Belmar, N.J. (Sunday, June 24, 2012) – The final day of the Belmar Open was an emotional day met with red cards, contested calls and fierce competition, and the pressure was high enough to stir emotion out of even the calmest athletes. However, the duo that stole the hearts of Belmar was New Jersey hometown favorite Ryan Doherty (Toms River, N.J.) who dominated the entire weekend with Casey Patterson (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and took home their first championship as partners. The No. 1 seeded women’s team Jenny Kropp (Holly Glen, Calif.) and Whitney Pavlik (Laguna Beach, Calif.) continued their streak as they brought home their second consecutive victory in the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series (the first was at last month’s Florida Open). Both teams played with passion and vigorous energy as they claimed their piece of the $100,000 prize purse in front of a stadium that overflowed with spectators who gathered wherever they could to watch the action.
Doherty, who his fans affectionately refer to as “Avatar” for his 7’1” stature, displayed athleticism that extended beyond just the massive blocks that is he best known for at the net. He passed, he dug and swung with power, as Patterson, who was known for his signature Mohawk at the Belmar Open, effectively played defense and didn’t allow even the hardest of kills to get past his digs. Doherty and Patterson defeated No. 1 seed John Mayer and Brad Keenan in Semi Finals this morning before winning the finals against No. 3 seed Adrian Carambula (Miami Beach, Fla.) and Steven Grotowski (Boynton Beach, Fla.), 21-14, 23-21.
“It doesn’t hurt that Ryan is 7’1” but for our first season together and for this only being his first year and a half on the court, we couldn’t be happier. We want to do as much damage out there as possible,” said Patterson. “To play in this tournament is already exciting but to win it is absolutely huge. Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series is lucrative. It allows me to make a living doing what I love doing – playing volleyball.”
Doherty added, “To play in front of my home crowd and friends and family meant everything to me. None of them have seen me play at the pro level and to win my first event in the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series and to win it at home, it shows us that we can do a lot. I’m excited for what we have done, we still have a lot to improve on and I’m ready to get back to work!”
Earlier in the day in front of a full and energetic stadium that broke out into the “wave,” Kropp and Pavlik effectively blocked, killed, dove and strategically placed the ball on the line and corners for the duo to win their second championship this year and third championship overall. The 2011 Manhattan Beach Open champs defeated No. 2 seed Lauren Fendrick (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Brooke Hanson (Woodland Hills, Calif.) in the Semi-Finals and then No. 6 team Raquel Ferreira (Minas Geras, Brazil) and Kristen Batt (Venice, Fla.) in the Finals, 20-22, 21-12 and 15-9.
“We are grateful to play in the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series. They have provided us a tour with great atmosphere, huge turnout and stability for our sport,” said Kropp.
Kropp and Pavlik enjoyed the support of a local cheering section after the two expressed their appreciativeness by acknowledging them at the end of their qualifying matches earlier in the week.
“There were more people on Friday for Qualifiers alone than I’ve ever seen in Belmar in the past. The crowd braved the sun, the rain, thunder and lightning, and brought all of their energy. And today, we had a full stadium with people in the stands, on the sideline and everywhere I looked. It was an amazing weekend,” said Pavlik.
The Belmar Open is the second stop of the seven stops scheduled for 2012, with the next event – the Chicago Open – taking place July 13-15 at Oak Street Beach in Chicago, Ill. Due to the success of the tour in its inaugural year in 2011, the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series has expanded to six stops from its original four.
“This is a very exciting time in the game of beach volleyball and IMG is proud to be a part of this new era in bringing the sport back to the level it deserves to be at,” said James Leitz, senior vice president, IMG and event producer, Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series. “With a strong partnership with Jose Cuervo, the most elite beach volleyball athletes and a fantastic host city like Belmar where the sport is embraced for not just its entertainment value but as a way of life, we are looking forward to coming back and continue delivering beach volleyball and lifestyle to the fans on the East Coast.”
The Belmar Open will broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network on July 1 at 9 p.m. PT / July 2 at 12 a.m. ET.
Produced by IMG Worldwide, Inc., the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series is sponsored by Jose Cuervo and sanctioned by USA Volleyball (USAV), the governing body of the sport.
Detailed information is available at www.