USAV to Host Beach Grand Slam Playoff

By BJ Evans | March 24, 2014, 2:14 p.m. (ET)

USA Volleyball will be tweeting updates from this event on Wednesday (March 26) with the hashtag #USAVBeach

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (March 24, 2014) – USA Volleyball will hold its first ever playoffs for an FIVB World Tour Grand Slam beach event on March 26 at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica, Calif.

Four U.S. women’s and four men’s beach volleyball teams will compete in winners-take-all tournaments to compete for slots (one men’s and one women’s) as the United States’ fourth team in the FIVB Shanghai Jinshan Grand Slam on April 29-May 4 in China.

Entry into FIVB Grand Slam events is based on points accumulated by both members of the team. The top three U.S. teams in terms of points are entered automatically. The fourth team will be determined by the playoff, which is free and open to the public.

The women’s teams of Jennifer Fopma and Whitney Pavlik, Brittany Hochevar and Lane Carico, Heather Hughes and Christal Engle along with Sarah Day and Allison Daley will compete. On the men’s side, Todd Rogers and Theo Brunner, Will Montgomery and Stafford Slick, John Mayer and Brad Keenan along with John Hyden and Tri Bourne will play.

“We looked at doing this thing every which way,” said Sean Scott, technical manager for the USAV Beach National Teams. “We’ve exhausted every idea. We look at this as the best way to create opportunities for players. It’s up to the players to take that opportunity.”

Men’s first-round matches will begin at 10 a.m. followed by women’s at 11 a.m. The men’s final will begin at noon followed by the women’s at 1 p.m.

In the men’s first round No. 1 Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Brunner (Ridgefield, Conn.) will play No. 4 Hyden (Pensacola, Fla.) and Bourne (Aiea, Hawaii). No. 2 Montgomery (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Slick (Andover, Minn.) will take on No. 3 Mayer (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and Keenan (Westminster, Calif.). In the women’s first round, No. 1 Fopma (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Pavlik (Laguna Beach, Calif.) will play No. 4 Day (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Daley (Grass Valley, Calif.). No. 2 Hochevar (Fowler, Colo.) and Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) will take on No. 3 Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) and Engle (Puyallup, Wash.).

Automatic Grand Slam qualifiers for the women are April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings, Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat along with Emily Day and Summer Ross. On the men’s side, Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson, Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal along with Ryan Doherty and Nick Lucena are automatically entered.

The playoffs used to take place at the Grand Slam events themselves. In so-called “Country Quota” matches, teams from the same country would square off for the fourth slot in the tournament. However the FIVB eliminated Country Quota playoffs in 2013.

Due to logistics, USAV cannot hold playoffs for the FIVB Grand Slams following Shanghai. At that point, the U.S. team that is fourth in points will be entered. Teams can gain points at FIVB Open and NORCECA Circuit tournaments.

USAV also should get two wild card entries for the FIVB Grand Slam on July 22-27 in Long Beach, Calif., which will give five U.S. teams per gender a chance to gain points.

Men’s Bracket
10 a.m.: No. 1 Todd Rogers and Theo Brunner vs. No. 4 John Hyden and Tri Bourne
10 a.m.: No. 2 Will Montgomery and Stafford Slick vs. No. 3 John Mayer and Brad Keenan
Noon: Men’s final

Women’s Bracket
11 a.m.: No. 1 Jennifer Fopma and Whitney Pavlik vs. No. 4 Sarah Day and Allison Daley
11 a.m.: No. 2 Brittany Hochevar and Lane Carico vs. No. 3 Heather Hughes and Christal Engle
1 p.m.: Women’s final