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AVP Finals Sunday at West Beach

It was a routine day for beach volleyball champions Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser, and an adventurous one for Misty May-Treanor and Nicole Branagh, as both top-seeded teams advanced Saturday to the semifinals of the AVP Nivea Tour Santa Barbara Open at West Beach.

Rogers and Dalhausser swept a pair of foes — the Brazilian tandem of Pedro Brazao/Fred Souza and U.S. rivals Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal — and have now won 18 consecutive games on the tour that began at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, two weeks ago. Seeking their third title in Santa Barbara, they will play an 11:45 a.m. semifinal Sunday against either John Hyden/Sean Scott or Paul Baxter/Austin Rester. The latter teams will launch Sunday’s action at 9:30 a.m.

Third-seeded Matt Fuerbringer/Nick Lucena also kept their record clean and achieved a semifinal berth against either Gibb/Rosenthal or Will Strickland/Aaron Wachtfogel.

The men’s final is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and will be televised live on ESPN2.

May-Treanor/Branagh stayed on track for their second consecutive championship on the women’s side, but not without a struggle. They had to come from behind to defeat Diane DeNecochea/Brittany Hochevar (19-21, 21-19, 15-11) and Annett Davis/Jenny Johnson Jordan (16-21, 24-22, 15-9). Davis and Johnson Jordan won the women’s crown here in 2008. They stayed alive in the contenders’ bracket, as did DeNecochea/Hochevar.

Rachel Scott and Elaine Youngs won their winners’ bracket final over Jen Kessy/April Ross to fill another semifinal slot. The women’s semis are scheduled for 11:45 a.m., and their final will be played after the men’s at 4:30 p.m.

In the CBS Collegiate Beach Championships, UCSB’s team of Becca Saraceno/Lauren McLaughlin stayed in contention Saturday by winning two matches after coming out of pool play as the 11th seed. They will face Noelle Bay/Trisha Belcher of Florida’s Webber International University at 9 a.m. Sunday, with a semifinal berth at state. Top-seeded Loyola Marymount and Hawaii already have teams in the semis. The college final will be at 1 p.m. in the stadium court.

Saturday’s matches were played in bright sunshine, with breezes that moderated the heat and scrubbed the beachside vistas of the mountains and the islands.


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