COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 24, 2012) – The 2012 Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series will begin with the Florida Open, which will be held May 25-27. The prize purse, originally set at $75,000, has been raised to $100,000 for the event.
The series will consist of seven events in various locations throughout 2012. The events will be produced by IMG and sanctioned by USA Volleyball.
On the men’s side, two-time indoor Olympian John Hyden (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) will team with Sean Scott (Redondo Beach, Calif.) to form the top-ranked team heading into the Open.
This duo, who became a team in 2009, dominated the 2011 Pro Beach Series, winning the Manhattan Beach Open, Miami Beach Open and the Milwaukee Shootout.
The No. 2-seeded team of Bradley Keenan (Santa Ana, Calif.) and John Mayer (Culver City, Calif.) will also be a strong contender. Keenan began his beach volleyball career in 2006 with Mayer before switching to Hyden for almost two years. Keenan reunited with Mayer for the 2012 season and the pair has already played in two events on the FIVB World Tour.
Mayer began his beach career in 2003 and was named the AVP Most Improved Player in 2009.
For the women, Lauren Fendrick (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Brooke Hanson (Ventura, Calif.) maintain the No. 1 seed. The duo won the Miami Beach Open in last year’s Series.
Fendrick and Hanson are currently the third-ranked U.S. team on the FIVB World Tour and have enough points to qualify as alternates for the U.S. Olympic Team.
The other big name is Nicole Branagh (Torrance, Calif.), who finished fifth at the 2008 Beijing Olympics with partner Elaine Youngs. The Minnesota Golden Gopher has garnered many awards in her career including AVP Best Offensive Player, AVP Most Valuable Player in 2009, and AVP Rookie of the Year in 2005.
Branagh’s partner, Tyra Turner (Fort Myers Beach, Florida), will travel just about two hours to return to the city where she first began her pro beach volleyball career in 2003. By teaming with the Olympic veteran, the 35-year-old who had her first child last year hopes to improve her previous best 17th place finish in the Pro Beach Series.
The team of Jenny Kropp (Hawthorne, Calif.) and Whitney Pavlik (Laguna Hills, Calif.) will also look to finish well in Fort Lauderdale after winning last year’s Manhattan Beach Open.
Kropp started playing on the beach in 2007 after playing indoor volleyball at the University of Nebraska and then in Puerto Rico for two years. Pavlik was named AVP Rookie of the Year when she emerged on the sandy scene in 2008 and has only improved.
The Florida Open will take place next to the Sheraton Hotel Fort Lauderdale. The address is 1140 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316. Admission is free to the public.
Each tournament will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network.
For more information about the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series visit the web site at http://www.josecuervoprobeachvolleyballseries.com/.