Manhattan Beach Main Draw Welcomes 16 Qualifier Teams

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Chuck Dunn

Sixteen teams advanced out of the AVP Manhattan Beach Open qualifier to join the main draw competition this morning. Historically the most popular of all AVP events, the Manhattan Beach Open main draw is twice the size of the rest of this year’s AVP competitions, welcoming 32 teams per gender, including seven teams per gender that entered the draw after winning their AVPNext regions.

In the women’s qualifier, No. 1 seeds Lynn Galli and Lisa Rutledge led the pack winning both their matches in straight sets to advance. They defeated Emily Cook and Kellie Woolever, two recent graduates of the Pepperdine beach volleyball program, in the qualifier final round.

No. 8 seeds Laura Ratto and Tanya White beat Leah DeKok and Michelle Sobocinski in their second match of the day to qualify. They will face Kendra Van Zwieten and Kim DiCello in the first round of the main draw.

Briana Hinga and Kathrin Winkler, who qualified together at the AVP Seattle Open as well, rolled through the competition advancing over college sand products Alexa Strange and Lilla Frederick.

Carol Welcher and Gretchen Duffner-Hand had a close final match versus Terri Del Conte and Sara Fredrickson, but they managed to score the main draw berth in two (24-22, 24-22).

Janelle Allen and Rosalinda Masler eliminated the qualifier No. 3 seeds Jennifer Dalhausser and Tiffany Marinos to qualify after battling through a close three-set first round match.

The youngest duo to qualify, Corinne Quiggle and Elise Zappiatwo 18-year-old college sand players coming off their freshman seasons at Pepperdine and UCLA, respectivelytook down Lauren Sieckmann and Nicole Bateham and then Tori Graffman and Jaimi Gregory on their way to a main draw berth.

The duos of Jessica Mendoza and Jessica Sykora and Karissa Cook and Michelle Iafigliola scored the final two qualification spots on the women’s side. Mendoza and Sykora only had to win one match after their first round opponents forfeited. Cook and Iafigliola met a tough challenge against Monforte and Nash, the qualifier No. 2 seeds in the final match, coming out on top in three 16-21, 26-24, 15-7.

On the men’s side, 46 teams went home disappointed, while eight moved on. No. 1 seeds Marty Lorenz and Raffe Paulis redeemed their loss in the final round of the AVP Seattle qualifier by defeating Danko Iordanov and Chris McDonald in straight sets to advance.

No. 25 seed Jason Merdero and Kevin Villela played three matches before earning their main draw berth, the first AVP qualification ever for both men.

Kevin McColloch, who first started playing on the AVP in 2005, earned his second main draw appearance of the season and is playing for the second consecutive tournament with Matt Motter. The duo enters the main draw as a No. 21 seed and will play Hudson Bates and Dave McKienzie first round.

No. 4 seeds Mark Burik and Curt Toppel encountered few challenges in their two victories on the way to qualification. They kept both opposing teams from scoring more than 15 points. In the first round today, theyll face Jeremy Casebeer and Derek Olson.

Utah natives Daniel Dalanhese and Joe Hillman skated by their first and second round opponents before going the distance with Michael Brunsting and Spencer McLachlin, eventually qualifying with a win in three in a match that lasted over an hour.

Brad Lawson, a former star indoor player at Stanford, who has played in all four AVP qualifiers this year with Adam Roberts, entered the main draw for the first time ever with a win over Ed Lunnen and Mike Maghy.

Tim May and Landen Tusieseina blazed a brutal path to qualification, playing two three-setters and a two-setter that was down to the wire in both sets. The duo also qualified for the Manhattan Beach Open last year and took a 25th.

The final duo to advance was Jason Phipps and Bill Strickland. Strickland, 34, earned AVP Rookie of the Year honors in 2007 and earned a fifth-place finish with Nick Lucena that year. He boasts four career-high third-place AVP finishes. To advance, Strickland and Phipps upset qualifier No. 2 seeds Paul Araiza and Alejandro Parra 21-18, 26-24.

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