CHULA VISTA, Calif. (Oct. 5, 2014) – U.S. beach athlete Heather Hughes won the NORCECA Tour event in Chula Vista in 2012 with Emily Day and in 2013 with Lane Carico.

It seemed like she was on her way to winning her third Chula Vista title on Sunday, this time with Day again, but after a strong first set, Hughes and Day lost the next two to Mexico’s Martha Revuelta and Bibiana Candelas in the gold medal match.

Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) and Day (Torrance, Calif.) had not played together since they won together at Chula Vista in 2012.

“There were a lot of plays that felt like déjà vu,” Hughes said. “It was very natural coming back emotionally on the court; just talking and communication-wise.

“I was going for a three-peat and it slipped away.”

It was the first loss for Day and Hughes in the tournament. In Sunday’s semifinals, they defeated their U.S. teammates Amanda Dowdy (Austin, Texas) and Sarah Day (Huntington Beach, Calif.), 21-17, 21-14.

Both Day and Hughes were traveling from California to China for the FIVB Open tournament in Xiamen and each will play that tournament with a different partner. Day will play with Brittany Hochevar and Hughes will play with Ali (Daley) McColloch.

Sunday’s bronze medal match was a showdown between two U.S. teams that saw Lane Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Kim DiCello (San Diego, Calif.) defeat Dowdy and Day, 21-15, 11-21, 16-14.

Carico and DiCello fell in the semifinals to Revuelta and Candelas, 21-10, 21-19.

“I am going to remember that we have learned something in every single match (of the tournament),” Carico said. “And carry that with us going forward so that we are always getting better.

“We haven’t been playing together that long to the point where we know what each other wants in every situation. There were some new situations in this tournament. Some things that pushed us that we can get better at.”

DiCello added: “I am going to be really motivated when I look back on this tournament because it’s certainly not the finish that we wanted. We had a tough loss (in the semifinals) and we need to build on what we learned.”


SEMIFINALS: Day/Hughes (USA2) d Dowdy/Day (USA3), 2-0 (21-17, 21-14); Revuelta/Candelas (MEX1) d DiCello/Carrico (USA1), 2-0 (21-10, 21-19); BRONZE MEDAL: DiCello/Carico (USA1) d Dowdy/Day (USA3), 21-15, 11-21, 16-14; GOLD MEDAL: Candelas/Revuelta (MEX1) d Day/Hughes (USA2), 2-1


Derek Olson and Avery Drost of the United States took the bronze medal. The team lost a tough semifinal battle to May and Dearing, 18-21, 21-17, 17-15. However, they came back to defeat Puerto Rico’s Roberto Rodriguez and Erik Haddock, 21-16, 21-18, avenging an earlier pool play loss to the Caribbean team.

SEMIFINALS: May/Dearing (CAN1) d Olson/Drost (USA2), 2-1 (18-21, 21-17, 17-15); Wheelan/Plantinga (CAN2) d Rodriguez/Haddock (PUR), 2-1 (21-15, 13-21, 15-13); BRONZE MEDAL: Olson/Drost (USA2) d Rodriguez/Haddock (PUR), 21-16, 21-18; GOLD MEDAL: May/Dearing (CAN1) d Wheelan/Plantinga (CAN2), 20-22, 21-14, 15-11.