Second-seeded David McKienzie and Jeff Samuels won their way through Thursday to the main draw of AVP San Francisco on McKienzie’s 39th birthday.
McKienzie, who turned 39, is competing in his first AVP event of 2018. Last year his best finish was ninth in San Francisco with Curt Toppel. Samuels has to be relieved to make it into the main draw after missing in Austin, New York, and Seattle, despite being one of the qualifier top seeds.
McKienzie and Samuels, the second-seeded qualifiers, needed three sets in all of their matches, defeating No. 31 Nick Manov and Aaron Wexler (21-14, 18-21, 15-7), No. 18 Phil Burrow and Garrett Peterson (12-18, 18-21, 15-9), and No. 23 Kevin McColloch and Matt Motter (20-22, 21-12, 15-9).
No. 33 Andy Benesh and Cole Fiers made an unlikely run through the qualifying field. Benesch, a former All-American middle blocker for USC, made it to the main draw in only his second tournament. It also marks Fier’s first main draw. Fiers, a southpaw Stanford alum in his 11th event, played chiefly with Hagen Smith in 2017, with their best finish a ninth at NVL Long Beach.
Benesh and Fiers began their San Francisco campaign with a huge upset of top-seeded Kyle Friend and Myles Muagututia (24-22, 21-17), a three-set win over Jordan Drake and Charles VanRees, (21-10, 12-21, 15-12), and finally a defeat of No. 24 T.K. Kohler and Tony Pray (21-13, 21-13).
Fiers’ old partner Smith also made the main draw with Lucas Yoder. The tournament is Smith and Yoder’s first main draw after they have been knocking on the door with a 17th in Austin and two 21st-place finishes in New York and San Francisco. The pair has a notable family background as Smith is the son of volleyball superstar Sinjin Smith and Yoder’s father Dave Yoder was an outsider hitter at USC.
Smith and Yoder, seeded 13th, defeated Aidan Brown and Nathan Yang (21-19, 21-18), No. 4 Troy Field and Adam Roberts (22-20, 21-10), and finally No. 5 Duncan Budinger and Daniel Dalanhese (22-24, 21-17, 15-13) to advance to Friday’s main draw.
Third-seeded Branden Clemens and Ben Vaught reunited to reach the main draw after separating in New York and Seattle. The pair had four 13ths and four 17ths in 2017. They finished 21st in Austin, their only event together in 2018.
Clemens and Vaught recaptured their 2017 form with wins over No. 30 Art Barron and David Lee (21-19, 22-20), No. 19 Brandon Joyner and Travis Schoonover (30-28, 21-12), and No. 6 Spencer Sauter and David Vander Meer (21-18, 21-19).
On the women’s side, No. 10 Kim Hildreth and Sarah Schermerhorn, No. 5 Mackenzie Ponnet and Kimberly Smith, No. 6 Agnieszka Pregowska and Corinne Quiggle, and No. 8 Cassie House and Molly Turner made the main draw.
The main draw is the first AVP main draw for both Hildreth and Schermerhorn. Hildreth competed extensively previously on the NVL tour, where Hildreth won the NVL Long Beach title, while 2018 is Schermerhorn’s first year of full-time domestic competition. Previously the pair finished 21st in both Austin and New York, 29th in Seattle.
Hildreth and Schermerhorn beat No. 23 Andrea Nucete-Elliott and Rebecca Perry (21-18, 21-15), No. 7 Summer Nash and Priscilla Piantadosi-Lima (21-17, 22-20), and No. 2 Terese Cannon and Jace Pardon (19-21, 21-17, 16-14).
Ponnet and Smith made their first main draw of 2018, following 17ths in New York and Seattle, and a 21st in Austin. The duo has also been competing on the Norceca tour, with gold in Aguascalientes, Mexico, silver in La Paz, Mexico, and fourth in Varadero, Cuba.
Thursday they defeated No. 37 Michelle Boydstun and Jessica Troxell (21-12, 21-13), No. 12 Heather Friesen and Kristen Petrasic (21-16, 21-16), and No. 13 Sara Putt and Megan Rice (21-14, 18-21, 15-12).
Pregowska and Quiggle find themselves in their first main draw of 2018 during their first outing together. Pregowska has been competing for Poland, finishing 33rd in FIVB Huntington with Aleksandra Wachowicz. Pepperdine alum Quiggle has competed with a pair of USC alums Cannon and Allie Wheeler, finishing just out of the money in 17th in Austin, New York, and Seattle before advancing in San Francisco.
Pregowska and Quiggles earned three impressive wins Thursday over No. 38 Mariana Molina and Nerissa Quinn (21-14, 21-9), No. 22 Brittnay Estes and Alexa Micek (21-8, 21-5), and No. 3 Bre Moreland and Brittany Tiegs (21-14, 21-14).
House and Turner have now qualified for their second event in a row following their 13th place finish in Seattle. The pair have partnered together in all four events of the 2018 tour, with a 21st in New York and a 45th in Austin to go with their Seattle main-draw performance.
They advanced after defeating No. 25 Lacey Fuller and Hayley Spelman (19-21, 21-14, 15-5), No. 9 Christina Glenn and Katie Lindelow (22-20, 21-18), and an impressive upset win over top-seeded Nicolette Martin and Wheeler (21-14, 21-13), who finished fifth in Seattle.
Friday’s main draw matches begin at 9:00 a.m. Pacific at Pier 30/32 with No. 11 Marty Lorenz and Raffe Paulis against No. 6 Ed Ratledge and Roberto “Rafu” Rodriguez. The first round schedule is shown below.
The women’s draw begins with top-seeded Emily Day and Betsi Flint vs. No. 16 Kim Hildreth and Sarah Schermerhorn and No. 8 Brittany Howard and Kelly Reeves vs. No. 9 Aurora Davis and Bre Scarbrough.
Matches can be viewed live on Amazon Prime video, with the finals to be broadcast on NBC Sports Network on Tuesday, July 10, from 3:00-4:30 p.m. PT.
Men’s qualifier bracket Round 1
Andy Benesh/Cole Fiers (Q33) def. Charles Porter/Clark Porter (Q32) 21-18, 21-15 (0:35)
Tom Kohler/Tony Pray (Q24) def. Victor Chen/Braxton Dunstone (Q41) 24-22, 21-15 (0:49)
Christian Honer/Ryan Meehan (Q25) def. Timothy Blanc/Jeffrey Martinez (Q40) 21-15, 21-17 (0:36)
Ty Coutts/Robert deAurora (Q28) def. John Eddins/Torin Jeffreys (Q37) 21-15, 24-22 (0:35)
Peter Connole/Bradley Connors (Q21) def. Leor Schiffer/Kasimir Tan (Q44) 21-16, 22-20 (0:49)
Roman Onishchenko/Garrett Wilson (Q29) def. Danko Iordanov/Justin Johnson (Q36) 21-17, 21-13 (0:38)
Art Barron/David Lee (Q30) def. William Jones/Shawn Ledig (Q35) 21-11, 21-13 (0:41)
Peter Edwards/Lev Girshfeld (Q43) def. Michael Groselle/David Smith (Q22) 13-21, 21-18, 15-13 (0:54)
David McBride/Ben Price (Q27) def. Christopher Chown/David Updegrove (Q38) 17-21, 21-13, 15-7 (0:58)
Kacey Losik/Lev Priima (Q26) def. Chris McDonald/Ryan Stafford (Q39) 21-13, 21-18 (0:33)
Kevin McColloch/Matt Motter (Q23) def. Anthony Nguyen/Tristan Vassberg (Q42) 21-9, 21-16 (0:30)
Nick Manov/Aaron Wexler (Q31) def. Chris Dedo/Evan Murray (Q34) 22-24, 21-14, 16-14 (1:10) Round 2
Andy Benesh/Cole Fiers (Q33) def. Kyle Friend/Myles Muagututia (Q1) 24-22, 21-17 (0:39)
Jordan Drake/Charles VanRees (Q16) def. Kibbee Jelks/Steve Van Zwieten (Q17) 21-18, 21-10 (0:37)
Tom Kohler/Tony Pray (Q24) def. Michael Boag/Skylar del Sol (Q9) 22-20, 21-16 (0:42)
Christian Honer/Ryan Meehan (Q25) def. Bruno Amorim/Chris Luers (Q8) 21-15, 21-17 (0:41)
Duncan Budinger/Daniel Dalanhese (Q5) def. Ty Coutts/Robert deAurora (Q28) 21-11, 21-17 (0:38)
Andrew Dentler/Shane Donohue (Q12) def. Peter Connole/Bradley Connors (Q21) 21-19, 20-22, 15-13 (1:10)
Hagen Smith/Lucas Yoder (Q13) def. Aidan Brown/Nathan Yang (Q20) 21-19, 21-18 (0:49)
Troy Field/Adam Roberts (Q4) def. Roman Onishchenko/Garrett Wilson (Q29) 25-23, 21-14 (0:34)
Branden Clemens/Ben Vaught (Q3) def. Art Barron/David Lee (Q30) 21-19, 22-20 (0:46)
Brandon Joyner/Travis Schoonover (Q19) def. Ric Cervantes/Jake Rosener (Q14) 21-19, 16-21, 16-14 (1:05)
Travis Mewhirter/Gabriel Ospina (Q11) def. Peter Edwards/Lev Girshfeld (Q43) 21-17, 15-21, 16-14 (1:02)
Spencer Sauter/David Vander Meer (Q6) def. David McBride/Ben Price (Q27) 21-11, 21-13 (0:28)
Kacey Losik/Lev Priima (Q26) def. Brett Ryan/Garrett Wessberg (Q7) 21-13, 19-21, 15-8 (0:58)
Kevin McColloch/Matt Motter (Q23) def. Eric Beranek/Paul Lotman (Q10) 21-17, 21-23, 15-6 (1:04)
Philip Burrow/Garrett Peterson (Q18) def. Francisco Quesada-Paneque/Troy Schlicker (Q15) 25-23, 21-17 (0:43)
Dave McKienzie/Jeff Samuels (Q2) def. Nick Manov/Aaron Wexler (Q31) 21-14, 18-21, 15-7 (1:06) Round 3
Andy Benesh/Cole Fiers (Q33) def. Jordan Drake/Charles VanRees (Q16) 21-10, 12-21, 15-12 (0:47)
Tom Kohler/Tony Pray (Q24) def. Christian Honer/Ryan Meehan (Q25) 14-21, 25-23, 15-10 (1:23)
Duncan Budinger/Daniel Dalanhese (Q5) def. Andrew Dentler/Shane Donohue (Q12) 21-12, 21-14 (0:39)
Hagen Smith/Lucas Yoder (Q13) def. Troy Field/Adam Roberts (Q4) 22-20, 21-10 (0:43)
Branden Clemens/Ben Vaught (Q3) def. Brandon Joyner/Travis Schoonover (Q19) 30-28, 21-12 (0:46)
Spencer Sauter/David Vander Meer (Q6) def. Travis Mewhirter/Gabriel Ospina (Q11) 21-18, 21-19 (0:38)
Kevin McColloch/Matt Motter (Q23) def. Kacey Losik/Lev Priima (Q26) 20-22, 21-19, 15-12 (0:53)
Dave McKienzie/Jeff Samuels (Q2) def. Philip Burrow/Garrett Peterson (Q18) 21-18, 18-21, 15-9 (1:05) Round 4
Andy Benesh/Cole Fiers (Q33) def. Tom Kohler/Tony Pray (Q24) 21-13, 21-13 (0:33)
Hagen Smith/Lucas Yoder (Q13) def. Duncan Budinger/Daniel Dalanhese (Q5) 22-24, 21-17, 15-13 (0:59)
Branden Clemens/Ben Vaught (Q3) def. Spencer Sauter/David Vander Meer (Q6) 21-16, 18-21, 17-15 (1:05)
Dave McKienzie/Jeff Samuels (Q2) def. Kevin McColloch/Matt Motter (Q23) 20-22, 21-12, 15-9(0:51)
Match 1: Billy Allen/Ryan Doherty (1) vs. Andy Benesh/Cole Fiers (16, Q33)
Match 2: Avery Drost/Chase Frishman (9) vs. Piotr Marciniak/Eric Zaun (8)
Match 3: Chase Budinger/Sean Rosenthal (5) vs. Mark Burik/Ian Satterfield (12)
Match 4: Dave McKienzie/Jeff Samuels (13, Q2) vs. Casey Patterson/Stafford Slick (4)
Match 5: Trevor Crabb/John Mayer (3) vs. Branden Clemens/Ben Vaught (14, Q3)
Match 6: Marty Lorenz/Raffe Paulis (11) vs. Ed Ratledge/Roberto Rodriguez (6)
Match 7: Tim Bomgren/Chaim Schalk (7) vs. Maddison McKibbin/Riley McKibbin (10)
Match 8: Hagen Smith/Lucas Yoder (15, Q13) vs. Jeremy Casebeer/Reid Priddy (2)
(ALL TIMES EASTERN)
June 17-28, AAU Girls Junior Nationals, Orlando, BallerTV.com
VOLLEYBALL NATIONS LEAGUE
At Ekaterinburg, Russia
June 18, USA vs. Russia, 10 a.m., FloVolleyball.tv
At Ningbo, China