HUNTINGTON BEACH — Emily Day and Brittany Hochevar had already blasted through the first set of their AVP Huntington Beach Open championship match late Sunday afternoon against Betsi Flint and Kelley Larson, but things were getting squirrely in the second set when rain started coming down.
Day took off her sunglasses.
“I wanted to make sure I was seeing clearly,” the Loyola Marymount and West Torrance High grad said. “I also didn’t want to see the momentum to start shifting. Sometimes, weather will do that.”
Hochevar took on the challenge.
“To me, that just thickened the plot,” the veteran beach player out of Long Beach State said. “I think it was telling the story (of the match) quite beautifully. We wanted to make sure we drove the nail in the coffin and didn’t let anything linger in case that opened things up. Then you have to deal with a whole new animal.”
Not long later, Day and Hochevar, the top seeds in the tournament, finished off their run with a 21-13, 21-19 triumph over the sixth-seeded Flint-Larson and perhaps gave the AVP a reason to believe they’re worthy of being called the top women’s team for some time to come.
In winning all five of their matches, Day-Hochevar gained another bit of confidence as they partner domestically as well as in international play, not far removed from winning last July’s Manhattan Beach Open as the sixth seed.
“Once you learn to win, it gets easier and easier,” said the 35-year-old Hochevar, who has been the partner of some of the AVP’s most dominant players in recent years, including Kerri Walsh Jennings, Holly McPeak, Nicole Branagh and Misty May-Treanor.
“With the butterflies and nerves I had in Manhattan Beach, I know I can play any match, any time, any sport (after that),” said Day, the 29-year-old playing her third AVP match, and ninth overall, with Hochevar and compiling a 16-3 match record together.
Coming in seeded first gave Day and Hochevar a personal challenge – would…