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Kerri Walsh Jennings-April Ross advance at AVP Championships

Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson, the top-seeded men's team, also move on to play in Sunday's semifinals at Huntington Beach.

October 20, 2013|By Diane Pucin
  • April Ross, left, and Kerri Walsh Jennings defeated Annett Davis and Morgan Miller, 19-21, 21-19, 15-13, to advance to the semifinals of the AVP Championships beach volleyball tournament in Huntington Beach on Saturday.
April Ross, left, and Kerri Walsh Jennings defeated Annett Davis and Morgan… (Rafael Neddermeyer / Getty…)

Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross, the top-seeded women's team at the AVP Championships beach volleyball tournament in Huntington Beach, lost a set Saturday but not a match.

Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson, the top-seeded men's duo that is on a four-tournament winning streak, had to work much harder.

Gibb and Patterson, who wears a mohawk, same as his two young sons, lost their first match Saturday but came back to win two more and advance to Sunday's semifinals.

After losing to eighth-seeded Brad Keenan and John Mayer, 21-19, 12-21, 15-13, in their first match Saturday, Gibb and Patterson recovered to first beat 12th-seeded Pedro Brazao and Steve Grotkowski, 21-19, 21-16, and then seventh-seeded Ryan Doherty and 2008 Olympics gold medalist Todd Rogers, 21-16, 21-17, to advance to Sunday's semifinals.

If Walsh Jennings and Ross win the championship Sunday, Walsh Jennings would capture her 113th career tournament, the most in the history of the sport. She's tied with her former partner Misty May-Treanor, now retired, with 112. Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor won 104 of those together.

Walsh Jennings and Ross beat Annett Davis and Morgan Miller, who is married to Olympic skier Bode Miller, 19-21, 21-19, 15-13, to advance to the semifinals, which begin at 12:15 p.m. Sunday.

In the men's semifinals, Gibb and Patterson will face fourth-seeded Theodore Brunner and Nick Lucena, and No. 3-seeded Tri Bourne and John Hyden will play eighth-seeded Brad Keenan and John Mayer.

In the women's semifinals, Walsh Jennings and Ross will go against third-seeded Lauren Fendrick and Brittany Hochevar, and second-seeded Emily Day and Summer Ross will take on fourth-seeded Jennifer Fopma and Brook Sweat.

The men's final will begin at 3 p.m., and the women's final will follow.

Gibb and Patterson pack the courts with their demonstrative personalities and crowd-friendly gestures.

Patterson is from Newbury Park and now lives in Huntington Beach after attending Brigham Young.

When he was at the University of Utah, Gibb played golf and basketball and didn't start playing volleyball until he was 21, when he paired with his twin brother, Coleman.

At one moment in their match against Brazao and Grotkowski, Gibb and Patterson celebrated a point they thought they'd won, but the ball came back and they hung their heads. But not for long.

Between their second and third matches of the day, Gibb and Patterson were told by their trainer to sit in the Pacific Ocean for about 10 minutes. Gibb said the water was freezing, but the pair did as they were told. It worked.

Walsh Jennings, who won three Olympic gold medals with May-Treanor, said she and Ross lost the first set against Davis and Miller mostly because of their mistakes. But she also gave credit to the opponents for being "big and strong."

"We were a little tentative and kind of wanted to see what they were going to do," Walsh Jennings said. "In the second and third sets we had a better plan. We served more to Morgan because she's a little green.

Ross agreed. She said she and Walsh Jennings "made too many mistakes" in the first set but that overall in the 55-minute match the pair, playing together for the first time this season, became stronger.

diane.pucin@latimes.com

Twitter: @mepucin

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