Beach Volleyball: Fuerbringer in town

Daily Pilot

Matt Fuerbringer, the former Estancia High standout, has been making the most of his new team this year in beach volleyball.

The 36-year-old Fuerbringer, who has been teamed the last seven years with Casey Jennings, is now partnered this year with Nick Lucena.

The two have had success in the first two Assn. of Volleyball Professional events of the season: they shared a co-men's title with Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers at the rained-out Fort Lauderdale final April 18, and finished third May 2 in Santa Barbara.

They'll try to build off those finishes in the four-day Huntington Beach Open that begins at 8 a.m. today with men's and women's open qualifier competition. The men's and women's main draw starts at 9 a.m. Friday. Both the open qualifier and main draw run daily until approximately 6 p.m.

The main draw continues from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and again from 8:45 p.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. The women's final is set for 11 a.m. Sunday, followed by the men's final at 1 p.m.

Fuerbringer and Lucena have played on the international tour the last few weeks, as Fuerbringer returned Sunday from tour stops in Poland, China and Brazil.

Fuerbringer said he and Lucena, 30, head into the Huntington Beach Open as the No. 3 men's seed.

"We're having a great time so far and I like this partnership," Fuerbringer said of Lucena. "Nick's a really good kid who works hard and is very professional. We're both hard workers and we both want to win."

The 6-foot-8 Fuerbringer was a four-time All-American at Stanford and played five years professionally (indoor volleyball) in Europe before playing on the AVP tour. In his first full year on tour, he won the Rookie of the Year honor in 2003.

He has won six times on the AVP, all with Jennings, and has made more than $400,000 in earnings.

One title he'd like to win, and one that has eluded him, is the Huntington Beach Open.

"I really, really want it," he said. "I've never even made it to a final there. I want to play Center Court in Huntington Beach. I'll have a lot of family and friends, and mentors who got me into volleyball, there this weekend. It'd be cool to put on a show for them, show them how much I appreciate their support and what they've done for me."

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