Storm ends St. Petersburg beach tourney early

ST. PETERSBURG — Spectators packed Vinoy Park in antici­pation of the final time 2012 Olympic silver medalists Jennifer Kessy and April Ross would play beach volleyball together.

Ross was tabbed by three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings for the 2016 Olympics; Kessy is reducing her schedule to focus on her family.

The pair hoped the St. Petersburg Open would be the perfect swan song. But heavy winds and rain arrived during the men's final. And after a delay of about 2½ hours, officials suspended it and canceled the women's final, which was scheduled to start afterward.

"It was in the best interest for the safety of the players and fans," AVP public relations director Greg Ball said.

The men will resume their match Sept. 26 in Santa Barbara, Calif., prior to the Santa Barbara Open. No. 2 seed Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson won the first game 22-20 but trailed No. 3 Theodore Brunner and Nick Lucena 11-10 in the second.

The women's final, No. 1 Kessy and Ross against No. 7 Emily Day and Summer Ross, will not be played. The teams will split the first- and second-place prize money and points.

Kessy and April Ross outlasted No. 4 Brittany Hochevar and Lauren Fendrick 21-17, 19-21, 15-10 to reach the final. Day and Summer Ross beat No. 2 Walsh Jennings and Whitney Pavlik for the sixth straight time, 22-20, 21-17, in the other semifinal.

For the men, Brunner and Lucena upset No. 1 Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal 15-21, 21-19, 15-10 in the first semifinal, and Gibb and Patterson beat No. 5 Tri Bourne and John Hyden 22-24, 21-17, 15-2.

St. Petersburg's Raquel Ferreira and Sarasota's Kristen Batt had eight match points against Walsh Jennings and Pavlik in the quarterfinals but couldn't convert, falling 18-21, 27-25, 15-8.

"We were happy that we played well," Ferreira said. "But it's very frustrating when you play that well and you have the chance to finish the match and you don't."

Storm ends St. Petersburg beach tourney early 09/15/13 [Last modified: Sunday, September 15, 2013 8:45pm]

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