April Ross Wins AVP Huntington Beach Open with Lauren Fendrick|
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Sept. 14, 2015
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. -- For the fifth time this summer, a Trojan woman claimed the title on the AVP tour. Olympic silver medalist and three-time USC All-American April Ross earned her fourth AVP crown of 2015 and the 24th of her career as she and first-time partner Lauren Fendrick teamed to take the Kingston AVP Huntington Beach Open Championship on Sunday, Sept. 13, at the Huntington Beach Pier. In the process, Ross became the first woman ever to win AVP titles with three different partners in the same season.
Previously, Ross joined forces with Jennifer Fopma to win the Manhattan Beach Open (Aug. 16) and the Seattle Open (Aug. 9) and started the summer with partner Kerri Walsh Jennings to claim the New Orleans Open title (May 24). Trojan All-American Jennifer Kessy teamed with Emily Day to win the New York City Open (July 19). On the men's side USC alum Tri Bourne--fresh off a title run with partner John Hyden at the Cincinnati Open--claimed the AVP men's Huntington Beach crown.
Ross, whose partners have either been injured or are in the process of rehabilitation from injury, paired with Fendrick for the first time but had faced Fendrick many times from the other side of the net. In 2014, the two competitors met in AVP finals five out of seven times. The newly-formed duo knocked off the top-seeded pair of Nicole Branagh and Jenny Kropp, 21-19, 23-21, to win the season-ending tournament crown. It is the third overall (second consecutive) Huntington Beach title for Ross, who has now won 11 of the 12 AVP events that she has played over the past two seasons. Beginning with her AVP win in Huntington Beach in 2010 with Jennifer Kessy, Ross has won 20 of her last 25 AVP tournaments.
Seeded 11th by virtue of their new partnership, Ross and Fendrick became the first tandem to win an AVP tournament while paired for the first time since Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs won the 2002 Huntington Beach event. Fendrick was a finalist in Huntington Beach in 2013 with Brittany Hochevar. While she starred for UCLA's indoor volleyball team as an undergraduate, Fendrick also has USC ties. She is the wife of USC volunteer assistant coach Andrew Fuller and holds a law degree from USC's famed Gould School of Law.
Ross and Fendrick put an end to the feel-good story of the tournament as they defeated three-time reigning Olympic gold medalist and 66-time AVP tournament champion Misty May-Treanor, a former USC assistant coach (2014), and Hochevar, 21-15, 21-15, in the semifinals. May-Treanor, a five-time AVP champion in Huntington Beach, made her first AVP Tour appearance in Southern California, and second overall, since retiring from professional beach volleyball following her gold medal triumph at the 2012 London Olympics.
Seeded No. 2, Day and Kessy were eliminated in the other semifinal, 21-16, 21-17, by Branagh and Kropp. Fresh off their first AVP finals appearance in Cincinnati, the third-seeded duo of USC alumna Geena Urango and partner Angela Bensend finished tied for ninth as quarterfinalists in the winners' bracket. A member of USC's 2015 AVCA championship squad, Meg Norton paired with Julie Consani (UCLA) to play in the qualifier, but did not advance.
The Kingston AVP Championships at Huntington Beach has as strong a heartbeat as any event on the AVP Tour. Having completed its 15th AVP tournament in the past 16 years at the Huntington Beach pier, no city has hosted more AVP action this century than Huntington Beach.
ABOUT THE AVP Established in 1983, the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) produces, markets and distributes volleyball events worldwide, including the popular AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour. While promoting family-oriented events and supporting a healthy lifestyle, the AVP is best known for its world-class athletes, who have won numerous Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in the Olympic games. The AVP headquarters are in Costa Mesa, Calif.
ABOUT USC BEACH VOLLEYBALL The No. 1-ranked USC beach volleyball team went undefeated (28-0) to claim the program's first team championship and the 123rd overall team national title in the school's history. All-Americans Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes completed the collegiate season with a 44-3 record and won the AVCA Pairs Championship to mark the third consecutive year that a Trojan pair won the national crown.
For information on the USC beach volleyball team, please visit USCTrojans.com and follow @USCBeachVBall on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.