Of the 12 teams remaining in Sunday’s AVP Pro Series Huntington Beach, Molly Turner and Maddie Anderson stick out like, well, a sore seed.
Consider that on the men’s side, the Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 seeds are left.
On the women’s, there are the Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and Turner and Anderson, who are seeded 16th.
They’ve earned it. They won three times in Thursday’s qualifier to get into Friday’s main draw.
But Friday, they were quickly dispatched in two by top-seeded Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes.
Turner, the 5-foot-8, 26-year-old who was cut from her high school indoors team and turned to beach, played at Grand Canyon. The 6-foot-1 Anderson, only 21, just finished her redshirt-junior season playing on court 1 at Florida State. They had their work cut out for them.
First it’s worth noting this from March 21, when Travis Mewhirter wrote our piece about the players to watch this AVP season. Here’s what he said about Maddie Anderson:
If I had to put all my chips in one basket this season, I’d be backing up the truck and betting every last penny on Maddie Anderson. In three years — including the COVID-shortened 2020 season — she’s 85-21 at Florida State. In three professional events last summer with Molly Turner, she won a gold in a Futures out of the qualifier, qualified for the Dubai Challenge, then won silver in the subsequent Challenge in Dubai. When she graduates from Florida State, she’ll pick up again with Turner, which will be my dark horse team to win an AVP this season.
Which brings us to Saturday, when Turner and Anderson began their charge.
They went three to oust Corinne Quiggle and Sarah Schermerhorn, knocked out sixth-seeded Hailey Harward and Kelley Kolinske 22-20, 23-21, and then bounced 10th-seeded Deahna Kraft and Zana Muno 22-20, 21-16.
“Despite getting (nearly) every serve I’ve never felt so calm,” Turner said. “Playing next to Maddie just feels right. Everything just flows.
“And although we are the underdogs, I think we’re proving that we won’t be for long.”
The first step comes Sunday morning when they play fourth-seeded Betsi Flint and Julia Scoles for a spot in the semifinals. In the other quarterfinal match, third-seeded Canadian Olympians Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson plays fifth-seeded Terese Cannon and Olympian Sarah Sponcil.
Waiting in the semifinals are top-seeded Kelly Cheng and and second-seeded Taryn Koth and Kristen Nuss. Neither pair lost a set Saturday.
Cheng and Hughes made short work of Megan Kraft and Emily Stockman and then routed Flint and Scoles. TKN overpowered Kraft and Muno and then took a 21-18, 21-14 win over Humana-Paredes and Wilkerson, the pair that bounced them from AVP New Orleans, the most recent event on the tour. Cheng and Hughes beat the Canadians in the N.O. final
While top-seeded Olympians Tri Bourne and Chaim Schalk — who won in New Orleans — and second-seeded Theo Brunner and Trevor Crabb await in the men’s semifinals, the matches to see who they get should be outstanding.
Third-seeded Taylor Crabb and Taylor Sander play fourth-seeded Chase Budinger and Miles Evans and fifth-seeded Miles Partain and Andy Benesh play seventh-seeded Phil Dalhausser and Avery Drost, who is chasing his first first AVP title. Dalhausser has but 62.
The legendary Dalhausser and Drost lost to Brunner and Crabb, but stayed alive with a 21-15, 20-22, 15-12 victory over 12th-seeded Seain Cook and Jake Dietrich and then closed Saturday’s action with a 22-20, 19-21, 15-8 win over sixth-seeded Billy Allen and Troy Field.
Bourne and Schalk survived a 21-17, 19-21, 18-16 win over ninth-seeded Tim Bomgren and Paul Lotman before beating Benesh and Partain 18-21, 21-17, 15-9. Brunner and Crabb got into the semis with a 21-14, 24-22 over Team Taylor.
The matches can be seen on ESPN+, which is showing the stadium court, and the Bally Live app, which has the other two courts. Action begins at 9 a.m. Pacific with the men’s quarterfinals. The women’s matches start at 10:05 Pacific.
Click here for the results, schedule and more: https://avp.com/brackets/