800 ranking points in the bag for The Hague triumph, Alix and April will hoping to feature at the Fort Lauderdale Major on home sand in February.

A fan of chocolate, peanut butter, seafood and Bob Marley, she can speak a little bit of French, would love to live in Rio if she had the chance and describes herself as “competitive, persistent and easy going”.

We think you’re really going to fit into the beach, Alix. It’s good to have you with us – and maybe, just maybe, we’ll see you in Fort Lauderdale. Watch this space!

GOLD TASTES SO SWEET!!!! @aprilrossbeach 🥇🥇Fairy tale ending to my first FIVB tournament 😭❤️

4,618 Likes, 261 Comments - Alix Klineman (@aklineman10) on Instagram: "GOLD TASTES SO SWEET!!!! @aprilrossbeach 🥇🥇Fairy tale ending to my first FIVB tournament 😭❤️"

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