Professional beach volleyball returns to the South Bay when the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series hosts the Hermosa Beach Open, Friday through Sunday, north of the Hermosa Beach Pier.
The event is the fourth of seven tour stops and follows the Chicago Open held last weekend. Thirty-two men’s and 32 women’s teams will compete for a piece of the $100,000 prize purse beginning with qualifying rounds held on Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Main Draw action will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6:30 pm, followed by men’s and women’s semifinal matches from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Sunday. Championship matches are slated to be played from 2:15 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Every Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series event is free to the public and the Hermosa Open semifinals and finals can be seen live by visiting www.josecuervoprobeachvolleyballseries.com.
The tournament will also determine the final two spots for the elite players who will compete in the Milwaukee Shootout August 3-5, when eight male and eight female athletes compete for a purse of $60,000.
Along with viewing athletic performances by some of the best players beach volleyball has to offer, fans 21-and-over at the Hermosa Beach Open can be entertained in the Cuervo Village which celebrates the beach lifestyle with music, consumer contests and giveaways.
In conjunction with the Hermosa Beach Open, USA Volleyball is hosting the High Performance Championships on the south side of the Hermosa Beach Pier Wednesday through Sunday. Elite athletes 12-25 years old selected from numerous tryout sessions held across the country will be competing in this second annual event that showcases the skills of the next generation of pro beach volleyball players.
Many of the players will comprise the Future Select-U15, Select-U17, Youth-U19, Junior-U21 ands Senior A2-U26 beach national team representing the United States in various national and international competitions.
For many years, the Hermosa Beach Open has featured numerous local athletes and this year is no exception. Holly Glen resident Jenny Kropp, along with partner Whitney Pavlik (Laguna Beach), has reigned as champion in the first three Cuervo tournaments.
The duo defeated Lauren Fendrick (Hermosa Beach) and Brooke Hanson in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and Kristen Batt and Raquel Ferriera in Belmar, NJ before outlasting Priscilla Lima (Hermosa Beach) and Tyra Turner 20-22, 21-19, 15-13 in Chicago last weekend.
Lima and Turner had defeated the eventual champions earlier in the day, knocking Kropp and Pavlik into the contender’s bracket for the first time in the Cuervo series.
“We had to stick together and play together against Tyra and Priscilla; they defeated us this morning,” Kropp said after the title match. “We have such great chemistry and we had to toughen up and find our rhythm by just talking.”
In the men’s competition, Ryan Doherty and Casey Patterson captured their second consecutive tour title with a 21-23, 21-19, 15-10 victory over Ty Tramblie and Avery Drost.
Doherty is a 7-foot-1 former pro baseball player with the Arizona Diamondbacks and has only played professional volleyball for a year and a half. In their first match as a team, Doherty and Patterson pulled off a huge upset in May when the duo beat defending Olympic gold medalists Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers, to win the National Volleyball League’s Preakness tournament in Baltimore, MD.
Doherty and Patterson defeated Adrian Carambula and Steven Grotowski to win the men’s title at the Cuervo Belmar Open.
“The second victory is a tough thing to accomplish,” Patterson explained. “At Belmar, no one knew what we were going to do but now, everyone has information on us, whereas before, we were the surprise factor. It tests our character and ability as partners and we are the perfect combo with me being a tall defender (at 6’6”) and Ryan at the net, blocking and covering me when I’m hitting.”
In the first Cuervo event in Ft. Lauderdale, Sean Scott (Redondo Beach) and John Hyden defeated Brad Keenan and John Mayer in the men’s championship match. Scott and Hyden dominated the 2011 domestic tour season and entered the Chicago Open as the top seeds, but were forced to settle with a 5th-place finish.
The Chicago Open marked the return of former Olympian Stein Metzger (Manhattan Beach) who has been absent from the domestic tour scene since 2009. He joined forces with former partner Mark Williams and on the second day of competition the 19th-seeds defeated pro volleyball veterans Casey Jennings (Manhattan Beach) and Bill Strickland en route to a third-place finish in the tournament.
The Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series concludes its tour with two Southern California events. The prestigious Manhattan Beach Open will be held August 24-26, followed by the Huntington Beach National Championships September 21-23.
Produced by IMG Worldwide, Inc., each tournament of the Jose Cuervo Series is sanctioned by USA Volleyball (USAV), the governing body of the sport, and will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network.