Mike Morrison (l) and Eyal Zimet win FIVB bronze
Four California beach volleyball players traveled thousands of miles to win medals in an international FIVB tournament in Chennai, India – an emerging high-tech hot spot.

On the southeast corner of India lies Chennai (formerly Madras) – a shoreline city bordering the oversized Bay of Bengal.

For these up-and-coming beach volleyball men and women pairs, this trip to India will be well-remembered.

The partnerships of Mike Morrison/Eyal Zimet and Ashley Ivy/Lisa Rutledge, teams on the ill-fated AVP tour that cancelled its season in midstream, sought to hone their skills and expand their travel horizons by registering for this event.

This "Challenger" tournament, so named because it attracts players who aspire to the elite level of competition, spanned a five day period from September 27 – October 2.

With nearby towering skyscrapers casting shadows over impoverished neighborhoods, hundreds of athletes competed on the adjacent Marina Beach.

Both of these U.S. pairs advanced through the ranks, defeating several teams leading up to the semi-finals where each hit a roadblock.

Fortunately, in the bronze medal consolation match-up, they avenged this setback.

On Saturday, the 18th-ranked Morrison and Zimet defeated a Turkey team of Hakan Gögtepe and Murat Giginoglu, 21-16 and 21-18, to land on the medal podium.

Ivy and Rutledge, seeded second, bested a Brazilian couple, Julia Beantz and Fabiana Aires, 21 -16, 21 -19, to win the bronze on Saturday too.

Although the men culminated their season here, the American women plan to compete in a major FIVB tournament, among tougher opponents, in Sanya, China later this month.

SOURCE: examiner
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