MBO Winners Overcome Pier Pressure

Aug. 17, 2014, 11 p.m. (ET)

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (Aug. 17, 2014) – April Ross won her first Manhattan Beach Open title while Kerri Walsh Jennings took her seventh on Sunday on the fourth stop of the 2014 AVP Tour.

Top-seeded Walsh Jennings (Saratoga, Calif.) and Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) defeated No. 2 Lauren Fendrick (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Brooke Sweat (Fort Myers, Fla.), 19-21, 21-13, 9-0 in the women’s final. Sweat had to stop playing in the third set due to back spasms that may keep her out of this week’s FIVB Grand Slam event in Stare Jablonki, Poland.

“I never let myself believe it was actually going to happen because I wanted it so badly,” Ross said of the victory that means her name will go on a plaque on the Manhattan Beach Pier. “It was kind of weird how it happened (with Sweat’s injury), but I think we played really well this whole tournament. I’m humbled by the fact that I’m up there with Kerri and that I am going to be on the pier until the world ends.”

Walsh Jennings’ seventh Manhattan Beach win, and her second in a row, makes her the winningest woman at the MBO.

“This whole week started on an emotional note because Casey (Jennings, Walsh’s husband) and I got our plaques together at the same time,” Walsh Jennings said. “This is really meaningful because it’s a huge win with April.”

Fendrick was disappointed that her team could not continue, but took positive feelings away from the match.

“It goes to show that if we are healthy we can definitely compete with that team,” she said. “I feel bad for Brooke. She is a fighter.”

On the men’s side, No. 6 Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) defeated No. 5 Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Theo Brunner (Ridgefield, Conn.), 21-17, 21-13.

It was Dalhausser’s fourth Manhattan Beach victory and Rosenthal’s second. Dalhausser said the victory wasn’t as easy as it looked.

“I’m kind of banged up so I’m a little limited,” Dalhausser said. “I just figured out a way to side out, chipping and chiseling around. I can’t really hit my angles that I’m used to.

“I have an abdominal strain. It’s the reason I took Salt Lake off.”

Rosenthal saw the win as a statement to other teams that he and Dalhausser can win even when they are not 100 percent.

“If we can win when Phil’s not 100 percent, it’s helping our confidence that much more knowing we can win,” he said.

Top U.S. beach teams will play at the FIVB Grand Slam in Stare Jablonki, Poland next week.