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Winning a habit for Pavlik

Former UC Irvine indoor standout will try for fourth straight Jose Cuervo beach series title in Hermosa Beach.

July 19, 2012|By Barry Faulkner
  • Whitney Pavlik, a former UC Irvine standout, has been excelling as a pro beach volleyball player.
Whitney Pavlik, a former UC Irvine standout, has been… (Courtesy of Whitney…)

As with any young professional, updating one's resume is important to Whitney Pavlik. But for the former UC Irvine women's volleyball standout who is now excelling in professional beach volleyball, recurring success had rendered such editing something akin to a full-time job.

"I'd have to look," Pavlik, 28, said when asked about her first professional tournament victory, an occurrence that is becoming commonplace this summer.

Pavlik and partner Jenny Kroop have won three straight tournaments on the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball series and will try to extend that streak at the Hermosa Beach Open, Friday though Sunday.

The Pavlik-Kroop partnership, which began in the 2010 Assn. of Volleyball Professionals season cut short when the tour went under due to financial problems, has continued to blossom. The two former AVP rookies of the Year (Pavlik in 2008, one season after the former Nebraska All-American earned the honor) collected their first victory May 27, 2011, in the Corona Light Open in Seaside, N.J.

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Last season also included a triumph at the prestigious Manhattan Beach Open, as well as a Jose Cuervo tour stop in Malibu and another Corona Light event in Florida.

"It's a great feeling, but you're only as good as your last tournament," said the 6-foot Pavlik."After last season, Jenny and I worked really hard during the offseason to try to prove to everyone that we could do it again."

Determined training, which for Pavlik includes regular crossfit sessions, combined with experience, maturation and coaching tips from former AVP standout Barbara Fontana and Anna Collier, the coach of USC's sand volleyball team, has helped Pavlik and Kroop become the leading women's team on this year's domestic tours. They won the first three Jose Cuervo series events in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Belmar, N.J., and Chicago.

Chemistry is another factor in that ascension, which Pavlik hopes will put the pair in line to follow in the Olympic footsteps of former Newport Harbor High standouts Misty May-Treanor and April Ross.

May-Treanor and partner Kerri Walsh will contend for a third straight gold medal at the Olympic Games in London later this summer, where Ross and partner Jennifer Kessy will also represent the United States.

"Our chemistry makes a huge difference in our playing," Pavlik said. "Chemistry is important for any partners and we're lucky to have become really good friends."

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