Sean Scott and John Hyden, shown during the Manhattan Beach Open in August,… (Harry How / Getty Images )
It's been an unbelievable season for Sean Scott and John Hyden, give or take one bad chicken sandwich, but Saturday was a rough time for one of the top U.S. beach volleyball teams.
Scott and Hyden were bounced into the losers bracket of the Hermosa Beach Open after Matt Prosser and John Mayer beat them in the double-elimination tournament of the Jose Cuervo series, 16-21, 22-20, 15-13.
The only thing preventing Scott and Hyden from winning every U.S. tournament they've entered this season is Scott's bout with food poisoning two weeks ago in a National Volleyball League event in Miami. Scott and Hyden will have to win a hefty four matches Sunday to capture their ninth title sprinkled among three U.S. tours.
Two hours after their loss, Scott smiled warmly. Things could be worse. At least he didn't feel physically ill.
"We've got a long day Sunday," he said.
Saturday was a breakthrough for Prosser and Mayer, who estimated they had been 0-10 against Hyden and Scott. The crowd, sensing an upset, tilted toward Prosser and Mayer in the second set.
"Everyone loves an underdog," Prosser said. "It's great to beat them. They've been beating everyone all season, especially us."
Prosser and Mayer advanced to the semifinals of the winners bracket and will play Matt Fuerbringer and Nick Lucena on Sunday morning. In the other winners' semifinal, Casey Jennings and Pedro Salgado play Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal.
This figured to be an important tournament for Scott and Hyden, who have done much better in the U.S. than the more competitive international tour.
They are tied for 74th in the world rankings because they've played only two international events together, unsuccessfully, getting knocked out immediately in Shanghai and finishing 17th in Quebec.
They can prove themselves this weekend against two strong U.S. teams that have played primarily on the international tour this season. Gibb and Rosenthal are ranked No. 8 in the world, Fuerbringer and Lucena are ninth.
The top U.S. team of Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers isn't playing this weekend because Rogers recently had knee surgery.
"If you had asked me going into this season, I wouldn't say we'd have the kind of season we've had," Scott said. "Hopefully we can fight back" Sunday.
The women's tournament at Hermosa had no such surprises Saturday.
Top-seeded Jennifer Kessy and April Ross didn't drop a set in advancing to the winners' semifinals, where they face Whitney Pavlik and Jenny Kropp.
Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Hanson play Nicole Branagh and Lisa Rutledge in the other winners' semifinal.
Kessy and Ross are fifth in the world in international rankings. Fendrick and Hanson are 10th.
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, the top U.S. team, aren't playing this weekend because Walsh recently had shoulder surgery.