By Jon D. Gaede, BVN Sports –
The Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) showcased their phenomenal talent as the Queen Merry provided the backdrop in Long Beach.
A smaller 16 team main draw competed for the chance to reach the finals on Sunday. The fans that made the trip to Shoreline Drive were treated to competitive matches in both the men’s and women’s divisions.
ESPN 2 provided the nation wide telecast as former UCLA and Olympic teammates Jenny Johnson Jordan and Annette Davis battled reigning olympic gold medalist Misty May- Treanor and her partner Nicole Branagh, in the final.
To reach the finals, Johnson and Jordan won a tough three set match over Elaine Youngs and Rachel Scott. With several extended family members on hand, including former olympian Rafer Johnson, they created quite roar as their girls earned a spot in the final winning 19-21, 21-13 and 18-16.
Johnson and Davis have kept their playing relationship intact for 12 years. They are rarely out of the top ten in points and have been among the top three teams many times. Easily the most athletic gifted duo on the beach and a threat to win when they make to a Sunday final.
As the sun made it’s full appearance at Stadium Court on Sunday, Jenny and Annette would face an experienced May- Treanor and Branaugh. Misty May-Treanor, the current Olympic gold medal champion partnered with Nicole Branaugh while her usual partner, Kerry Walsh recovers from having a baby.
In Game one, Davis and Jordan kept it close at 8-6 until a put down by May-Treanor seemed to give her team momentum. They capitalized on the energy to win game one 21-16. In game two, Jordan and Davis. played longer points and seemed to communicate better as a Jordan serve tied the game at 7-7.
Down 18-16 late in game two, Jenny Jordan executed an outstanding kill into the corner.
Following a timeout and still down 20-18, Nicole Branaugh put the ball away to win the match.
Ultimately, Davis and Jordan will look at the quantity of uncharacteristic loose sets at the net, that ultimately gave key points to their opponents. Davis and Jordan will now travel with family in-tow to Pier 32 in San Francisco, when the AVP tour resumes in August. On the men’s side, reigning Olympic gold medalist’s Todd Rogers and Phil Dahlhausser defeated the team of John Hyden and Sean Scott in three games to take the Long Beach title.
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