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Beach Volleyball: Locals upset in semis

Gibb and Ross see their top-seeded teams upset on Sunday near Huntington Beach Pier.

October 20, 2013|By Barry Faulkner
(KEVIN CHANG / Daily…)

To help promote the title sponsor, players on the stadium court at the AVP Championships near the Huntington Beach Pier crammed their lengthy, sweaty bodies into small convertible smart cars that served as benches that must have lacked supreme comfort.

Turns out, uncomfortable was a fitting theme for both the top-seeded men's and women's teams, both of which included a Costa Mesa resident. The men's duo of Costa Mesa's Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson of Huntington Beach, as well as the favored women's tandem of Costa Mesa's April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings were both upset in the semifinals on Sunday.

Ross, an Olympic silver medalist in London and Newport Harbor High product who came in with 10 open titles, was hoping to help Walsh Jennings, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, move into sole possession of the top spot in career beach wins (she remains tied with Newport Harbor graduate Misty May-Treanor with 112. Instead, they were stunned, 21-15, 21-17, by No. 3-seeded Lauren Fendrick and Brittany Hochevar.

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Gibb, a two-time Olympian who along with Patterson had won the last four AVP events, saw his team eliminated, 19-21, 26-24, 15-13, by the No. 4-seeded paring of Theo Brunner and Nick Lucena.

The loss halted a two-tournament winning streak for Ross and Walsh Jennings, who had won the previous AVP event in Santa Barbara, as well as a Federation International de Volleyball tournament in Brazil.

Both Gibb and Patterson, as well as Ross and Walsh Jennings were set to board a red-eye flight late Sunday bound for an FIVB event in China.

"I think we need it," Ross said of the China event that will help divert their attention from the worst finish of her recent pairing with Walsh Jennings. "We need to play and play and play and play right now. As much as it hurts, we were going to have a dip and a growing pain. Unfortunately, I wish it didn't happen in that [semifinal] match, but it did, Now, we need to fix it and build on it and be better because of it."

Gibb, who played with Patterson for the first time this season, was disappointed, but said the duo's third third-place finish, to go with four titles in seven AVP events, made it a successful AVP season. He also took the chance to put some perspective on a pairing that displays promise for a potential push to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

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