Ross on center stage

The former Newport Harbor star wins first AVP title in SoCal with Kessy, beating Misty May-Treanor.

June 08, 2010|By Mike Sciacca

HUNTINGTON BEACH — April Ross didn't want to leave the winners' podium.

The former Newport Harbor High standout wanted to relish the moment, her moment, the one that, finally, belonged to her and teammate Jennifer Kessy.

"I'm tearing up," Ross, a Costa Mesa resident, told a crowd of approximately 3,000 at center court Sunday, site of the Assn. Volleyball Professionals Nivea Tour Huntington Beach Open presented by Bud Light Lime. "I don't want to get down. I don't want the moment to end."


What Ross and Kessy did end Sunday was futility in the Southland. The two have four AVP tournament titles to their credit, but none had come in Southern California.

That, was put to rest against the women's top-seeded team.

Ross and Kessy, who lives in San Clemente, rallied from a game down in the women's final against Misty May-Treanor, another former Newport Harbor star, and Nicole Branagh (Torrance) to tie the match at a win apiece. The tournament favorites appeared on their way to yet another tour victory as they appeared to be in control of the third game. Ross and Kessy, however, had the final say: they scored the last five points of the game to win the match, 14-21, 21-12, 15-11, at the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier.

"I can't even put into words how I feel," Ross said. "We wanted so badly to win this. It's super-tough to win in Southern California. Everyone is from here, everyone trains here and everyone has family here. So, everyone wants to win here.

"This is what I call the "Grand Slam" of the AVP, here, Manhattan and Hermosa. I'm just so happy right now."

The women's finale pitted Ross, who is in her fifth season on the AVP, against fellow Sailors alum May-Treanor who had won five of the previous six times she played in Huntington Beach.

May-Treanor and Branagh, who were playing for just the sixth time together, gave props to their opponents.

"We had our chances but they made some big plays," May-Treanor said. "We had tough matches throughout the entire tournament and we know how tough they (Ross and Kessy) are. In the short time that Nicole and I have been together, I felt that we played well throughout this tournament. We were playing better and the chemistry was there. I think we've done well."

"They're a great team," Branagh said of Ross and Kessy, the No. 2-seed. "We knew that they'd make an adjustment after that first game, and they did. They started pulling a lot more and they served really well."

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