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BEACH VOLLEYBALL

Brad Keenan and Nick Lucena defeat former partners

The duo beat No. 1-seeded John Hyden and Sean Scott, 20-22, 21-17, 17-15 in the fourth round of the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals Manhattan Beach Open.

July 19, 2009|Bill Brink

It took eighth-seeded Brad Keenan and Nick Lucena a while, but they finally beat their former partners.

Keenan, who used to play with John Hyden, and Lucena, who partnered with Sean Scott, beat the No. 1-seeded duo, 20-22, 21-17, 17-15, Saturday in the fourth round of the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals Manhattan Beach Open.

"We didn't beat them [yet] this season and they've been doing well," Lucena said. "We came in with no expectations."

Keenan and Lucena went on to beat fifth-seeded Matt Olson and Kevin Wong, 21-19, 26-24, to advance to today's final four. The second game remained close throughout, but Keenan's serves and blocks helped secure the win.

"It's the best I've seen him play," Lucena said. "He's got a lot of potential to be great and he's showing it right now."

Hyden and Scott defeated Ty Loomis and Casey Patterson, who beat them in the finals at the Coney Island Open, in the loser's bracket. Hyden and Scott used some powerful serves to subdue Loomis and Patterson, and Hyden said it was fortunate both players had their serves locked in.

"When we lost to them in New York and served easy they were able to push the ball to the net, set on top of the net and they were hitting high off Sean's hands the whole time," Hyden said. "We had to get them in trouble passing so their sets are off the net a little further; that way they can't go high hands."

Second-seeded Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers advanced to the final four as well, winning all three of their Saturday matches in the process. They defeated No. 3-seeded Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal, 21-17, 21-15, to reach the final four.

Hyden and Scott defeated No. 13-seeded Ryan Mariano and Ed Ratledge, 21-14, 21-16, and face Gibb and Rosenthal in the quarterfinals today.

No. 7-seeded Matt Fuerbringer and Casey Jennings took Dalhausser and Rogers to a third game after two tight ones, but Dalhausser and Rogers pulled away. Fuerbringer and Jennings won two games in the loser's bracket and play Olson and Wong today.

The top-seeded women's team, Elaine Youngs and Nicole Branagh, won three games en route to the semifinals, including a defeat of fourth-seeded Brooke Hanson and Lisa Rutledge, 21-18, 21-10.

Youngs and Branagh were challenged in earlier matches but utilized well-placed touch shots to win.

"It's trusting each other and knowing our shot-calling is good," Branagh said. "We like to hit hard too, but we'd rather have a good shot."

No. 2-seeded Dianne DeNecochea and Carrie Dodd lost in the quarterfinals to third-seeded Annett Davis and Jenny Johnson Jordan, 21-16, 18-21, 15-12. Davis and Johnson Jordan trailed in the third game before coming back to win.

"Our coach told us that we had lost our minds, so we had to get them back," Davis said. "We started passing better, pushing the ball up to the net, which we weren't doing. I think that was the difference for us."

The win put Davis and Johnson Jordan in the semifinals. Hanson and Rutledge play No. 10-seeded Michelle More and Suzanne Stonebarger in the quarterfinals, and DeNecochea and Dodd face fifth-seeded Priscilla Lima and Tatiana Minello in the quarterfinals.

Play begins today at 8:15 a.m. south of Manhattan Beach pier.

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william.brink@latimes.com

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