Three-Set Matches Provide Excitement in Hermosa

Sept. 24, 2011, 8:55 p.m. (ET)

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

Men's Results * Women's Results

HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. (Sept. 24, 2011) – Three-set battles on the beach highlighted the first day of main draw play on Saturday at the Hermosa Beach Open, part of the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series produced by USA Volleyball and IMG.

The third-seeded women’s team of Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and Lisa Rutledge (San Diego, Calif.) survived a challenge from sixth-ranked Kristen Batt (Venice, Fla.) and Brooke Sweat (Estero, Fla.), 13-21, 21-19, 15-10.

The third-seeded men’s team of John Hyden (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) and Sean Scott (Redondo Beach, Calif.) was not as fortunate, falling to sixth-seeded John Mayer (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and Matt Prosser (Ventura, Calif.), 16-21, 22-20, 15-13 in the winners’ bracket.

“We have been beaten by John and Sean over 10 times. So since we had nothing to lose, we decided to go aggressive rather than conservative and it worked,” Mayer said. “This is a high-class event and it has upped our level to play harder and entertain more.”

Mayer and Prosser will play second-ranked Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Nick Lucena (Santa Barbara, Calif.) in the winner’s bracket quarterfinals on Sunday.

Hyden and Scott came back in the consolation bracket to defeat Ed Ratledge (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Ryan Mariano (Lake Forest, Calif.), 21-16, 22-20. They will play fifth-seeded Billy Allen (Venice, Calif.) and Brad Keenan (Santa Ana, Calif.) in the consolation bracket on Sunday.

In the women’s bracket, Branagh and Rutledge will play second-seeded Lauren Fendrick (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Brooke Hanson (Woodland Hills, Calif.) in the winners’ quarterfinals.

Branagh and Rutledge had to fight back from a third-set, 5-0 deficit created in part by Batt’s serving.

“She did a great job serve,” Rutledge said. “(Coming back) was more will than anything else; not giving up and getting down on ourselves.”

 Rutledge said that although she has not played or even practiced much with Branagh prior to the Hermosa Beach tournament, she was enjoying the experience.

“She’s so physical and athletic. She makes plays happen,” Rutledge said.

Fendrick and Hanson, Branagh and Rutledge’s quarterfinal competition, survived two three-set matches on Saturday, defeating 15th-ranked  Michelle Moriarty (Houston, Texas) and Tracy Weamer (Corona del Mar, Calif.), 21-13, 19-21, 15-12 and then getting past seventh-ranked Emily Day (Torrance, Calif.) and Heather Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.), 21-15, 17-21, 15-10.

In the other winners’ quarterfinal, top-seeded Jen Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) will play fourth-ranked Jenny Kropp (Hawthorne, Calif.) and Whitney Pavlik (Laguna Beach, Calif.).

Kropp and Pavlik defeated Kessy and Ross in the semifinals of the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball event in Miami Beach and at the U.S. Open of Beach Volleyball in Cincinnati.

Play will begin on Sunday at 8 a.m. The women’s final will begin at 1 p.m. and the men’s final will follow at 3 p.m. and will be shown live on VERSUS.

Hermosa Beach Open
Date: Sept 24-25
Location: North side of the Hermosa Beach Pier
Format: 32 Team Double Elimination – 22 Automatic berths and two wildcards
Qualifier Format: Single elimination to qualify the final eight teams
Prize Money: $150,000 – All 32 teams paid

Sunday, Sept. 25
8 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Festival Area Open
9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Women's Finals
1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Men's Finals - LIVE on VERSUS
3 p.m. - 5 p.m.