Release courtesy of IMG
The opening day of the weekend welcomed 15 women’s teams and 20 men’s teams who battled it out for their spot in tomorrow’s Main Draw. Players from the Chicago Open include John Krejczyk, Kathryn Babcock Piening, Laura Anderson, Michelle Moriarty, Jennifer Solm and Rasa Virsilaite.
Saturday, the day will begin with 32 men’s teams and 24 women’s teams, all whom will compete for a chance to win a piece of the $100,000 prize purse.
Friday began hot but quickly turned as thunder and lightning made its way into Oak Street Beach, just as the last serve was made in the Qualifiers. All matches were completed and no part of the Qualifiers had to be postponed.
“Thunder and lightning is nothing unusual for Chicago but it always does stir a lot of excitement!” said Kathryn Babcock Piening, who already had automatically qualified for the Main Draw tomorrow. “I’m excited that the Jose Cuervo Pro beach Volleyball Series is here in my hometown of Chicago. The high-energy atmosphere and intense competition that IMG and Jose Cuervo bring together is unmatched and I can’t wait for my friends and family to experience it.”
With Chicago’s growing demand for beach volleyball, it only made sense to feature some of the world’s best athletes in the Windy City.
"Chicago is a prominent beach volleyball destination that has been explosively growing in the last 10 years, making it the perfect city to stage our event," said James Leitz, senior vice president, IMG and event producer, Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series. "We look forward to our stay and are excited to show off the talents of our athletes this weekend."
The action will continue with the Main Draw event on Saturday as a field of 32 men’s teams and 24 women’s teams hit the sand in a double-elimination tournament. The Finals will take place on Sunday (July 15) from 2:15- 5 p.m. CT. Fans who are unable to make it to Oak Street Beach will be able to watch the competition LIVE at www.josecuervoprobeachvolleyballseries.com or when it airs on July 29 at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Network.
The first place men’s and women’s teams from every stop will qualify for one of eight coveted spots to compete at the Milwaukee Shoot Out on Aug. 3-5 for the combined $60,000 prize purse. To date, John Hyden/Sean Scott, Ryan Doherty/Casey Patterson, Whitney Pavlik/Jenny Kropp and Kristen Batt/Raquel Ferreira have already been entered from their Florida Open and Belmar Open victories, leaving just four more coveted spots to be determined at the Chicago Open and the Hermosa Open (July 20-22). Because Pavlik and Kropp swept the first two stops, the runner-up team from the Belmar Open, Batt and Ferreira, have automatically filled the second women’s spot in Milwaukee.
In addition to the hard-hitting pro beach volleyball action, title sponsor Jose Cuervo has filled the sand with entertainment at the Cuervo Village, a full festival-like atmosphere that features music, consumer contests, giveaways and much more.
Produced by IMG Worldwide, Inc., the Chicago Open is free to the public and is taking place at Oak Street Beach. Each tournament of the Jose Cuervo Series will be sanctioned by USA Volleyball (USAV), the governing body of the sport, and will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network.
Detailed information is available at www.josecuervoprobeachvolleyballseries.com.