Beach Champions Converge on Cincinnati

Sept. 01, 2011, 6:03 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 1, 2011) – The new Manhattan Beach Open champions and U.S. teams that have been competing overseas highlight the field at the U.S. Open of Beach Volleyball on Sept. 2-4 at Hahana Beach Cincinnati.

Manhattan Beach men’s champions John Hyden (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) and Sean Scott (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and women’s champions Jenny Kropp (Hawthorne, Calif.) and Whitney Pavlik (Laguna Beach, Calif.) will be among the teams to beat in Cincinnati. Both teams will be ranked second in their respective brackets based on the USA Volleyball Beach Player Rankings.

The top seeds on the men’s side will be Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Nick Lucena (Santa Barbara, Calif.), who have been competing on the FIVB World Tour this season. The top-ranked team in the women’s bracket will be Jen Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.), who have also been focusing on the international tour.

Other players to watch are 2008 Olympian Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.), who will play with Angie Akers (Fort Wayne, Ind.). Other Olympians in the field are Hyden, who competed twice with the U.S. men’s indoor team and 2000 Olympians Kevin Wong (Honolulu, Hawaii), Jenny Johnson Jordan (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) and Annett Davis (Long Beach, Calif.).

Wong will be playing with Jesse Rambis (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), son of NBA player and coach Kurt Rambis. Johnson-Jordan and Davis will be playing with different partners. Johnson-Jordan has picked up Sheila Shaw (Muskegon, Wis.) while Davis will play with Priscilla Lima of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

This is the first year that the U.S. Open of Beach Volleyball is being held in the Midwest. Several of the players have Midwest ties.

Tealle Hunkus grew up in Girard, Ohio, and attended Girard High School. Kropp is from Grand Island, Neb., and played indoor volleyball at the University of Nebraska. Akers is a native of Fort Wayne, Ind., and played at Notre Dame University.

Shaw is from Muskegon, Wis. Kathryn Babcock is originally from Kalamazoo, Mich., and Steven Vanderwerp is from Grand Haven, Mich.

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The main draw for the 2011 US Open Presented by Corona Light, September 2nd-5th at Hahana Beach Cincinnati, will consist of 16 men's and 16 women's teams.  14 of the teams will 'pre-qualify' for the event in advance.  2 teams will advance to the main draw by competing in the US Open qualifier held on Thursday September 2nd at Hahana Beach.  The Pre-Qualified players are as follows:

The following teams are confirmed for the 2011 US Open of Beach Volleyball:

Men’s Seeds
1. Matt Fuerbringer / Nick Lucena
2. Sean Scott/ John Hyden
3. John Mayer/ Matt Prosser
4. Brad Keenan / Billy Allen
5. Kevin Wong / Jesse Rambis
6. Ty Loomis/ Mark Williams
7. Adrian Carambula / Steve Grotowski
8. Fred Souza / Rodrigo Monteiro
9. Kevin McColloch / Matt Olson
10. Steve Vanderwerp / Mark VanZwieten
11. Ty Tramblie / Joaquin Acosta
12. Everett Matthews / Scott Hill
13. C.J. Macias / Drew Mallin
14. Scott Lane / David Fischer

Women’s Seeds
1. April Ross / Jen Kessy
2. Lauren Fendrick / Brooke Hanson
3. Nicole Branagh / Angie Akers
4. Jenny Kropp/ Whitney Pavlik
5. Brittany Hochevar/ Lisa Rutledge
6. Kristen Batt / Brooke Sweat
7. Jennifer Fopma / Tracy Jones
8. Emily Day / Heather Hughes
9. Tealle Hunkus / Heather Lowe
10. Erin Gray / Kathryn Babcock
11. Olayo Pazo / Kendra VanZwieten
12. Annett Davis / Priscilla Lima
13. Angela Lewis / Jess Gysin
14. Sheila Shaw / Jenny Johnson-Jordan