LONG BEACH, Calif. (July 25, 2013) – U.S. beach volleyball teams are used to playing each other in domestic tournaments, but they know the stakes are different when they have to play each other in an international tourney like the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam.
“We always seem to line up in these elimination-round matches and it’s always tough to play your own country,” said Lauren Fendrick (Carlsbad, Calif.), who teamed with Brittany Hochevar (Fowler, Colo.) to defeat fellow Americans Jennifer Fopma (Bellflower, Calif.) and Brooke Sweat (Fort Myers, Fla.), 21-18, 22-20 in the second round on Thursday.
“We hate to see our fellow countrymen in those medal rounds,” Hochevar agreed. “We do want to flood the medal stand. We want to have as many American teams on the medal stand as possible.
“But it is what it is. That’s competition and that’s the way the draw goes.”
Fopma and Sweat finished the tournament tied for ninth. Fendrick and Hochevar later lost in the third round. With Summer Ross (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Emily Day (Torrance, Calif.) as the last U.S. women’s team in the tournament, there will be no more USA versus USA women’s matches in Long Beach.
On the men’s side, Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and partner Ryan Doherty (Toms River, N.J.) found themselves playing their compatriots Casey Jennings (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Stafford Slick (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) in the first round of single elimination on Thursday.
Rogers and Doherty took a hard-fought 21-13, 19-21, 15-12 over Jennings and Slick, who finished 17th in only their second FIVB tournament as a team.
“We don’t want to get matched up with those guys,” Doherty said.
“We have nothing but respect for Casey and Stafford, who is another young big guy on the tour who I don’t want to see get any better,” he added with a laugh.
Three U.S. men’s teams have advanced to the second round in Long Beach – along with Rogers and Doherty, Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Casey Patterson (Van Nuys, Calif.) advanced as did Phil Dalhausser (Ventura, Calif.) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) – meaning there could be more USA versus USA matches to come.