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Sean Scott-John Hyden continue winning ways at Manhattan Beach

They stay unbeaten in U.S. events this year, beating Brad Keenan and Billy Allen, 21-18, 21-13. Jenny Kropp and Whitney Pavlik win women's final, 21-13, 22-20, over Jennifer Fopma and Tracy Jones.

August 28, 2011|By Baxter Holmes
  • Sean Scott stretches to save the ball in front of teammate John Hyden during the final of the Manhattan Beach Open on Sunday.
Sean Scott stretches to save the ball in front of teammate John Hyden during… (Harry How / Getty Images )

Last year, Sean Scott and John Hyden reached the final of the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals' last event before it ran out of money and shut down its tour.

They lost, and it stung more so than usual.

"I remember going, 'If this was my last beach volleyball event, it would've been nice to go out with a win,' " Scott said.

But entering this year, the duo came up with a scheme.

"We knew to make a living at this sport in a transition year, we've got to win every tournament," Hyden said.

They have done just that in all six U.S. tournaments they have played in this year, their latest win coming Sunday in the Manhattan Beach Open. The top-seeded duo beat Brad Keenan and Billy Allen, 21-18, 21-13.

Along the way, Scott and Hyden have earned $45,125, including $17,000 at Manhattan Beach. Attendance for the tournament's final day was 17,000, with 35,000 total for the three-day event.

The duo have won with such a workmanlike approach that deejays have begun playing Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" as they walk out.

"That's pretty much how it is," Hyden said. "If we come out and we take care of business on our side like we know we can, then we're going to win."

That's what they did all tournament, winning every match but one in minimum sets.

"They're not a fun team to go up against," Allen said.

In the final match, the teams were tied only once: 12-12 in the first set.

Scott, with his exceptional blocks, and Hyden, with his ability to earn a dig from anywhere on the court, controlled the match.

The match-winning point came, fittingly, via a Scott block, giving him and Hyden their first Manhattan Beach Open title. Scott has twice finished second at the event.

It was also a special day for Scott's wife, Rachel, coach for the top-seeded duo of Jenny Kropp and Whitney Pavlik, who won the women's final, 21-13, 22-20, against Jennifer Fopma and Tracy Jones.

"This tournament, we wanted to win it so bad and have our name on the pier," Kropp said, after her team won the $17,000 first-place prize.

The team didn't drop a single set all tournament, largely behind Kropp, a dominating blocker. The teams met Saturday, and Fopma and Jones fought back through the losers' bracket for a rematch in the final, which was decided when Jones cut the ball into the net at match point.

Jones was still happy despite the loss because she's a teacher at Mesa View Middle School in Huntington Beach, and a few of her students were on the Ocean View team that won the Little League World Series against Japan on Sunday.

The Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series, which includes Manhattan Beach, has two more events this year, in Miami on Sept. 16-18 and in Hermosa Beach on Sept. 23-25.

baxter.holmes@latimes.com

twitter.com/baxterholmes

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