AVP Hermosa Beach

Miles Evans, Ryan Doherty “Exactly Where” They Want to Be: Sunday’s AVP Hermosa Beach Finals

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“This,” Miles Evans said in the immediate moments after stunning David Lee and Sean Rosenthal in the AVP Hermosa semifinals, “is exactly where I want to be.”

Had you asked him not 10 minutes before, his answer would have varied quite differently. He and Ryan Doherty, in their first tournament as partners, were down 10-14 at the freeze. Worse, they were down to Rosenthal, Hermosa’s very own. When Rosenthal came on SANDCAST earlier in the year, and Tri Bourne mentioned that many of the top teams in the U.S. would be in Tokyo instead, and therefore missing Hermosa, he rubbed his hands together and grinned.

So everyone would be gone, huh?

Hermosa, then, would be Rosie’s time.

For all of the fanfare Superman justifiably receives in Hermosa, he had never won a tournament at his home beach.

So no, being down 10-14 at the freeze, to the most well-loved beach volleyball player in the South Bay, in the first tournament with a new partner, is likely not exactly where Evans wanted to be on Sunday late morning. Things change. Swiftly. Massively. And, sometimes, microscopically.

Three times did Evans survive on shots that either missed by a quarter inch or landed in bounds by possibly less than that. Rosenthal missed an ace for the match by a distance shorter than one of Evans’ mustache hairs. Doherty mis-hit a line shot that somehow sputtered and tumbled its way to the back millimeter of the line, again saving the match by a breath-holding margin.

That’s the way these things go sometimes. And sometimes, too, there is no doubt left. Doherty’s block on Lee to seal the comeback, an epic one, to be sure, and further evidence that this scoring freeze on match point is indeed quite a delight for the fans, was in by a mile.

“Is trying to stay on your feet an emotion?” Doherty said. “I don’t know if that one counts, but it’s pretty warm out here and we’re working real hard. The good thing about playing with Miles is that he’s like the energizer bunny, hyping everything up. It makes it easy to get fired up for the one or two points that you needed. They missed some balls by a quarter of an inch and that was enough for us.”

Enough to get them into Sunday’s finals, at 2 p.m. in Hermosa Beach. Not a bad showing for Evans, in just his second AVP main draw. Not a bad showing for the new partnership.

A partnership that, against a fair amount of odds, is exactly where it wants to be.

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