AVP Hawai’i: All-Stars align in Hollywood-scripted qualifier

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AVP Hawaii 2019 Thursday-Gabe Ospina
Gabe Ospina hits against Andy Benesh in AVP Hawai'i qualifier action/Mpu Dinani photo

WAIKIKI, Hawai’i — Standing under the shade of a palm tree just off Waikiki Beach, Sean Rosenthal racked his brain, trying to remember the last time he had been in an AVP qualifier.

“Ed (Ratledge) texted me and said it was in 2000,” he said, shrugging. Was that right? Almost 20 years since Rosenthal was in a qualifier?

When he was 20? Well before kids, marriage, Olympics?

Had it been that much time?

It had. And, throughout the day, the jokes were never-ending.

“Welcome back to the qualifier!”

“Fun playing on a Thursday?”

“Miss this, Rosie?”

He’d just smile and laugh and shrug with them. Volleyball is volleyball. And Sean Rosenthal is still really, really good at volleyball. Good enough to win both matches in Thursday’s qualifier with a guy, Brian Cook, who hadn’t played a competitive match in more than two years, who’s still recovering from a slew of surgeries but can still swing like the Brian Cook that earned him indoor contracts all over the world.

When taking inventory of the teams who made it through alongside Rosenthal and Cook, there’s a simple theme that emerges: The spots went to the teams who were either due or needed it most. John Hyden and Theo Brunner needed another main draw just so Brunner finally maxed out his number of AVP finishes and is out of qualifiers for a bit.

They made it through.

Fans — or at least the ones barking on social media — were incensed that Rosenthal, a guy who has played in 185 AVPs since 1997 and will go down as one of the all-time American greats, was in the qualifier in the first place for this event. Cook, meanwhile, has as much untapped upside and potential as any blocker in this country, and to see him make it through, to validate all that rehab these past two years, is one of the best feel-good stories of the season.

They made it through.

As the qualifier losses stacked up, John Schwengel had long been pondering what in the world he was doing in beach volleyball. Was it worth it? What was he doing wrong? Where were those results this process of working and working and working promised him? Same went for his partner, Steve Irvin, who hasn’t had a bad loss the entire season.

Finally, they made it through.

Let’s not forget the lefty, either. The smooth and precocious and humble as ever Miles Partain, who is coming off a fifth in Chicago and still had to pick up a new partner in Lev Priima.

To everyone’s delight — honestly, good luck finding a single person who can root against Miles Partain — they made it through.

The women’s side was no different. Emily Hartong and Geena Urango, a team with all the talent and chemistry in the world who had struggled early in the partnership, battled back from a 14-11 deficit in the third set to Madison Willis and McKenna Thibodeau to win, 16-14, and then go on to beat Katie Spieler and Delaney Knudsen. They needed a main draw.

They made it through.

The women’s fan favorite team, Zana Muno and Crissy Jones, those darlings from Hermosa, made it through, another testament that, yes, hard work will pay off, as it did for Carly Wopat and Traci Callahan, who switched positions and is still pushing through growing pains.

They both made it through.

Mackenzie Ponnet and Sheila Shaw, too, deserved this. They’ve now made six main draws this season but have only been automatically in twice. They did that thing they do where they dropped the first set again – something they did three times in Hermosa Beach qualifier before making the semifinals – before going on to win their next two.

They made it through.

It was a bit of a Hollywood scripted qualifier on Thursday in Oahu, though ask any of those teams and they’ll be happy to never be a part of a qualifier again.

Rosenthal, for one, wouldn’t mind taking another 19 years off of them.

Friday’s action can be seen on Amazon Prime. For more information about the tournament: https://avp.com/event/hawaii-open/ 

WOMEN
Qualifier
Round 1
Victoria Dennis/Tani Stephens (Q16) def. Cora Kellerman/Cassandra Strickland (Q17) 21-16, 21-14 (0:45)
Macy Jerger/Jessica Sykora (Q9) def. Ariana Homayun/Michelle Iafigliola (Q24) 21-17, 21-18 (0:41)
Tiffany Creamer/Carolyn Meister (Q12) def. Shannon Ferris/Dianne Johannson (Q21) 21-7, 21-12 (0:30)
Cecilia Agraz/Sammee Thomas (Q13) def. Jade Hayes/Natalie Myszkowski (Q20) 21-14, 18-21, 15-11 (1:05)
Jade Race/Allison Spurrier (Q19) def. Heather Friesen/Alexa Micek (Q14) 14-21, 21-19, 15-12 (0:59)
McKenna Thibodeau/Madison Willis (Q11) def. Crystal Meadows/Ally Slaughter (Q22) 21-9, 21-5 (0:29)
Lauren DeTurk/Carly Kan (Q10) def. Halle Hunt/Tawnee Luafalemana (Q23) 21-11, 21-11 (0:33)
Peri Brennan/Tessa Van Winkle (Q18) def. Jessica McGuire/Violeta Slabakova (Q15) 21-15, 21-14 (0:46)
Round 2
Crissy Jones/Susannah Muno (13, Q1) def. Victoria Dennis/Tani Stephens (Q16) 21-15, 21-10 (0:37)
Macy Jerger/Jessica Sykora (Q9) def. Jessica Gaffney/Priscilla Piantadosi-Lima (Q8) 17-21, 21-13, 20-18 (1:14)
Traci Callahan/Carly Wopat (15, Q5) def. Tiffany Creamer/Carolyn Meister (Q12) 21-19, 21-14 (0:43)
Falyn Fonoimoana/Alexa Strange (Q4) def. Cecilia Agraz/Sammee Thomas (Q13) 23-21, 21-13 (0:47)
Delaney Knudsen/Katie Spieler (Q3) def. Jade Race/Allison Spurrier (Q19) 21-9, 21-9 (0:42)
Emily Hartong/Geena Urango (16, Q6) def. McKenna Thibodeau/Madison Willis (Q11) 21-16, 19-21, 16-14 (1:01)
Lauren DeTurk/Carly Kan (Q10) def. Janelle Allen/Kimberly Smith (Q7) 21-17, 21-19 (0:40)
Mackenzie Ponnet/Sheila Shaw (14, Q2) def. Peri Brennan/Tessa Van Winkle (Q18) 15-21, 21-16, 16-14 (0:58)
Round 3
Crissy Jones/Susannah Muno (13, Q1) def. Macy Jerger/Jessica Sykora (Q9) 21-19, 21-14 (0:39)
Traci Callahan/Carly Wopat (15, Q5) def. Falyn Fonoimoana/Alexa Strange (Q4) 23-21, 20-22, 15-13 (1:17)
Emily Hartong/Geena Urango (16, Q6) def. Delaney Knudsen/Katie Spieler (Q3) 21-19, 21-10 (0:40)
Mackenzie Ponnet/Sheila Shaw (14, Q2) def. Lauren DeTurk/Carly Kan (Q10) 21-14, 21-10 (0:36)
Winners bracket
Round 1
Alix Klineman/April Ross (1) vs. Emily Hartong/Geena Urango (16, Q6)
Caitlin Ledoux/Maria Clara Salgado (9) vs. Terese Cannon/Kelly Reeves (8)
Kelley Larsen/Emily Stockman (5) vs. Brittany Howard/Molly Turner (12)
Crissy Jones/Susannah Muno (13, Q1) vs. Kelly Claes/Sarah Sponcil (4)
Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan (3) vs. Mackenzie Ponnet/Sheila Shaw (14, Q2)
Amanda Dowdy/Corinne Quiggle (11) vs. Karissa Cook/Jace Pardon (6)
Sara Hughes/Allie Wheeler (7) vs. Kimberly Hildreth/Sarah Schermerhorn (10)
Traci Callahan/Carly Wopat (15, Q5) vs. Emily Day/Betsi Flint (2)
MEN
Qualifier bracket
Round 1
Bryce Mayer/Tal Shavit (Q17) def. Charles Porter/Clark Porter (Q16) 21-19, 21-14 (0:41)
Ric Cervantes/Jake Rosener (Q9) def. Scott Cronick/Samusu Semo (Q24) by Forfeit
Matt Motter/Gabriel Ospina (Q12) def. Bobby Jones/Christopher Shipps (Q21) 21-16, 21-9 (0:50)
Bobby Jacobs/Myles Muagututia (Q13) def. Dillon Cox/Andrew Ellis (Q20) 21-18, 26-24 (0:59)
Steven Irvin/John Schwengel (16, Q14) def. Chris Fleming/Nemanja Komar (Q19) 21-14, 21-10 (0:41)
Christopher Austin/Earl Schultz (Q11) def. Michael Lubliner/David McBride (Q22) 21-16, 21-15 (0:41)
Jon Ferrari/Brian Miller (Q10) def. Joe Keller/John Sutton (Q23) 21-8, 21-11 (0:34)
Pete DiVenere/Marty Lorenz (Q15) def. Cole Fiers/Christopher Shaffer (Q18) 22-20, 21-15 (0:41)
Round 2
Theo Brunner/John Hyden (12, Q1) def. Bryce Mayer/Tal Shavit (Q17) 21-11, 21-11 (0:35)
Raffe Paulis/Ian Satterfield (Q8) def. Ric Cervantes/Jake Rosener (Q9) 21-17, 21-19 (0:48)
Andy Benesh/Adam Roberts (Q5) def. Matt Motter/Gabriel Ospina (Q12) 21-16, 26-24 (0:52)
Miles Partain/Lev Priima (15, Q4) def. Bobby Jacobs/Myles Muagututia (Q13) 14-21, 21-18, 17-15 (1:09)
Steven Irvin/John Schwengel (16, Q14) def. Kyle Friend/Paul Lotman (Q3) 21-14, 21-15 (0:44)
 22: Ben Vaught/Logan Webber (Q6) def. Christopher Austin/Earl Schultz (Q11) 12-21, 21-18, 15-11 (0:58)
Mark Burik/Travis Mewhirter (Q7) def. Jon Ferrari/Brian Miller (Q10) 21-19, 21-17 (0:45)
Brian Cook/Sean Rosenthal (13, Q2) def. Pete DiVenere/Marty Lorenz (Q15) 21-13, 21-15 (0:39)
Round 3
Theo Brunner/John Hyden (12, Q1) def. Raffe Paulis/Ian Satterfield (Q8) 21-19, 21-13 (0:44)
Miles Partain/Lev Priima (15, Q4) def. Andy Benesh/Adam Roberts (Q5) 21-18, 21-15 (0:42)
Steven Irvin/John Schwengel (16, Q14) def. Ben Vaught/Logan Webber (Q6) 21-16, 21-18 (0:41)
Brian Cook/Sean Rosenthal (13, Q2) def. Mark Burik/Travis Mewhirter (Q7) 21-17, 21-19 (0:44)
Winner’s Bracket
Round 1

1: Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena (1) vs. Steven Irvin/John Schwengel (16, Q14)
Billy Allen/Stafford Slick (9) vs. Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb (8)
Tim Bomgren/Troy Field (5) vs. Theo Brunner/John Hyden (12, Q1)
Brian Cook/Sean Rosenthal (13, Q2) vs. Jeremy Casebeer/Chaim Schalk (4)
Chase Budinger/Casey Patterson (3) vs. Eric Beranek/Billy Kolinske (14)
Maddison McKibbin/Riley McKibbin (11) vs. Reid Priddy/Ricardo Santos (6)
Ryan Doherty/Miles Evans (7) vs. Avery Drost/Chase Frishman (10)
Miles Partain/Lev Priima (15, Q4) vs. Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb (2)

Scores and schedule provided by BVBinfo.com.

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