Some big names upset in beach volleyball


About four hours and a couple of Red Bulls didn’t make a difference.

Second-seeded Phil Dalhausser, an Olympic gold medalist in 2008, and partner Sean Rosenthal had been upset Friday in a first-round match at the AVP Championships volleyball tournament in Huntington Beach by a pair of qualifiers, Trevor Crabb and Steven VanderWerp, 21-15, 21-18.

The dispirited losers spoke of being exhausted. Rosenthal was dealing with an aching back. Dalhausser even said, “It’s going to be hard to get up for the loser bracket match this afternoon. It’s tempting to think about ending the season, laying on the couch and watching football, baseball and basketball the rest of the weekend.”

Get that remote control ready.

Dalhausser and Rosenthal were eliminated after a 13-21, 21-17, 15-13 loss to 10th-seeded Kevin McColloch and Mark Williams on Friday afternoon.

Also eliminated were London Olympics silver medalist Jen Kessy and partner Rachel Scott. The fifth-seeded team lost, 21-17, 21-23, 15-13, to 12th-seeded Sarah Day and Kaitlin Nielsen in the morning and fell to fourth-seeded Jennifer Fopma and Brooke Sweat, 21-17, 21-18, in the afternoon.

Kessy called this “the worst year of [her] life after the best.” Her 57-year-old father, Ron, died in his sleep of a heart attack in the family’s San Juan Capistrano home last spring just after Kessy had returned from a tournament in China.

Tested much less Friday were the top-seeded teams.

On the men’s side Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson, who have a four-tournament winning streak, beat 16th-seeded Andrei Belov and Jake Elliott, 21-16, 21-16, and three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings and new partner April Ross advanced easily with a 21-12, 21-15 win over Alison Daley and Megan Wallin.

After the morning loss, a downcast Dalhausser said he felt exhausted. He said the season had more pressure than many post-Olympic years. Dalhausser and Rosenthal are in a new partnership this season and Dalhausser said, “So much was expected of us.”

He noted that because of their international successes everyone played their best against them. Dalhausser couldn’t even name the qualifiers that had beaten them, calling VanderWerp, “the curly haired guy,” and said, “It always feels as if we have a target on our back.”

Indeed VanderWerp, 23, from the beach volleyball hotbed of Grand Haven, Mich., said the morning win was “Absolutely the biggest of my life. My main goal here had just been to qualify for the main draw.”

Dalhausser said he and Rosenthal “basically just came out super flat. Sean has taken about 21/2 weeks off because of his back. It’s just been a long, long season.” He described his team’s morning play with words not appropriate for publication before going with, “We were just bad.”

Nothing changed in the second match.

Category: AVP News

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