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AVP Tournament Brings Stunning Victories and Upsets

Aug 21, 2017 10:56AM ● By Jeanne Fratello

The AVP Manhattan Beach Open. Photo credit: Robert Beck

Three days of tough competition on the sand brought hard-won victories and surprising upsets at the 58th Annual AVP Manhattan Beach Open, drawing more than 65,000 spectators to Manhattan Beach over the weekend.

Bringing home the top prizes were men’s champions Phil Dalhausser (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Nick Lucena (Davie, Fla.); and Brittany Hochevar (Torrance, Calif.) and Emily Day (Torrance, Calif.) on the women’s side.          

In the men's competition, the team of Dalhausser/Lucena faced off against the recently unstoppable No. 4 Sean ‘Rosie’ Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Trevor Crabb (Honolulu, Hawaii). Dalhausser/Lucena sealed their victory in 25-23, 21-18 and 15-10. This marks their second Manhattan Beach Open team victory (the first was in 2015) and Dalhausser’s sixth plaque on the Volleyball Walk of Fame.    

"This is just as sweet," said Dalhausser regarding his sixth win. "Hats off to Trevor and Rosie - they played great. We’ll see you next year."

On the women's side, the morning started with a huge upset in the women’s semi-finals of top ranked AVP champs and Olympians April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Lauren Fendrick (San Diego, Calif.) falling to brand new partners and the No. 15 ranked pair of Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and Brandie Wilkerson (Toronto, Canada). In Wilkerson’s first-ever Manhattan Beach Open, this tournament marked the first time she qualified into the Main Draw.

The women’s final featured Branagh/Wilkerson against the No. 2 team of 2016 Manhattan Beach Open winners Brittany Hochevar and Emily Day. For practicing together only four times before the tournament, Branagh/Wilkerson put on an impressive performance; however Hochevar/Day shut the newcomers down in two solid sets, 21-18, 21-18.

The tournament is the longest running continuous event in the sport, and has become known as the "Wimbledon of beach volleyball." Each year, world-ranked beach volleyball players battle it out on the sand to earn the right to have their names enshrined on the Manhattan Beach Pier.

This year, the Manhattan Beach Open is part of AVP's new "Gold Series" (the other two locations being the New York City Open and the Chicago Championships), with a prize purse of $225,000. As the second tournament of the 2017 Gold Series and the last of the four California tournaments, the MBO went “old school” this year with a 32-team format, double that of all the previous events on the schedule. It was the biggest field of the season with matches on nine courts.

The Manhattan Beach Open was presented by Acer. Official Gold Series Manhattan Beach Open tour partners included Obrigado, Wild Horse, Nature’s Path, Kona Deep, Smarty Pants, Wilson, Boston Beer, Breville, Klenskin Sunscreen, Vionic Beach, Paramount & Co., Power Crunch, Rox Volleyball, Takeya, Frontier Communications, Naked Juice, Otter Pops, Jolyn, Dulce Vida Tequila, Noosa Yoghurt, Cutco Knifes, KT Tape, Cali Sun Skateboards, Wholly Guacamole, T-Mobile and Bai.

Established in 1983 and currently headquartered in Southern California, the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) is the world's premier beach volleyball organization. The brand has a 34-year rich history in creating, staging and marketing sporting events in North America, and has been the home of some of the most respected athletes in professional sports, including gold medalists Karch Kiraly, Kent Steffes, Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh-Jennings, Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser. The AVP today is comprised of four divisions: AVP Academy, AVPNext, the AVP Pro Tour and their non-profit 501(c)3 organization, AVPFirst.

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