Liz Masakayan 

Class of 2009
Active: 1982 - 2005
47 Open Victories


Liz Masakayan started playing beach volleyball in 1976, at the ripe age of 12, on Santa Monica's Sorrento Beach. A natural athlete, beach volleyball was just one of her sports as a teen: she ran track and played soccer and baseball before dedicating herself to volleyball. She was a two-time All-American at UCLA, and played on the school's 1984 NCAA championship team.

With longtime beach partner Karolyn Kirby, Masayakan won 26 domestic events and three international events; overall she's earned 47 beach event titles, including the 1994 Goodwill Games. Masayakan considers Kirby her favorite partner ("because she was the best player"), but has also found success with Elaine Youngs, capturing the 1999 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Marseilles, and Dianne DeNecochea with whom she won a 2001 crown in Santa Barbara.

Her most triumphant win came in 1995 at the WPVA World Championships in Hermosa Beach, which came less than six months after ACL surgery. And like most California kids, Masayakan love of beach volleyball stems in large part to its setting along the ocean's edge instead of inside a gym.

"For me, playing on the beach is much more challenging than indoors; there's just two people on a side, and you're playing in the deep sand" facing all the elements, including the wind and the sun, she says.