Two tandems reach semifinal rounds at Virginia Beach Open
July 15, 2013 | Lynchburg, Va.
Liberty University's men's tandem of Ryan Culkin and Mike Morrison and women's pair of Sarah Gogerty and Tinsley Zentmeyer advanced to the semifinals of the AA bracket at Saturday's Virginia Beach Open beach volleyball tournament.
Gogerty and Zentmeyer went 4-2 in pool play before winning three matches to reach the semifinals of their 10-team bracket. Culkin and Morrison finished 3-3 in pool play to make the seven-team tournament field and won their first two matches before being eliminated.
"They definitely have come a long way," head coach Drew Sherwood said. "I was satisfied and they were satisfied with how they placed."
They left no doubt as to which two teams Sherwood will take to next week's National Collegiate Sand Volleyball Association play-in event in Long Beach, Calif.
"Both teams are ready for nationals and I think they'll do really well for us," Sherwood said.
The Virginia Beach tournament, sponsored by the Tidewater Volleyball Association on Sixth through 10th Streets of the oceanfront, was an open and not a collegiate event and offered some of the strongest opposition Liberty has faced this summer.
More than 60 teams competed in three brackets — A, AA, and Open. Pool play started at 9 a.m. and the championship matches didn't end until around 7 p.m.
"It was one of the better contests we've competed in, other than down in Florida (in late June), where our two teams didn't even make the tournament field," Sherwood said.
This time, all four of Liberty's men's teams and all three of the Lady Flames' tandems made it out of their respective pools — three men's and two women's duos competed in the AA bracket while the other two teams dueled in the A division — into the championship tournament.
The four men's teams (including Joel Marselus and David Hong; Ethan Chase and Kevin Snyder; and Jeremy Gilbert and Steven Fawcett) all went 3-3 and the three women's teams (including Morgan Jones and Kara Matthews; and Amanda Taylor and Gabbie Reda) all finished 4-2 in round-robin play. Those three men's teams and two women's pairs each lost in the first round of bracket competition, however.
Sherwood will accompany Gogerty and Zentmeyer as well as Culkin and Morrison to Long Beach, Calif., next Wednesday before the national tournament play-in event on July 26. Only the women's and men's play-in champions will earn the last bid into the July 27 national championship tournament field.