DALLAS – Two-time Olympic medalist, current U.S. National Team member and former University of Nebraska standout Outside Hitter Jordan Larson became the inaugural Athletes Unlimited Volleyball Champion after earning 4,569 points over the five-week-long season competing against 44 of the world’s best players at Fair Park Coliseum in Dallas, Texas. Outside Hitter Bethania De La Cruz (3,690 points), Setter Brie King (3,675 points), and Outside Hitter Aury Cruz (3,582 points) rounded out the top four competitors. Libero Nomaris Vélez Agosto was named GEICO Defensive Player of the Year.
Larson, who served as captain for four of the five weeks tallied 4,569 points and led the league in several categories including most MVP Points (620), aces (15), stat points (2,169) and owns the single-match record for points earned with 436. In addition, she recorded 213 kills and 190 digs.
As a result, she will receive a silver medal hand crafted by Houston-based Max Lang Belt and Buckles, a father and son business founded in the 1970’s that has made custom buckles for President George W. Bush II, country legends Willie Nelson and Loretta Lynn as well as golfer Jack Nickolaus; a portrait painted by Abi Salami, a Dallas-based artist who was selected as one of the Saatchi Art 2020 Rising Stars under 35 and the honor of being entered into the Book of Unlimited, a 500-page book which chronicles the history of the property and will record every Champion from each Athletes Unlimited sport. Players two through four also received medals.
Dominican Republic National Team member Bethania De La Cruz finished the season in second place with 3,690 points and served as captain four times. She struck 14 aces and 193 kills. Brie King, a two-time captain, led the league with 570 assists and posted 177 digs and 9 aces. Puerto Rican National Team veteran Aury Cruz scored the second most MVP points (400), set the single match kill record with 26, posted 171 total kills and 117 digs.
Libero Nomaris Vélez Agosto was voted GEICO Defensive Player of the Year by a combined vote of the players and members of the Unlimited Club and was awarded a medal as well as a $5,000 bonus. Vélez Agosto, who is also a member of the Puerto Rican National Team, played on a team with De La Cruz for four of the five weeks, finished the season with 176 digs and made several spectacular plays during her campaign.
“I am honored to have become the inaugural Athletes Unlimited Volleyball Champion,” said Jordan Larson. “So much work went into making this league a reality and I am so proud to be a part of this incredible group of athletes whot helped launch the only women’s professional indoor volleyball league in the United States.”
“I am proud to receive the GEICO Defensive Player of the Year award on behalf of all of the people who invested in me and who trusted in my abilities and skills,” said Nomaris Vélez Agosto. “Thank you for sharing this very special moment in my life. It is a true honor to be recognized for my performance by so many of the world’s best athletes and the fans.”
“Congratulations to Jordan Larson on becoming our inaugural Athletes Unlimited Volleyball Champion and Nomaris Vélez Agosto for winning the GEICO Defensive Player of the Year award,” said Jon Patricof, CEO and Co-Founder of Athletes Unlimited. “We applaud each of the volleyball athletes who played this season and appreciate the fans around the world who came together to support the only indoor women’s volleyball league in the United States.”
Athletes Unlimited inaugural volleyball season, in partnership with USA Volleyball featured 45 of the best players in the world including six Olympians from the U.S., Puerto Rico, Brazil, Great Britain and the Dominican Republic. Over the course of competition during the five-week season, players recorded over 2,000 kills, 2,500 digs, 350 blocks, and more than 150 aces.
The 30 matches during the 2021 season were broadcast or streamed globally to 100 countries via a network of partners that included CBS Sports Net, FOX Sports, FOX Deportes, ESPN International, CBC Sports, Free Sports and Setanta Sports as well as a robust digital network including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Twitch and Dailymotion. In addition, games were rebroadcast on MSG Network, NESN and FOX Regional Sports Networks around the country. In total, 750 hours were broadcast on TV in the U.S. across CBS Sports Net, FOX Sports, 15 games in Spanish on FOX Deportes and the league’s regional partners during the five week season.
Athletes Unlimited leagues feature a range of scoring innovations to bring athletes and fans a unique and intense version of the sport. Individual athletes earn points based on both team wins and individual performance and become the champions in team sports. Points are earned on every play and the leaderboard will change constantly. In addition, teams change each week, with the top four athletes in the standings serving as captains and drafting their teams. At the end of the five-week season, the player with the most points is crowned as individual champion.
Athletes Unlimited was co-founded by Jon Patricof and Jonathan Soros and is supported by its Advisory Board comprised of high-profile contributors from sports, business and entertainment. Members include U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team icon Abby Wambach; two-time NBA champion and entrepreneur Kevin Durant; Grand Slam champion and former world number one tennis star Caroline Wozniacki; ESPN broadcaster and four-time first-team All-American softball standout Jessica Mendoza; two-time Olympic medalist and captain of the USA Women’s National Volleyball team Jordan Larson; Thirty Five Ventures co-founder Rich Kleiman; USA Volleyball Women’s National Team head coach Karch Kiraly; International Olympic Committee member and four-time hockey Olympian Angela Ruggiero; Bleacher Report journalist Taylor Rooks and former player and past President of the United States Tennis Association Katrina Adams. The Athletes Unlimited Advisory Board will offer strategic advice and help the organization maintain best practices as the property grows.
About Athletes Unlimited
Athletes Unlimited is a new model of pro sports where athletes are decision-makers and individual players are champions of team sports. We literally change the game with faster play, and a new draft and team rosters every week, delivering next-level competition and engagement in which every moment counts. Athletes Unlimited operates a network of pro sports leagues. The first season of women’s softball was completed in 2020 and the first season of women’s indoor volleyball was completed in March 2021. The inaugural season of women’s lacrosse launches in July 2021 and the second season of softball kicks off in August 2021 to be followed by season two of volleyball in 2022.
For more information about Athletes Unlimited, our volleyball or softball leagues and our civic leadership activities, please sign up at www.auprosports.com or follow us @auprosports on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.