While most all of the nation’s elite beach volleyball players have been competing overseas this season, John Hyden and Sean Scott have opted to stay home instead.
These family men, who have played in just two international events this year, are smoking the player ranks on the American homefront. Today’s win at the legendary Manhattan Beach Open marks the sixth time they’ve walked away with the winner’s check this year. They earned a coveted plaque spot on the Manhattan Beach pier with their hard-fought win over Billy Allen and Brad Keenan, 21-18, 21-13.
Long accustomed to progressing to the final rounds at Association of Volleyball Professionals tournaments during the 2009 – 2010 seasons, the pair questioned their futures in the aftermath of this once dominating tour’s bankruptcy last fall.
At the season opening NVL event at the Preakness Stakes, Scott said, “It was a long offseason. As soon as we heard that the tours were on and that the money was there, we decided to play.”
And “play” they have, winning not only this inaugural tour’s opener, but four Corona Light Wide Open events, as well as this weekend’s Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series tournament.
Ten of their top-ranked peers, including Beijing Olympics gold medalists Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser, have been jet-setting all over the world in their quest for the London Olympics. And rightly so. for the past few Olympic Games, the top two men’s and women’s pairings punched tickets to these quadrennial events through this international play only.
Since these FIVB beach volleyball events have often conflicted with the domestic competitions, their paths have seldom crossed with the track Hyden and Scott have followed.
While an “implicit asterisk” marks these six victories over lesser-ranked teams, the duo’s dominance is cause for alarm among the travellers who will finally be returning to the States for a string of September events. After all,Hyden and Scott have high hopes to represent Team USA in London next summer too.
Although USA Volleyball has yet to announce its long-promised Olympics qualification process, which will likely rely on a U.S. Olympic Trials style event instead, this tandem is hoping the course they have pursued will position them for a run at the Games.
“We’ve been working hard for this (success). We’re doing what we love to do, and making money for our families,” said Scott.
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