COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 10, 2012) – The AVP Championship, played Sept. 7-9 in Santa Barbara, Calif., marks the beginning of a trio of important domestic beach volleyball tournaments as the 2012 domestic season winds down.
The Santa Barbara event will be followed by the National Volleyball League’s (NVL) “Best of the Beach Las Vegas Championships” on Sept. 13-15 at Bagatelle Beach and Sunset Park, and the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series National Championships on Sept. 21-23 in Huntington Beach, Calif.
Both the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Series and the NVL Series are sanctioned by USA Volleyball.
Top-seeded Jennifer Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.), the silver medalists at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, won the women’s event in Santa Barbara, and their second AVP title in a row, with a 21-19, 21-16 victory over three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh (Saratoga, Calif.) and 2008 Olympian Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.), who were seeded No. 2.
“This weekend was just the perfect showcase for beach volleyball. Santa Barbara was absolutely rockin’, and we’re just thrilled to get our first victory ever here,” Kessy said in a press release. “Fans here really understand the game and the pain, sacrifice, skill level and grit it takes to advance in a quality field like this.”
On the men’s side, 2012 Olympians Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.), seeded No. 6, won an unusual best-of-five final battle with No. 4-seeded Brad Keenan (Westminster, Calif.) and John Mayer (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), 21-16, 21-16, 21-18.
Gibb and Rosenthal bounced back Sunday after dropping their final pool play match Saturday to top-seeded John Hyden (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) and Sean Scott (Kailua, Hawaii), who had won the previous weekend’s AVP event in Cincinnati.
Gibb and Scott took down Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) in the wild card play-off match Saturday afternoon to stage a re-match with Hyden and Scott in the semifinals. Gibb and Rosenthal pulled out a three-set victory, dropping the first set 19-21 before taking the next two, 21-18, 15-13, setting up the showdown with Keenan and Mayer in the finals.
“The quality of play at this AVP event was just out of sight,” Rosenthal said in a press release. “Nobody was giving quarter, and every point was hotly contested throughout the entire weekend. This was just a monster win in front of our home crowd. The crowd was just pumping and really kept us energized throughout some brutal matches.”
For more information, visit theavpchampionships.com.
The format of the $100,000 NVL Las Vegas Best of the Beach includes the top eight men and top eight women having an automatic bye to Friday. There will be four wildcards spots and the remaining 28 spots will be based on the USAV National Ranking System and points accumulated for playing in 2012 NVL events.
For more information, visit thenvl.com.
Finally, the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Series will have a 16-team main draw playing for a $150,000 prize purse in Huntington Beach, Calif.
Ten teams will qualify automatically while four will emerge from the qualification bracket and also two wild cards.
For more information, visit josecuervoprobeachvolleyballseries.com.