Courtesy of IMG
CHICAGO, Ill. (July 14, 2012) – Day two of the Chicago Open concluded with top seeds John Hyden (Sherman Oaks, Calif.)/Sean Scott (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Whitney Pavlik (Laguna Beach, Calif.)/Jenny Kropp (Holly Glen, Calif.) advancing to the final day of play, which begins at 8 a.m. on Sunday.
The Chicago Open is part of the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Tour, produced by IMG and sanctioned by USA Volleyball.
Oak Street Beach buzzed with beach volleyball fans who crowded both the outer courts and stadium court to watch the sport’s best athletes compete for a spot in Sunday’s finals. The day consisted of stiff competition that ran into three games and sudden death. And like day one, what began as a hot and humid day was taken by two stints of heavy rain showers, which did not deter attendance. Fans ducked under tents for the weather to pass and refilled the beach as soon as the sky cleared.
Among those who competed Saturday were beach volleyball legends and Olympians Stein Metzger (Honolulu, Hawaii) and Mark Williams (Carlsbad, Calif.), who defeated Casey Jennings (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and partner Bill Strickland (Malibu, Calif.) in three sets, 9-21, 21-17, 16-14. This was the first time since 2009 that Metzger has played on tour but with powerful kills, skillful blocks, strategically placed hits and tips, and finesse on the court, he and Williams showed that time passed was no time passed at all.
“The rain cooled everything down for us and made it an equalizer for the sand since we haven’t played together like this in awhile,” said Metzger. “IMG and Jose Cuervo have stepped up to fill the void of a tour and have provided a platform for athletes to get better and train for the Olympics. The reason the U.S. has always been so dominant is because of our strong domestic tour. The Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series has done a huge favor for the volleyball community and we are so appreciative that they have found us a place again.”
Metzger and Williams will meet No. 2 seed Brad Keenan (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and John Mayer (Culver City, Calif.) on Sunday.
Fans who have been cheering on the athletes include 2010 Winter Olympic Skiing gold medalist Bode Miller who showed up to support Morgan Beck (Coto de Caza, Calif.) this weekend, as well as actor Vince Vaughn who grew up in Illinois and currently lives in Chicago.
In the first half of the morning, 16th-seeded Kevin McColloch (San Diego, Calif.) and Mike Placek (Cardiff, Calif.) defeated top seeds Hyden and Scott at stadium court. Hyden and Scott were reunited this weekend after Scott had been out with an injury. The “twin towers,” as they are affectionately referred to by fans, showed that they are still a force to be reckoned with when they eliminated Jennings and Strickland in the contenders’ bracket later this afternoon in two sets, 21-17, 21-19.
Looking stronger than ever in a filled stadium court, Pavlik and Kropp once again dominated their matches on Saturday and are looking for a series sweep, should they win Sunday. Clad in matching bright swimsuits, the pair defeated Olaya Pazo (Miami, Fla.) and Kendra Van Zweiten (Coconut Creek, Fla.), 21-15, 19-21, 15-8. They will go up against Priscilla Lima (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) and Tyra Turner (Fort Myers Beach, Fla.) in the quarterfinals.
The action will continue with the men’s and women’s quarterfinal, semifinal and final events on Sunday, July 15 beginning at 8 a.m. with final competitions from 2:15 p.m. – 5 p.m. CT. For fans who are unable to make it to Oak Street Beach, they will be able to watch the competitions 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.
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.
For complete results, visit bvbinfo.com.