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Reigning Champions Come Through in Chicago

By Courtesy of | July 15, 2012, 12 a.m. (ET)

Courtesy of IMG

CHICAGO, Ill. (July 14, 2012) – Although new competitors went up against both Casey Patterson/Ryan Doherty, and Whitney Pavlik/Jenny Kropp throughout the day, the reigning champs proved again why they belong on top as each team emerged victorious on Sunday at the Chicago Open, part of the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series, sanctioned by USA Volleyball.

Pavlik (Laguna Hills, Calif.) and Kropp (Grand Island, Neb.) made history with their third consecutive win that resulted in a series sweep for 2012, as they added their Chicago Open victory to their Florida Open and Belmar Open victories, while Patterson (Van Nuys, Calif.) and Doherty (Toms River, N.J.) earned their second consecutive win.

Both runner-up teams – Ty Tramblie (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Avery Drost (Santa Monica, Calif.), and Priscilla Lima (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Tyra Turner (Fort Myers Beach, Fla.) – met the finalists in Sunday morning matches. Tramblie and Drost were defeated while Lima and Turner prevailed, sending Kropp and Pavlik to the contenders’ round for the first time in the series this year.

Lima and Turner impressed fans as they led set one and set three of the finals, with their athleticism and high energy despite being under the hot sun and humidity. Pavlik and Kropp who talked strategy throughout the entire match and set up a series of smart plays and placements, which ultimately helped them regain the lead from being down 7-11 in the third set. They won in three sets, 20-22, 21-19, 15-13.

“We had to stick together and play together against Tyra and Pricilla - they defeated us this morning,” Kropp said.

“We have such great chemistry and we had to toughen up and find our rhythm by just talking.”

As for the energy of the fans this weekend, Pavlik said, “Thank you to Chicago – we’ve had full bleachers today, yesterday and the qualifiers. The energy was just amazing and we have loved it here.”

The excitement of the women’s final was a tough act to follow, but the men’s finalists put on just as an amazing demonstration of athleticism and competition. Before meeting Doherty and Patterson in the finals, Tramblie and Drost upset No. 1 seeded John Hyden (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) and Sean Scott (Redondo Beach, Calif.) in the contender’s bracket on Sunday morning.

Tramblie and Drost came strong out of the gates clinching the win for the first set, but Patterson and Doherty quickly answered back in the second and third games with hard driven hits that rightfully earned Patterson his nickname, “Boom.” Though Doherty’s blocks are virtually impenetrable, Tramblie was able to get off the ground and reach as high as his 7’1 opponent. Patterson and Doherty defeated their opponents, 21-23, 21-19, 15-10.

“The second victory is a tough thing to accomplish,” Patterson said. “At Belmar, no one knew what we were going to do but now, everyone has information on us, whereas before, we were the surprise factor.

“It tests our character and ability as partners and we are the perfect combo with me being a tall defender (at 6’6) and Ryan at the net, blocking and covering me when I’m hitting.”

Doherty added, “Ty is as good as they get out there. He and Avery played gave us a good run twice today. The second win is every bit as sweet as the first and I’m thankful to have had a different set of friends and family to come out and support me at the Chicago Open, from Notre Dame (where Doherty went to college) and from St. Louis.”

Both Lima/Turner and Tramblie/Drost will join John Hyden/Sean Scott, Ryan Doherty/Casey Patterson, Whitney Pavlik/Jenny Kropp and Kristen Batt/Raquel Ferreira at the Milwaukee Shootout on Aug. 3-5 for the combined $60,000 prize purse. The last two spots will be determined by the winners of the Hermosa Beach Open taking place next week in California.

Fans can catch the action on July 29 at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Network.

Following the Chicago Open, the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series remaining stops on the tour include the following events: Hermosa Beach Open (July 20-22), Milwaukee Shootout (Aug. 3-5), Manhattan Beach Open (Aug. 24-26) and Huntington National Championships (Sept. 21-21).

Produced by IMG Worldwide, Inc., each tournament of the Jose Cuervo Series is 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 josecuervoprobeachvolleyballseries.com.

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