COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 25, 2013) – Five months after leaving beach volleyball to become an assistant coach for the U.S. Men’s National Team indoors, Matt Fuerbringer returned to the sand and recaptured some magic with former partner Casey Jennings, as the pair won their first Manhattan Beach Open title on Sunday.
| From left, 2013 Manhattan Beach Open winners Whitney Pavlik,
Matt Fuerbringer, Casey Jennings and Kerri Walsh Jennings with
Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Jennings (Las Vegas, Nev.), seeded fifth in the tournament, upset top seeds Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) in the men’s final, 21-18, 21-23, 15-12 in an epic 1 hour, 26 minute battle that brought a fitting end to this year’s Manhattan Beach Open, part of the 2013 AVP Tour.
"As The Hov (volleyball legend and five-time Manhattan Beach champ Tim Hovland) would say, ‘You just need one Manhattan Beach – that’s all that matters,’” Fuerbringer said. “It's a real accomplishment knowing that this is the last tournament for me ever and we were able to get out there and just play against the best team in the world, and at the grand slam, the world series, the bottom of the ninth – we got it.”
Fuerbringer and Jennings last played together during the 2009 season before splitting up as Fuerbringer joined with Nick Lucena and Jennings played with Kevin Wong.
For Jennings, Sunday’s victory was a family affair as wife Kerri Walsh Jennings (Saratoga, Calif.) won her sixth MBO women’s championship, but the first with partner Whitney Pavlik (Laguna Beach, Calif.), who had won the event twice before with Jenny Kropp.
Pavlik and Walsh Jennings defeated Jennifer Fopma (Bellflower, Calif.) and Brooke Sweat (Fort Myers, Fla.) in the women’s final, 22-20, 21-17.
Lauren Fendrick (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Brittany Hochevar (Fowler, Colo.) along with Jennifer Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) finished tied for third in the women’s bracket. Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Casey Patterson (Van Nuys, Calif.) along with Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Ryan Doherty (Toms River, N.J.) tied for third among the men.
Also on Sunday, a Legends 4s tournament presented by Whole Foods featured beach volleyball greats Sinjin Smith, Tim Hovland, Eric Fonoimoana and Mike Dodd. The legends paired up with current players Patterson, Gibb, Tri Bourne (Aiea, Hawaii) and Nick Lucena (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). In true fashion, Hovland worked the crowd and fueled the fire for the friendly competition with former partner Dodd and new teammates Lucena and Bourne as they defeated Smith, Fonoimoana, Gibb and Patterson in a single set to 21.
“It was just like old times,” Dodd said. “I coach and travel with the team all over the world, but being in Manhattan Beach means being with family. The game was fun but reminiscing about old times and coming out here to win with Nick and Tri were the highlights.”
The next 2013 AVP event will be Aug. 31-Sept. 2 in Cincinnati.
Moscow Grand Slam
The U.S. women’s beach team Kelly Schumacher (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Summer Ross (Carlsbad, Calif.) saw their run at the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam come to an end on Saturday as the fell in the first round of single elimination, 21-16, 21-10 to Switzerland’s Tanja Goricanec and Tanja Hüberli.
The next FIVB Grand Slam is scheduled for Oct. 1-6 in Beijing. Kampala, Uganda is scheduled to host an FIVB Open tournament on Sept. 25-29.
NORCECA Beach Circuit
The U.S. women’s team of Leah Hinkey (Glenwood Springs, Colo.) and Emily Stockman (Colorado Springs, Colo.) competed at the NORCECA Beach Circuit event in Varadero, Cuba.
The pair finished pool play with a record of 1-1 and advanced to the quarterfinals where they fell to Canada’s Melissa Humana-Paredes and Taylor Pischke, 21-13, 21-18.
The next stop on the NORCECA Beach Circuit is scheduled for Sept. 13-15 in Mazatlan, Mexico.