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Area pros hit the sand for the AVP Hermosa Beach Open

JP Raineri

Writer

HERMOSA BEACH – The AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour made its second appearance in California the weekend of July 7-9, bringing some of the world's best beach volleyball players back to the South Bay hot spot. The AVP Pro Series Hermosa Beach Open was held Friday, July 7 through Sunday, July 9 at the Hermosa Beach Pier featuring many of the game's top players and emerging stars competing over three days for a $125,000 purse, which included two locals in the field.

2014 Great Oak graduate Jessica Gaffney teamed up with Kelly Reeves on the women's side of the beach, while Fallbrook's Billy Allen and partner Alison Cerutti represented the men. Allen and Cerutti looked like they would make the finals when play resumed early Sunday morning, but when the dust settled, they finished well enough to finish third overall after defeating Olympian Phil Dalhausser and Avery Drost 25-23, 18-21 and 15-8. Gaffney and Reeves were eliminated on Saturday in the contenders bracket after falling 2-1 in their first match on Friday. They lost 2-0 in that contenders match.

"Beach volleyball is such an integral part of Hermosa Beach, and we feel honored to be back competing in the heart of such a vibrant area that deeply values the sport of beach volleyball," said Al Lau, CEO of the AVP.

Overall, the top tier tournament this past weekend featured 16-team women's and men's fields competing in a double-elimination bracket across three courts with the women's and men's brackets each consisting of 10 teams automatically entered based on AVP ranking points, two wild cards and four teams who earned entry through the AVP Tour Series Virginia Beach Open.

The 2023 AVP Tour schedule includes 12 tournaments across the country, offering more than $1.5 million in prize money. Four Tour Series events feature 16 or 24-team brackets competing over three days for a $20,000 purse, and four Pro Series events each offer a 16-team draw playing for $125,000 over three days of play. The three AVP Gold Series tournaments are three-day events with 16- or 32-team brackets and the highest purses of the season at $300,000, and the two-day Championship event invites the top six teams per gender to compete exclusively at the end of the season.

While the pros competed for the honor of becoming the next champions of the Hermosa Beach Open, youth volleyball athletes from across the country played on the same sand in hopes of someday emulating the stars that they look up to as role models. The AVP Junior Nationals was held July 5-9, bringing hundreds of girls and boys ages 12-18 to Hermosa Beach.

The US Beach Club Championship, a tandem between USA Volleyball and the AVP, returns to the South Bay for the second time and will take place following the Hermosa Beach Open, July 9-11. Youth athletes from the top beach volleyball clubs in the country will compete in a traditional college format style tournament. The 16- and 18-age groups will compete on Sunday and Monday and the 14-age group compete on Monday and Tuesday.

"To be able to have the AVP Juniors Nationals running concurrently with the Hermosa Beach Open, and have the US Beach Club Championship to follow, provide an amazing opportunity for young players who aspire to reach the top level of the sport watch and learn from the best of the best," added Lau. "We're looking forward to an exciting week in the South Bay."

Follow all the action with local and national stars on the AVP's website for full details at http://www.AVP.com.

 

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