Huntington Beach Open adds something extra

Times Staff Writer

One for the money, two for the . . . well, the potential earnings are pretty good there too.

When the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals Crocs Tour makes its first stop of the year in Southern California beginning today with the Huntington Beach Open, the top beach volleyball players will have two opportunities to fill their pockets with prize money.

The main event will conclude Saturday with the men's and women's finals on the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier, followed Sunday by the Cuervo Gold Crown on the same deep-sand main court.

The Cuervo Gold Crown is a one-day, winner-take-all event involving the top four men's and women's teams in the overall AVP standings after the Huntington Beach Open.

The winning teams will split $20,000 after Saturday's competition and $25,000 on Sunday.

"It's going to be really exciting," Holly McPeak, a 17-year tour veteran who will retire after this season, said of Sunday's matches.

However, with a busy summer schedule ahead, not everyone is looking forward to the extra day of competition.

"It would be nice if the tournament could end on Saturday," said Misty May-Treanor, who along with partner Kerri Walsh won at Miami and Dallas, the tour's first stops this season.

The Cuervo Gold Crown debuted last season, but the winners were determined by the overall point standings after the first three events -- not an extra day of competition.

May-Treanor and Walsh had two first-place finishes and a third after last season's third event but were beaten out by Elaine Youngs and Nicole Branagh, who had a first and two runner-up finishes.

May-Treanor and Walsh, 2004 Olympic gold medalists who have already qualified for this summer's Beijing Games, have won 22 of their last 25 AVP events and are 53-7 overall.

On the men's side, Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers have won all 10 of their matches to claim both tour stops. Dalhausser and Rogers have won 20 of their last 33 AVP events.

The teams of Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal and Matt Fuerbringer and Casey Jennings are also in good position to advance to the Cuervo Gold Crown, and Anthony Medel and Fred Souza, Nick Lucena and Sean Scott and John Hyden and Brad Keenan are other contenders.

The Huntington Beach Open will begin at 8 a.m. today and Saturday, with the men's final scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and the women's final at approximately 4.

The Cuervo Gold Crown is scheduled to begin Sunday at 10 a.m., with the men's final scheduled for 1:30 p.m., followed by the women's final at 3.

A one-day general admission ticket is $20 and a full-day event pass is $55. Reserved seating is also available.


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