Jen Kessy and April Ross advanced to the semifinals, but it was their opponents, Kerri Walsh and Rachel Wacholder, who put on the show.
In their first tournament back on the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals tour, Walsh and Wacholder advanced to the quarterfinals before losing a close match to Kessy and Ross, 21-17, 17-21, 15-13, in the Hermosa Beach Open on Friday.
Walsh and Wacholder both had babies earlier this year. They've been training but four matches in one day took their toll.
"Oh my God," Wacholder sighed when asked how she felt. "Actually, I'm going to fill my bathtub with ice and sit in it tonight. I've never done that before. That's how achy my legs are."
Since the women's side of the tournament ends today, the AVP increased the number of matches the competitors had to play on Friday from three to four.
"I wanted to shoot them when I heard there were more matches," Walsh said. "I need to talk to somebody. I'm like, 'You're killing the moms.' "
Walsh and Wacholder won their first three matches before facing Kessy and Ross, the FIVP world champions who also won their first three matches. After losing the first game, they battled back to win the second and stayed within a point throughout most of the third game.
"It's a huge day, I'm really proud and I'm so [mad] we lost," Walsh said. "But we're going to regroup tomorrow, and I told Jen I want to see her in the final tomorrow and she said absolutely."
Walsh is playing with Wacholder because her longtime partner, Misty May-Treanor, sat out this season to allow a torn Achilles tendon to heal. May-Treanor came to the tournament to support Walsh, though.
"She's such a wonderful support system for me, and it meant a lot to me," Walsh said.
Today, Walsh and Wacholder will play the winner of the match between Barbra Fontana and Jenny Kropp and Dianne DeNecochea and Carrie Dodd in the contender's bracket.
"I think we just need to work on our ball control," Walsh said, adding that ball control is key when fatigue sets in.
Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs advanced to the semifinals along with Kessy and Ross, defeating Annett Davis and Jenny Johnson Jordan, 21-19, 21-19.
In the men's draw, Kevin Wong and Matt Olson defeated Ryan Mariano and Ed Ratledge on Friday and face John Mayer and Jeff Nygaard today.
The top-seeded men's team of Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers advanced to the third round, as did second-seeded John Hyden and Sean Scott. Manhattan Beach Open champions Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal advanced and will face Brad Keenan and Nick Lucena. Matt Fuerbringer and Casey Jennings advanced and play Hyden and Scott, and Ty Loomis and Casey Patterson moved on to play Dalhausser and Rogers.