Manhattan Beach residents Kerri Walsh Jennings and Casey Jennings won their hometown tournament this weekend. Sounds like no big deal except that their hometown tournament just happens to be the legendary Manhattan Beach Open, currently in its 58th year. The win was Kerri’s sixth MBO title and Casey’s first and also the first time that a husband and wife duo took titles in the same year.
Making the couple’s wins even more epic was the fact that Kerri hadn’t won a tournament since the London Olympics, mostly because she took some time off to have her third child Scout, and Casey managed to convince his former partner Matt Fuerbringer to come out of retirement for one more tournament together. Fuerbringer left the beach earlier this year to take on the full-time task of assistant coaching the U.S. Men’s Indoor National Team, and Jennings and Fuerbringer hadn’t played together since 2009. On their way to the ultimate victory, they had to face No. 1 seeds Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal twice. Fuerbringer and Jennings surprised everyone by coming out on top in both instances.
Walsh-Jennings’ partner Whitney Pavlik took her third consecutive Manhattan Beach Open title with the win. The previous two years she partnered with Jenny Kropp. In the women’s final, Walsh-Jennings and Pavlik faced Brooke Sweat and Jennifer Fopma. Walsh-Jennings and Pavlik took a beating from Sweat-Fopma earlier in the tournament, but as Walsh-Jennings said to Chris McGee after the championship match, “You always want to be the team seeking redemption,” and she and Pavlik certainly earned theirs. In the process, they also earned the right to have their names on the pier, again.
Earlier in the tournament, No. 19 seed Stafford Slick and Evan Engle made waves by upsetting No. 3 Ryan Doherty and Todd Rogers in the second round, forcing Doherty and Rogers to play five matches in the contenders bracket to work their way back into the semis where they lost to the eventual champs. Slick and Engle lost their third round match to Tri Bourne and John Hyden to put them in the contenders’ bracket, and then dropped another to Matt Prosser and Aaron Wachtfogel to finish the tournament.
>> For the full results check out bvbinfo.com for the full results and brackets.