HERMOSA BEACH — Terese Cannon and Sarah Sponcil entered the 2022 AVP Tour Hermosa Beach Open having played 45 AVP tournaments between them.
So win No. 1 was a long time coming — for both.
With a two-set win over Kelly Cheng and Betsi Flint on Sunday, Cannon and Sponcil — the top seed in the women’s tournament — notched a long-awaited win on the AVP tour.
“I’ve been dreaming about this for a really long time so to actually go out and execute, it feels amazing,” Cannon said.
Sponcil said the emotions came out after the win.
“To do it with [Cannon] is such a treat,” Sponcil said. “I love playing with her and I hope there’s many more to come.”
Cannon and Sponcil became teammates just this year. In their second AVP tournament after placing fifth at the Austin Open earlier this year, they found a winning formula, rolling through the Hermosa Beach lineup.
They won the first set over Cheng and Flint 21-12 and the second set 21-15, with a .458 hitting percentage compared to .111 for Cheng and Flint. Cheng and Flint also committed 13 errors to just two for Cannon and Sponcil.
Sponcil had 15 digs to fend off their opponents’ attacks.
“She gets locked and loaded and there’s not a ball that can touch the sand,” Cannon said of Sponcil. “She digs everything and it’s absolutely incredible.”
The women’s final featured the top two seeds in the tournament. All four went to local colleges — Cannon and Cheng went to USC, Sponcil to UCLA and Flint to Loyola Marymount — with Cannon and Sponcil teaming up after being rivals in college.
“I’m glad she’s on my side now,” Cannon said of Sponcil.
Both teams needed dramatic third set wins in the semifinals to reach the finals, with Cannon and Sponcil defeating Sara Hughes and Kelley Kolinske in the third set 17-15 and Cheng and Flint beating Julia Scoles and Geena Urango 16-14.
Cheng also played with Sponcil from 2019 to 2021, which included a trip to the Tokyo Olympics.
This was the first time the tournament was held at Hermosa Beach since 2019, with the pandemic forcing the AVP to leave the popular beach volleyball spot off the truncated schedule the last two years.
The players said they fed off the fans, who packed the grandstand all weekend.
“COVID was just hard,” Sponcil said. “You get so much energy from the fans, whether they’re rooting for you or not rooting for you, it’s just a fun atmosphere. Beach volleyball is all about the fans and to have them back is great.”
Cannon called the atmosphere “incredible.”
“It’s just so fun,” Cannon said. “There’s something special about Hermosa Beach.”