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    AVP’s Hermosa Beach Pro Open features competition as deep as the sand
    • July 7, 2023

    The AVP tour returns to Hermosa Beach this week, one of the pro beach volleyball tour’s most popular traditional stops since 1984, and several teams appear capable of emerging on top.

    The 16-team Hermosa Beach Pro Open men’s and women’s brackets feature former champions, Olympic medalists and collegiate stars who are sure to be tested during the double-elimination event.

    “This event has got to be my favorite. Most of us trained down in Hermosa,” said Hagen Smith, a former UCLA setter who is seeded 10th with partner Logan Webber. “Just the whole event in general is awesome. So this is a really big one for me, and I’m super excited to try and build off of what we did last year.”

    Smith, who grew up in Pacific Palisades, and Webber are coming off a win at the Virginia Beach Tour Series event just a few weeks ago.

    “Each time we practice, each time we get out there, each time we travel, we’re understanding each other (better) as people and as players,” Smith said. “As that keeps going, as we keep playing together, which I think we will do for a little bit, or hopefully for a while, it is just going to keep getting better and better.”

    Smith is the son of volleyball legend Sinjin Smith, who won four consecutive FIVB tour titles (1989-92) with longtime partner Randy Stoklos and has 139 career pro beach wins (129 domestic). Hagen Smith said having his father at his side has been invaluable.

    “For a long time, he tried to get me to play tennis and to go into that professionally and I said ‘No, Dad, I want to play volleyball like you,’” Hagen Smith said. “I have him as a resource, where I can go and tap into him and be like, ‘Hey, this is where I’m playing, what advice do you have for me?’ … And so having that wealth of knowledge is super, super helpful.”

    This year’s tournament did not include a qualifying round to get into the main draw.

    Tri Bourne and Chaim Schalk, who won the Pro Series event in New Orleans in April, are the top-seeded duo this week. Theo Brunner and Trevor Crabb are seeded No. 2, Taylor Crabb and T.S. Sander are seeded No. 3 and Chase Budinger and Miles Evans are seeded fourth.

    The 16-team women’s bracket is just as deep, with Kelley Kolinske and partner Hailey Harward seeded No. 1. The duo just won the Denver Tour Series event, and Kolinske has had South Bay success before, winning last year’s prestigious Manhattan Beach Open alongside Sara Hughes.

    The fourth-seeded duo of Lili Maestrini and Larissa Maestrini and the 12th-seeded team of Macy Jerger and Megan Rice are the only other teams in the field who have won an AVP event together. Megan Kraft and Emily Stockman are the No. 2 seed, and Deahna Kraft and Zana Muno are seeded third.

    Play begins Friday at 9 a.m. at the Hermosa Beach Pier. Friday and Saturday will feature competition from 9 a.m. until approximately 5 p.m. with the men’s and women’s semifinals and championship matches scheduled for Sunday.

    All main draw matches can be streamed on ESPN+ and all matches played on Courts 1 and 2 will be available on Bally Sports.

    Admission is free, with premium seating available for purchase.

    “Beach volleyball is such an integral part of Hermosa Beach, and we feel honored to be back competing in the heart of such a vibrant area that deeply values the sport of beach volleyball,” AVP CEO Al Lau said in a press release.

    “We’re looking forward to an exciting week in the South Bay.”

    The Men’s field is set for Hermosa Beach! New Orleans winners Chaim Schalk and Tri Bourne are, once again, the top-seeded team!

    — AVP (@avpbeach) July 6, 2023

    Fresh off their win at the Denver Open, Kelley Kolinske and Hailey Harward are headlining the Women’s bracket as the number one-seeded team. This team of Pepperdine and USC alums will open the tournament by taking on a pair of crosstown rivals….

    — AVP (@avpbeach) July 6, 2023

    ​ Orange County Register