Hochevar, Kropp Win Spot in Qualifier

Nov. 03, 2009, 4:03 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800
E-Mail: bj.evans@usav.org

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 3, 2009) – The U.S. beach volleyball team of Brittany Hochevar and Jenny Kropp advanced to the qualifying round of the Phuket Thailand Open after defeating the U.S. team of Brooke Hanson and Lisa Rutledge on Tuesday at Karon Beach.

The women-only tournament is the last of 18 events on the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Beach Volleyball calendar.

Competing for the first-time on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour, Hochevar (Fowler, Colo.) and Kropp (Grand Island, Neb.) rebounded from a 21-8 first set loss to Brooke Hanson (Woodland Hills, Calif.) and Lisa Rutledge (Vista, Calif.) to win the next two sets 21-18, 15-9 in the 50-minute match to Wednesday’s qualifier.

“I think playing for the first time internationally combined with a different ball and the humidity really hurt our concentration,” said the 28-year old Hochevar, who played collegiately at Long Beach State with Misty May-Treanor (Costa Mesa, Calif.). “Once we settled down and eliminated our errors, we played a lot better in the next two sets. What a relief, but tomorrow we be just as difficult as we will be playing a lot of new teams.”

Hochevar and Kropp will face Thailand’s Orradee Phupanee and Aunchalee Yunsuwan in the first round of qualifying on Wednesday.

The second of two-straight weeks of competition in Asia, the fourth-annual Phuket Thailand Open continues through the weekend with the semifinals on Saturday followed by the medal matches Sunday where the winning team will share the $30,000 first-place prize.

The Phuket Thailand Open Qualification Tournament will highlight Wednesday’s schedule to determine the final eight spots for Thursday’s opening main draw matches. The competition will feature a 32-team double-elimination schedule. Friday’s schedule will end with the winner’s bracket quarterfinals while the elimination quarterfinals will be played Saturday before the semifinal meetings.

Americans Jen Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.), who will be the top seeds at this week’s event, won the 2008 Phuket Thailand Open finale by defeating Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and Tyra Turner (Fort Myers Beach, Fla.), 18-21, 21-14, 15-12 in the 63-minute all-American finale. Turner returns this season with Angie Akers (Fort Wayne, Ind.) as does 2008 bronze medal winners Geeske Banck and Anja Gunther of Germany, who won the third-place game.

More information and complete results and photos are available at www.fivb.org/EN/BeachVolleyball/index.asp.