Kessy, Pavlik Bag Bronze in Durban

By BJ Evans | Dec. 14, 2013, 6:34 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 14, 2013) – Jennifer Kessy and Whitney Pavlik ended the 2013 season by winning a bronze medal on Saturday at the FIVB Beach Volleyball Durban Open in South Africa.

 Jennifer Kessy, left, and Whitney Pavlik hug after their bronze medal victory
  Jennifer Kessy, left, hugs Whitney Pavlik in Durban.

With the finals of the tournament moved up due to Sunday burial of Nelson Mandela, Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and Pavlik (Long Beach, Calif.), seeded No. 3, played four matches on Saturday. In the bronze medal match, they defeated Germany’s Teresa Mersmann and Isabel Schneider, 36-34, 21-18 in 58 minutes.

Among other U.S. beach teams in Durban, the men’s team of Derek Olson (San Diego, Calif.) and Tri Bourne (Aiea, Hawaii) fell in the third round to finish tied for fifth. The women’s team of Lane Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Heather Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) lost in the second round and finished tied for ninth.

In the first set of the women’s bronze medal match, set points were going back and forth until Kessy and Pavlik won 36-34.

“We just focused on one pass at a time,” Pavlik said in an FIVB press release. “I wasn’t thinking about hitting and Jen’s talk was amazing.”

In the second set the U.S. team took control to win 21-18.

“We came out and all day our games have been real battles. You want to leave with a medal,” Pavlik said. “Playing for the bronze was awesome. It’s my first and I will take it.”

To make it into the semifinals, Kessy and Pavlik won their second-round match over China’s No. 22 Fan Wang and Yixin Zheng (21-15, 21-17; 37 minutes) and their third-round contest over Thailand’s No. 11 Varapatsorn Radarong and Tanarattha Udomchavee (13-21, 23-21, 19-17; 59 minutes).

In the semifinals, Kessy and Pavlik fell to Germany’s No. 13 Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude (21-16, 24-26, 15-12; 58 minutes).