"I was like, 'No way,'" said local beach volleyball player Traci Walsh. "This is so cool to have it come to Salt Lake. We just don't get opportunities like this."
Walsh and playing partner Angela Peterson have qualified to enter a tournament before the main event, where the top eight teams advance to play against the professionals, including 3-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh-Jennings. What would that be like?
"Amazing," said Peterson. "Nerve-wracking, I guess. I already have her autograph. She is one of the best players ever, so it would be an honor."
"That would be a dream come true," added Walsh. "Even if she killed us."
Walsh and Peterson are Utah's best hope to get into the main event. They've already won tournaments across the country, and have turned heads about the talent in Utah.
"All those girls we played though, 'Are all the players in Utah this good?' Peterson said. "They said, 'You guys just schooled everybody.' So that was fun."
"People ask us all the time, 'There's beach volleyball in Utah?' said Walsh. "Ya, but you have to look hard."
Walsh and Peterson train at the Wasatch Beach Volleyball Club in Murray. The facility is equipped with six courts complete with professional grade sand.
"It can be challenging to train in Utah," said Peterson, who played at Provo High School. "But we have a great summer season that starts in April and ends in October. So, it's a long enough season to play."
This local team is hoping for some home sand advantage when they take on other teams from around the country.
"What will be interesting is those California teams that are coming to play here in Utah, the air is different here," said Peterson. "So, it will be interesting."
So how do two busy mothers find the time to train for such a prestigious volleyball tournament? Simple. They just bring their families to practice.
"They love it," said Walsh. "My kids actually beg to come. They say, 'Mommy, can we go play in the sand while you play?' We make the time because we love it so much."
And if things go right, they'll get to play against the very best in the world.
The AVP Tour runs from August 16-18 at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City. Tickets can be purchased at avp.com.