After playing the 2013 season with Todd Rogers, Ryan Doherty has announced that he and Nick Lucena will partner for the upcoming year. The 7’1″ Doherty, a former college baseball star, had a disappointing second season on the professional beach volleyball circuit. Though Beijing gold medalist Rogers clearly has years of experience, the pair earned no title wins and only one second and two third-place finishes on the AVP.
Lucena, however, had a successful 10th season on the AVP tour with rookie partner Theo Brunner. The duo placed third in their first-ever tournament together, the Salt Lake City AVP event. They then went on to take second in Cincinnati, third in Atlantic City, second in St. Petersburg, and finally, win the first place match at the Huntington Beach AVP Championships in October. The victory brought Lucena’s AVP title tally up to three.
Doherty and Lucena played the FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam in October together and finished fifth, Doherty’s best finish on the international tour to date and Lucena’s best in 2013. So when the Fort Lauderdale native asked Doherty to partner up for 2014, Doherty couldn’t turn him down, even though he had already agreed to play with Casey Jennings and had even announced it on his personal blog.
“I had been hoping to play with Nick the Quick ever since I got the chance to compete with him last year in Brazil,” explained Doherty on the blog. “Aside from the fact that Nick is one of the best defenders in the world, him being willing to play with me means I have a better chance at starting off in the main draw of international events instead of having to play in qualifiers.”
No word yet on whether Rogers will pick up another partner for 2014 or chose to retire, who Brunner will pair up with, or even who Jennings will choose to play with now that he’s back on the market. Rogers and Brunner played the FIVB Xiamen Grand Slam at the end of the 2013 international season together, finishing 17th, so perhaps they’ll try their luck on the AVP.