Qualifiers break through to NVL Long Beach semifinals

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Hagen Smith stretches for the dig/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

LONG BEACH, Calif. — The talent-laden qualifier Thursday at NVL Long Beach made a big impact on the main draw Friday.

Heading into Saturday’s 10 a.m. Pacific start, two semifinalists in waiting and four quarterfinalists per gender remain.

The men’s semifinalists, waiting to see who they play, are Brandon Joyner and John-Michael Plummer and Paul Lotman and Gabriel Ospina. The opponents will be decided when Martin Caban and Petr Doubravsky play Andrew Dentler and Dylan Maarek and Miles Evans and Dave Palm face Andrew Mallin and Ryan Vandenburg.

The women’s semifinalists are twins Madison and McKenna Witt and Kaley Melville and Sarah Schermerhorn. They will take on the winners of the matches between Katie Lindelow and Taylor Nyquist against Kathryn Hogan and Dalida Vernier and Raquel Ferreira and Kim Hildreth against Kristin Heldt and Maryna Samoday.

The women’s final is Saturday on stadium court following the World FIVB President’s Cup women’s final that starts at 2 p.m. and subsequent awards ceremonies.

Both the Witt twins and Lotman and Ospina took the unconventional route through the qualifier, one of the tougher qualifiers in NVL history.

Kim Hildreth hits against the block of Madison Witt/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

The Witt twins’ journey to the semifinals was all but routine, needing three sets in each of their three matches today. The most anticipated meeting was the 9 a.m. encounter with the No. 1 seed Ferreira and Hildreth, which did not disappoint, 21-17, 11-21, 15-13.

“McKenna and I are really excited to make the semifinals,” Madison Witt said. “We love coming in ranked low and having no pressure. We’re a little tired today from the qualifier, but we knew we had to grind it out and do our best, and take every point seriously.”

Wth this being the Witt twins’ first NVL event, the products of the University of Arizona weren’t sure what to expect facing the No. 1 seeds.

“We had never played them before,” Madison said. “We had no scouting and no strategy or game plan. There wasn’t any pressure on us, so we were able to let loose, enjoy ourselves, and find our groove to win the first game. We lost the second, but battled back in the third.”

They played six tough matches in two days.

“Tonight we’re going to focus on recovering and resting and just getting ready for tomorrow,” Madison said. “We’re going to focus on our own game,. We just know that whoever is on the other side it’s going to be a battle, so we’re going to prepare for that and come out with some fire. “

In the men’s competition, Lotman and Ospina also took the long road to the qualifier.

“We started the qualifier yesterday and played three tough matches, so we’re a little fatigued today,” Lotman said. “We had a tough draw, we fought every match, but my partner Gabriel played some really good volleyball.

“We were consistent all day, we served tough. We’re in a good position to do well in the remainder of the tournament, so I’m pleased with our performance so far. It’s good that we don’t know who we play tomorrow, that we’re focusing on ourselves, playing good side out, pass well, set each other well, and we’ve been going after our serves. It’s been working for us, so I think we’ll continue to do that.

Lotman, a 2012 indoor Olympian and product of Long Beach State, started playing beach full time this year. This is his first NVL main draw.

“I thought the transition was going to be easier than it actually is,” Lotman admitted.” It’s challenging and awesome at the same time. I loved it from the very beginning and I love the game of beach volleyball. I realize now that it’s a completely different sport. It’s been a ride I want to enjoy it as long as I can.”

Last year Lotman took a break from indoor professional competition after competing for the Berlin Recycling Volleys in Germany.

“I needed to rest my body and my mind and I’m getting the itch to go back. Financially it’s better than playing beach, but it’s balance. I get to be home and go to the beach every day. It’s not a bad job if you can make it work financially. We’ll see how the rest of the season goes with NVL and AVP, and if I have to go overseas, I’m OK with that too.”

Friday’s men’s results
Winners bracket
Round 1
Match 1: Drew Mallin/Ryan Vandenburg (1) def. Cole Fiers/Hagen Smith (16, Q30) 21-15, 21-18
Match 2: Philip Burrow/TJ Cloud (8) def. Matthew Clayton/Kristopher Fraser (9) 21-19, 26-24
Match 3: Christopher Long/Kyle Stevenson (12) def. Drew Hamilton/Daniel Lindsey (5) 21-13, 21-14
Match 4: Brandon Joyner/John-Michael Plummer (4) def. Christian Honer/Mike Maghy (13, Q10) 24-26, 21-19, 15-13
Match 5: Andrew Dentler/Dylan Maarek (14, Q12) def. Skyler McCoy/Christopher Vaughan (3) 21-14, 21-14
Match 6: Robert deAurora/Travis Schoonover (11) def. Mike DiPierro/Justin Phipps (6) 21-19, 17-21, 16-14
Match 7: Miles Evans/Dave Palm (10) def. Tyler Lesneski/Andrew Russell (7) 21-12, 21-16
Match 8: Paul Lotman/Gabriel Ospina (15, Q24) def. Martin Caban/Petr Doubravsky (2) 21-18, 21-17
Round 2
Match 9: Drew Mallin/Ryan Vandenburg (1) def. Philip Burrow/TJ Cloud (8) 21-17, 21-16
Match 10: Brandon Joyner/John-Michael Plummer (4) def. Christopher Long/Kyle Stevenson (12) 21-16, 21-15
Match 11: Andrew Dentler/Dylan Maarek (14, Q12) def. Robert deAurora/Travis Schoonover (11) 21-15, 21-9
Match 12: Paul Lotman/Gabriel Ospina (15, Q24) def. Miles Evans/Dave Palm (10) 15-21, 21-16, 15-7
Round 3
Match 13: Brandon Joyner/John-Michael Plummer (4) def. Drew Mallin/Ryan Vandenburg (1) 21-15, 19-21, 15-10
Match 14: Paul Lotman/Gabriel Ospina (15, Q24) def. Andrew Dentler/Dylan Maarek (14, Q12) 24-22, 21-17
Contenders bracket
Round 1
Match 15: Martin Caban/Petr Doubravsky (2) def. Tyler Lesneski/Andrew Russell (7) 21-14, 21-18
Match 16: Skyler McCoy/Christopher Vaughan (3) def. Mike DiPierro/Justin Phipps (6) 19-21, 21-18, 16-14
Match 17: Drew Hamilton/Daniel Lindsey (5) def. Christian Honer/Mike Maghy (13, Q10) 21-16, 18-21, 15-9
Match 18: Cole Fiers/Hagen Smith (16, Q30) def. Matthew Clayton/Kristopher Fraser (9) 21-16, 21-15
Round 2
Match 19: Martin Caban/Petr Doubravsky (2) def. Christopher Long/Kyle Stevenson (12) 22-20, 21-15
Match 20: Philip Burrow/TJ Cloud (8) def. Skyler McCoy/Christopher Vaughan (3) 21-16, 21-17
Match 21: Miles Evans/Dave Palm (10) def. Drew Hamilton/Daniel Lindsey (5) 21-12, 19-21, 15-10
Match 22: Robert deAurora/Travis Schoonover (11) def. Cole Fiers/Hagen Smith (16, Q30) 21-15, 23-21
Round 3
Match 23: Martin Caban/Petr Doubravsky (2) def. Philip Burrow/TJ Cloud (8) 21-12, 21-17
Match 24: Miles Evans/Dave Palm (10) def. Robert deAurora/Travis Schoonover (11) 21-15, 21-16
Saturday’s semifinals
Match 25: Martin Caban/Petr Doubravsky (2) vs. Andrew Dentler/Dylan Maarek (14, Q12)
Match 26: Miles Evans/Dave Palm (10) vs. Drew Mallin/Ryan Vandenburg (1)
Saturday’s semifinals
Brandon Joyner/John-Michael Plummer (4) vs. TBD
Paul Lotman/Gabriel Ospina (15, Q24) vs. TBD
Friday’s women’s results
Winner’s Bracket
Round 1
Match 1: Madison Witt/McKenna Witt (16, Q27) def. Raquel Ferreira/Kimberly Hildreth (1) 21-17, 11-21, 15-13
Match 2: Katie Lindelow/Taylor Nyquist (8) def. Julianne Lackey/Katie Lindstrom (9) 21-19, 28-26
Match 3: Kristin Heldt/Maryna Samoday (5) def. Aurora Skarra-Gallagher/Alicia Zamparelli-Flavia (12) 17-21, 21-11, 15-12
Match 4: Jayna Duke/Kyra Lancon (4) def. Maia Hannemann/Jenna Johnson (13) 21-18, 21-17
Match 5: Macy Jerger/Tory Paranagua (14, Q7) def. Kristen Batt-Rohr/Chelsea Hayes (3) 21-19, 17-21, 15-12
Match 6: Kaley Melville/Sarah Schermerhorn (11) def. Lindsey Fuller/Courtney Jungnickel (6) 21-14, 21-14
Match 7: Kathryn Hogan/Dalida Vernier (10, Q1) def. Molly Menard/Devin Von Pingel (7) 21-8, 23-21
Match 8: Terri Del Conte/Stacey Smith (15, Q12) def. Chara Harris/Michelle Williams (2) 22-20, 15-21, 16-14
Round 2
Match 9: Madison Witt/McKenna Witt (16, Q27) def. Katie Lindelow/Taylor Nyquist (8) 17-21, 21-15, 15-9
Match 10: Kristin Heldt/Maryna Samoday (5) def. Jayna Duke/Kyra Lancon (4) 22-20, 21-17
Match 11: Kaley Melville/Sarah Schermerhorn (11) def. Macy Jerger/Tory Paranagua (14, Q7) 21-18, 21-19
Match 12: Kathryn Hogan/Dalida Vernier (10, Q1) def. Terri Del Conte/Stacey Smith (15, Q12) 21-17, 21-16
Round 3
Match 13: Madison Witt/McKenna Witt (16, Q27) def. Kristin Heldt/Maryna Samoday (5) 21-17, 19-21, 15-9
Match 14: Kaley Melville/Sarah Schermerhorn (11) def. Kathryn Hogan/Dalida Vernier (10, Q1) 21-13, 21-18
Contender’s Bracket
Round 1
Match 15: Chara Harris/Michelle Williams (2) def. Molly Menard/Devin Von Pingel (7) 21-16, 21-17
Match 16: Kristen Batt-Rohr/Chelsea Hayes (3) def. Lindsey Fuller/Courtney Jungnickel (6) 21-15, 21-18
Match 17: Aurora Skarra-Gallagher/Alicia Zamparelli-Flavia (12) def. Maia Hannemann/Jenna Johnson (13) 19-21, 21-12, 15-6
Match 18: Raquel Ferreira/Kimberly Hildreth (1) def. Julianne Lackey/Katie Lindstrom (9) 21-9, 21-8
Round 2
Match 19: Chara Harris/Michelle Williams (2) def. Jayna Duke/Kyra Lancon (4) 18-21, 21-13, 15-9
Match 20: Katie Lindelow/Taylor Nyquist (8) def. Kristen Batt-Rohr/Chelsea Hayes (3) 21-16, 21-17
Match 21: Terri Del Conte/Stacey Smith (15, Q12) def. Aurora Skarra-Gallagher/Alicia Zamparelli-Flavia (12) 21-16, 22-20
Match 22: Raquel Ferreira/Kimberly Hildreth (1) def. Macy Jerger/Tory Paranagua (14, Q7) 21-17, 21-19
Round 3
Match 23: Katie Lindelow/Taylor Nyquist (8) def. Chara Harris/Michelle Williams (2) 16-21, 21-18, 15-12
Match 24: Raquel Ferreira/Kimberly Hildreth (1) def. Terri Del Conte/Stacey Smith (15, Q12) 21-11, 21-16
Saturday’s quarterfinals
Match 25: Katie Lindelow/Taylor Nyquist (8) vs. Kathryn Hogan/Dalida Vernier (10, Q1)
Match 26: Raquel Ferreira/Kimberly Hildreth (1) vs. Kristin Heldt/Maryna Samoday (5)    Saturday’s semifinals
Madison Witt/McKenna Witt (16, Q27) vs. TBD
Kaley Melville/Sarah Schermerhorn (11) vs. TBD

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