Former Golden Gophers Nicole Branagh, Charnette Fair, Paula Gentil, Jen Bowman, Jessy Jones, Rachel Hartmann and Stephanie Hagen have all played in AVP Beach Volleyball events. The last three years, Branagh has been one of the most successful players on the women’s side of the AVP Tour. She broke onto the scene in 2005 as the AVP Women’s Rookie of the Year, and was the Most Improved Player in 2006
Branagh and her partner Elaine Youngs dominated the AVP Tour in 2009 winning seven of the nine tournaments they entered. In the other two tournaments, the combo finished second. Branagh and Youngs led the AVP with 6,530 points and have collected $224,000 over the summer.
In 2008, Branagh and Youngs put their focus into FIVB international tournaments in pursuit of qualifying for the Olympics in Beijing, China. That goal was realized on July 5 when Branagh and Youngs won in the semifinals to advance to the championship in a tournament in Moscow, Russia to move to a FIVB point total that clinched them a spot in the Olympics along with Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh. Earlier in the summer, Branagh and Youngs won the FIVB Tournament in Barcelona, span during the week of May 26 to June 1.
In 2007, Branagh teamed with Youngs to finish second or higher on seven different occasions during the AVP Tour season. They also won two tournaments last summer, and were the only other team to win a tournament other then Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh. In the first event of the season in Miami on Apr. 13-15, 2007, Branagh and Youngs knocked off May-Treanor and Walsh in the semifinals and went on to win the tournament. It was only the second time in 46 events that May-Treanor and Walsh had not advanced to the championship. Branagh and Youngs were the only team to beat them this summer on the tour in an event.
In the spring of 2007, Jessy Jones and Rachel Hartmann competed in the beach volleyball Collegiate Nationals. It was the second year of the event set up by CSTV. During that year, CSTV invited beach volleyball duos from eight of the top teams in the nation in women’s volleyball. In 2006, in the event's first year, former Golden Gopher Paula Gentil and former USC middle blocker Bibiana Candelas teamed up to win the championship in the Collegiate Nationals and earned an exemption for an AVP Tour event.