General & All Other Sports

AVP Pro Volleyball tour hits Hermosa Beach (August 6-9,09) Info/Tickets/Post Coverage

What would a Southern California summer
 be without volleyball?  And what would pro volleyball
 be without the Hermosa Beach Open?  Well, it was that time again for one of the AVP’s most prestigious annual
 events, and the men’s finals proved to be a classic this
 year.  After losing the first set, Olympic champions
 and the world’s number one ranked team for several years
 now, Todd Rogers and Phil (The Beast) Dalhausser came back
 to defeat Sean Scott and John Hyden to win their 4th title
 in a row here at Hermosa in front of a packed house of
 enthusiastic fans. I talked to Dalhausser after the match about how they played and his semi confrontation with Sean Scott.  He told me "We played better today and they are a tough team. As far as Scott, I don’t know what his problem was.  We are all pretty friendly to one another out here on the beach but he has some sort of attitude which is out of my control."
Todd and Phil winning pic 1.JPGOther volleyball team.JPG Todd and Phil ready photo.JPG
    After this match, the day continued with
 a 6 person per team match featuring some of the best
 men’s and women’s college volleyball players
 from long time rivals UCLA and USC.  UCLA, which had
 beach volleyball legend Sinjin Smith, among
 others, on its team, prevailed in a fun match with both
 men and women competing against each other.
    The day ended with NBA legend Shaquille
 O’Neal paired with Todd Rogers taking on perhaps the
 greatest beach volleyball tandem ever, Olympic champions
 Misty May and Kerri Walsh, for Shaq’s upcoming
 reality show "Shaq Vs.."  Despite having
 one-half of the men’s most dominant team in the world,
 the men proved to be no match for the women, however, and
 lost all three games.

Shaq 1.JPG 

More info and tour schedule at

Our Southern California swan song is upon us: The AVP Crocs Slam Bud Light Hermosa Beach Open presented by Virgin America, the final AVP SoCal stop of 2009, starts tomorrow and runs through Sunday at the Hermosa Beach Pier. The tournament features the return of two-time gold medalist and new mom Kerri Walsh and the deepest field all year.

It all starts with the qualifier tomorrow at 8 a.m., featuring a horde of locals reaching for their beach volleyball dreams – eight men’s and women’s teams will play their way into the main draw, which begins Friday at 9 a.m. and goes through Sunday at 1 p.m. with the men’s final. The women’s final is 1 p.m. Saturday. Both are live on NBC.

Please see the attached brackets and entry lists for both tomorrow’s qualifier and this weekend’s main draw. Upon completion of the qualifier, the missing eight spots in the main draw will be filled in.

Also, please see the below notes on this weekend’s action: In addition to Kerri making her comeback, we have an unprecedented $5 Friday promotion; a memorial to the late, great Mike Whitmarsh; are airing in HD on NBC and online; and have an additional $25,000 on the line, among many, many other cool features this weekend (see below, also attached).


?         $5 FRIDAYS! At Hermosa, all Friday tickets are available for just $5. For the first time ever, the AVP is offering $5 Fridays, regardless of age. In the past, it’s only been for youths under 18, but in an unprecedented move to thank SoCal for a wonderful summer, the AVP is doing it across the board. What better way to enjoy a summer day with the kids than world-class volleyball and a day at the beach for just $5 a head? (WAY better than a $5 footlong…)

?         Kerri Walsh: The two-time gold medalist and 103-time winner is making her much-heralded comeback in Hermosa Beach . “Six Feet of Sunshine,” a nickname coined by her husband, player Casey Jennings, has been out since the end of last season due to her pregnancy with baby Joey, whom she delivered May 22. Walsh will make her comeback with another new mom, Rachel Wacholder, as Misty May-Treanor is still out for the rest of the year.

?         With Kerri and Rachel’s return, they make this the deepest AVP field of 2009.

?         I see your gold medal and raise you two world champions: Kerri and Rachel will have to battle the newly crowned world champions Jen Kessy and April Ross, as they make their triumphant return home to SoCal at Hermosa. Kessy and Ross won their first-ever FIVB world championship in early July and won again July 26 in Marseille. The USC All-Americans and SoCal native daughters add to the deepest field yet this year.

?         The AVP will honor the late, great Mike Whitmarsh with a Memorial Sunday before the 1 p.m. men’s final. Whitmarsh, who passed away earlier this year, was well liked and respected by his fellow players, so much so that Casey Jennings and Kerri Walsh’s first child was named Joseph Michael in his honor. Whitmarsh won 28 times and was an Olympic silver medalist in 1996 with Mike Dodd. Dodd and Jennings will speak, as will members of the Whitmarsh family.

?         There’s also the “Whitty Ball” for sale onsite, designed by former AVP player Canyon Ceman. Proceeds from sales of the memorial ball benefit the Mike Whitmarsh Memorial Foundation.

?         The Professor and the Beast: Top men’s team and reigning gold medalists Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers were a dominant force last year: They won 11 of the 15 AVP events they played and a gold medal. This year, however, they’ve won just four of eight and have a third and even a fifth-place finish, their worst in three years. Can the Professor and the Beast break through again in Hermosa? They’ve won this event the last three years. Or will Gibb and hometown hero Rosie win the South Bay one-two punch after taking Manhattan last month? Or will Scott and Hyden continue their breakout season with a win in the deep Hermosa sands?

?         For the women, the question of who would take over for Misty and Kerri atop the women’s game has been answered, so far… Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs have won six of the eight AVP events they’ve played this year, their only two losses coming in tournament finals. However, there’s always the duo of USC All-Americans Jen Kessy and April Ross, who have been lighting up the international stage recently, winning a world championship. And lest we forget the veteran teams of Dianne DeNecochea/Carrie Dodd, who won in Coney Island, and Annett Davis/Jenny Johnson Jordan. Any of these four could take home Hermosa.

?         The last three AVP events have been won by three different men’s and three different women’s teams.  Will parity continue given that some of the top teams will just be returning from an extended stretch overseas?

?         SoCal Swan Song: Say it ain’t so! Hermosa is the final SoCal stop for the AVP in 2009. Beach volleyball fans – and fanatics – who don’t make it to Hermosa will have to wait out the long winter months dreaming about cross-court kills and roof blocks, wondering what might have been.

 ?         USC and UCLA alumni will face off in a head-to-head beach volleyball challenge on Stadium Court at Hermosa. The USC-UCLA Crosstown Challenge will take place Sunday, August 9, at approximately 2:30 p.m.

Fans and alumni of each university will receive a $5 discount by purchasing tickets online. Fans decked out in their school’s apparel or accessories also will receive a 10-percent discount at the AVP Merchandise Tent. Tickets are available online at, and fans should utilize the promo code AVPUSC or AVPUCLA for their respective school’s discount.

Six former USC women’s volleyball players are on the current AVP Crocs Tour, including newly-minted World Champions Jennifer Kessy and April Ross. Other former Trojans include Keao Burdine, Tracy Lindquist and Katie Olsovsky. AVP Legends who attended USC include Tim Hovland and Steve Obradovich. UCLA alumni on the AVP Crocs Tour include Olympians Jenny Johnson Jordan, Annett Davis, Kevin Wong and Jeff Nygaard. Beach volleyball legend Sinjin Smith also attended UCLA and will be on hand at the event.

?         The Lake Show ? Nope, it’s the Beach Show, starring a different Rambis. Jesse, son of Kurt Rambis, is a professional beach volleyball player and will play the Hermosa Beach Open. Rambis, although slightly undersized, has shown his athletic pedigree and risen from a weekly qualifier to a main draw mainstay. The Manhattan Beach native has finished 17th in five of the seven tournaments he’s played. Might his hometown turf be where he breaks through?

?         SLAM! Hermosa is the third of four Crocs Slam events, which means there’s another $25,000 up for grabs this weekend. Crocs is offering bonuses of $10k for first, $7k for second and $4k for third and fourth for each Crocs Slam event, starting in Coney Island, continuing with Manhattan and Hermosa and ending in Chicago.

?         Tickets still available: In these trying times, the AVP not only has FREE options – you read that right – but it also cut the prices on its ticketed seats. In Hermosa Beach , only Stadium and Courts 1 and 2 are ticketed and available for $5-35 throughout the weekend (up to 50 percent off the originally announced prices). Everything outside of that is free and open to the public.

?         Hermosa is one of three 2009 AVP events broadcast on NBC. See it all in HD quality LIVE, with the women at 1 p.m. PDT Saturday and the men at 1 p.m. PDT Sunday.

?         Speaking of HD, if you’re not near a TV on Aug. 8 or 9, that’s no excuse. The AVP streams action all weekend long – including the finals – in HD online. Check it out here for details.

More info at