Two U.S. Beach Teams Undefeated in Durban

By Darci Miller | Dec. 12, 2013, 1:39 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 12, 2013) – The U.S. beach volleyball teams ran hot and cold on the first day of main draw competition at the FIVB Durban Open on Thursday with two women’s duos going undefeated.

Whitney Pavlik (Long Beach, Calif.) and Jen Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.), seeded No. 3 overall, went 2-0 in Pool C. In their first match they handily defeated Venezuela’s No. 30 Milagros Hernandez and Yetzi Rosalia Lezama Garcia, 21-11, 21-15, despite being a brand new partnership.

“This was our first match as a team, we have had about a week of practice,” Kessy said afterwards in an FIVB press release. “So we are happy with the win of course and I think we played really well together. In the beginning of the game we hit about five out, but we were digging balls, so we knew we could play well. We just needed to put some third contacts away and we started to do that and started to pull away.”

 Whitney Pavlik at the Durban Open
Whitney Pavlik receives a serve.

Pavlik and Kessy then took down Russia’s No. 19 Anna Gorbunova and Nadezda Makroguzova, 21-14, 21-16. They will face the 14th-seeded duo of Lena Plesiutschnig and Katharina Schutzenhofer of Austria (2-0) in their final pool play match on Friday, Dec. 13.

The team of Lane Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Heather Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) also went undefeated in its two matches in Pool G. Seeded No. 10, they first bested Germany’s No. 23 Kim Behrens and Sandra Seyfferth, 21-13, 21-13, before defeating No. 26 Michaela Vorlova and Hana Tresnakova of the Czech Republic, 21-18, 21-11. Carico and Hughes round out pool play with a match against No. 7 Teresa Mersmann and Isabel Schneider of Germany (2-0) on Friday.

In Pool F, Sarah Day (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Kim McGiven (San Diego, Calif.) battled hard but lost their first two matches. Seeded No. 27, they fell to Russia’s No. 6 Alexandra Shiryaeva and Ekaterina Syrtseva, 21-15, 16-21, 15-11, before losing a heartbreaker to 11th-seeded Varapatsorn Radarong and Tanarattha Udomchavee of Thailand, 24-22, 21-19. They finish pool play against China’s Fan Wang and Yixin Zheng (1-1), seeded No. 22, on Friday.

The men’s duo of Nick Olson (San Diego, Calif.) and Tri Bourne (Aiea, Hawaii) had a similarly tough time, going 0-2 in Pool D. Seeded No. 29, Olson and Bourne lost their first match against No. 4 Alison Cerutti and Vitor Goncalves Felipe of Brazil, 21-12, 21-15. They came out fighting in their second match, giving the No. 13 Italian duo of Matteo and Paolo Ingrosso a run for their money but ultimately falling 21-19, 23-21. On Friday, Olson and Bourne finish up pool play against No. 20 Alexey Pastukhov and Grigoriy Goncharov of Russia (0-2).

Pool play concludes on Friday and will be followed by the first two rounds of single elimination matches. The quarterfinals, semifinals and finals will all take place on Saturday, Dec. 14.