U.S. Beach Teams Earn Shanghai Berths

By BJ Evans | March 26, 2014, 9 p.m. (ET)
FIVB Beach Volleyball Playoff
  Tri Bourne goes for the kill against Stafford Slick.

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (March 26, 2014) – The USA Volleyball beach teams of Lane Carico and Brittany Hochevar and also Tri Bourne and John Hyden earned slots to the FIVB Grand Slam in the FIVB Shanghai Jinshan Grand Slam on April 29-May 4 in China.

The two teams each won a four-team playoff for the slots on a windy Wednesday at the Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica.

In the men’s final, Hyden (Pensacola, Fla.) and Bourne (Aiea, Hawaii), seeded fourth, defeated No. 2 Will Montgomery (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Stafford Slick (Andover, Minn.), 21-19, 21-13. In the women’s final, No. 2 seeded Hochevar (Fowler, Colo.) and Lane Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) beat No. 1 Jennifer Fopma (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Whitney Pavlik (Laguna Beach, Calif.), 21-16, 21-17.

The same two teams also won USAV’s NORCECA qualification tournament on March 20 in Santa Monica.

Entry into FIVB Grand Slam events is based on points accumulated by both members of a beach volleyball team. The top three U.S. teams in terms of points are entered automatically. The FIVB country quota playoff and NORCECA qualifiers are a way for next-tier teams to work their way onto the FIVB World Tour.

“I think our goal is to compete in these playoffs and qualifiers and win them so we can get on the FIVB tour and by the end of the year, be one of those top teams that doesn’t have to qualify anymore,”Hyden said. “We have a long way to go.”

“We at least have an idea of how the season is going to start,” Hochevar said of her team with Carico. “We’ll take it one tournament at a time from there.”

In their first-round matches on Wednesday, Hydena and Bourne defeated top-seeded Todd Rogers and Theo Brunner, 21-17, 21-17. Hochevar and Carico beat No. 3 Christal Engle and Heather Hughes, 21-16, 21-14.

All the teams competing had to contend with high winds throughout the day.

“The wind was our third teammate today,” Hochevar said. “I think we did a good job of staying patient and staying in the present because momentum can shift so quickly and so violently in wind like this.”

“(The wind) was very difficult,” Hyden said. “The teams that have better ball control and don’t make as many errors are going to come out and win.”

Men’s Bracket
No. 4 John Hyden and Tri Bourne def. No. 1 Todd Rogers and Theo Brunner, 21-17, 21-17
No. 2 Will Montgomery and Stafford Slick def. No. 3 John Mayer and Brad Keenan, 23-21, 21-12
Men’s Final
Hyden and Bourne def. Montgomery and Slick, 21-19, 21-13

Women’s Bracket
No. 1 Jennifer Fopma and Whitney Pavlik def. No. 4 Sarah Day and Allison Daley, 18-21, 21-16, 15-9
No. 2 Brittany Hochevar and Lane Carico vs. No. 3 Heather Hughes and Christal Engle, 21-16, 21-14
Women’s Final
Hochevar and Carico def. Fopma and Pavlik, 21-16, 21-17