As beach volleyball continues its ascension back to prominence in the United States after the painful collapse of the central domestic tour, the Jose Cuervo Beach Volleyball Series is proving to be a major catalyst in bringing back both the fans and the sport’s top athletes. This recent resurgence was on full display during the series’ fourth stop in Hermosa Beach, Calif., one of the game’s premier locations. An estimated 50,000 plus fans took in the action during the three-day affair at the end of July.
The sport’s return to form was only one of the major storylines of a weekend packed with world-class volleyball. The top seeds proved they deserved their ranking, as both went on to claim their piece of the $100,000 prize purse.
On the women’s side Whitney Pavlik and Jenny Kropp won their fourth straight Cuervo event. For the men Sean Scott and John Hyden, who captured ten titles during the 2011 domestic tour season, bounced back from a disappointing 5th in Chicago to claim the crown in Hermosa.
Scott and Hyden were dealt a handful in the finals with a matchup against Brad Keenan and John Mayer, who pushed the champs to three games. Scott and Hyden hung on to claim victory at 22-20, 21-23, 15-9. Hyden made it clear the pair was not happy with their last tournament and were gunning for the top spot on the podium.
“I felt we had something to prove,” Hyden said. “Even though Sean was hurt, I still feel we should win all the time.
The women’s final saw Kropp and Pavlik also facing a serious test by Brooke Sweat and Jennifer Fopma who also fought hard and stretched the finals to three games. Kropp and Pavlik proved too strong in the end, taking home the title at 21-15, 20-22, 17-15. After an emotional victory Pavlik said she was thankful for the packed house the duo played to during the final match.
“The crowd was just spectacular all weekend,” Pavlik said. “Our energy was high because their energy was up and we feed off of that. It was an exhilarating final to say the least.”
Originally published in September/October 2012