Misty May-Treanor turns back clock to reach beach volleyball semifinals with Brittany Hochevar

Misty May-Treanor, a native of Costa Mesa, goes for the ball against China in the women's beach volleyball gold-medal match at the 2008 Olympics.

Misty May-Treanor, a native of Costa Mesa, goes for the ball against China in the women’s beach volleyball gold-medal match at the 2008 Olympics.

(Natacha Pisarenko / Associated Press)

Three matches in one day isn’t how Misty May-Treanor would prefer to spend her weekends.

The beach volleyball icon is mostly retired and, at 38, admits that she’s long removed from her last Olympics three years ago.

May-Treanor joked that when she checks into the medical tent the exam includes “everything vitals and EKG.” She points to the young talent on the AVP tour, but Saturday proved that that talent still has to contend with the three-time Olympic gold medalist.

May-Treanor and Brittany Hochevar on Saturday advanced to the semifinals of the Kingston AVP Championships in Huntington Beach by winning three matches in the losers’ bracket, the last a straight-set win over Kelley Larsen and Betsi Metter Flint.


It helped Hochevar and May-Treanor that it was an overcast afternoon.

“I texted her on the way over that ‘our third teammate showed up, and it was the clouds,’” Hochevar said.

This is May-Treanor’s second event since she retired following the 2012 Olympics, although she said she remains mainly retired from international competition. She still displays the court instincts and touch that earned her those Olympic three gold medals, and the tournament brings back memories from her younger days.

“For me, this beach has a special meaning,” May-Treanor said. “This beach is a community and it’s fun because the fans understand volleyball. They love the sport.”

May-Treanor and Hochevar did not partner up until Monday because Hochevar’s usual partner, Jen Fopma, is dealing with a family situation. The two are uniquely intertwined because May-Treanor’s husband, Matt, is a former major league catcher, and Hochevar’s brother, Luke, is a pitcher for the Kansas City Royals. In fact they were big league teammates in 2011, and Matt Treanor caught Luke Hochevar in Royals games.

On the court, Brittany Hochevar missed May-Treanor by a year at Long Beach State, but the two roomed together during Hochevar’s senior season.

“Everybody said I replaced her, but you can’t replace something like that,” Hochevar said. “It was a matter of me, too, finding who I was as a player.”

They had one practice together before the tournament but moved through the bracket as the 12th-seeded duo.

“The more you get to stay on the court, the more you play, the more you learn about each other,” May-Treanor said. “It says a lot for us to come back from first, last and have to go through the losers’ bracket.”

April Ross and Lauren Fendrick also advanced with a win against second-seeded Jennifer Kessy and Emily Day in one of the best matches of the day. Ross, an Olympic silver medalist, is attempting to win three titles with three partners this season. Her usual partner, Kerri Walsh Jennings, is recovering from shoulder surgery, and this is her first tournament with Fendrick.

Day and Kessy later advanced through the losers’ bracket.

The top three seeds held form on the men’s side. Local favorites and defending champions Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson advanced and will play Tri Bourne and John Hyden.

Seventh-seeded Taylor and Trevor Crabb advanced on the other side of the bracket.