Porec, Croatia, July 5, 2018 - American Olympic and world champion Todd Rogers ranks as one of the best players in the 32-season history of the FIVB World Tour, and here Thursday two of "the Professor's" students posted a pair of wins to advance to the women's Main Draw at the Porec Open.
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Emily Sonny and Torrey Van Winden, who competed for Coach Rogers this past season at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo where the pair earned a spot on Team USA by placing third in the American collegiate pairs finals in mid-May, defeated teams from Italy and Hungary to advance to the Porec main draw rounds.
While Sonny and Van Winden are participating in their first-ever FIVB World Tour event as players, Rogers played in 124 FIVB events during his 19-season World Tour career. “The Professor” was honored four times as the World Tour’s top defender and once as its best setter while claiming 24 gold medals, placing on 42 FIVB podiums, appearing in 51 final fours, winning 478 matches and earning over $900,000.
Cal Poly coach Todd "The Professor" Rogers (right) with Emily Sonny (left) and Torrey Van Winden at the 2018 Bridgestone USA Volleyball Collegiate Beach Championships on May 10, 2018 in Hermosa Beach, California.
Seeded 16th in the 16-team women’s qualifier at the Porec Open, Sonny and Van Winden opened play Thursday with a 2-1 (21-17, 20-22, 15-13) win in 52 minutes over top-seeded Alice Gradini/Claudia Puccinelli of Italy. The Americans then qualified for the Main Draw with a 2-0 (21-13, 21-15) victory in 27 minutes over ninth-seeded Dominika Hafra / Dorottya Szabo of Hungary.
Also posting a pair of women's victories each in the qualifier Thursday to advance to the main draw rounds were the Austrian pairs of fifth-seeded Dorina Klinger/Ronja Klinger and sixth-seeded Anja Dorfler/Stephanie Wiesmeyr, and 15th-seeded Nicole Dostalova/Anna Komarkova of the Czech Republic.
Dorina and Ronja Klinger celebrate in Porec
Advancing from the Porec Open men's qualifier Thursday were fifth-seeded Simon Baldauf/Alexander Huber of Austria, sixth-seeded David Lenc/Patrik Manas of the Czech Republic, seventh-seeded Sadegh Mohajer/Kjetil Tellnes of Norway and eighth-seeded Sergej Drobnic/Gasper Plahutnik of Slovenia.
The Porec Open, one of three FIVB World Tour events being staged this week on the international beach volleyball circuit, is returning to the Croatian resort town for the fourth-straight season with the 16 men's and 16 women's Main Draw teams vying for a share of the 10,000 EUR total prize money pot.
With the medal matches for both men and women set for Sunday, the Porec Open is the sixth of nine events incorporated from the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) schedule into the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour for the 2017-2018 season. At the same time as the Porec Open is being staged, the CEV and FIVB will also be organizing the Anapa Open in Russia.
Turkey staged three of the first four events in Aydin (May 17-20), Alanya (May 31-June 3) and Manavgat, Turkey (June 21-24) with Austria hosting a tournament in Baden (June 14-17). Remaining CEV events being incorporated into the 2017-2018 FIVB World Tour schedule are Samsun, Turkey (July 26-29), Ljubljana, Slovenia (August 3-5), and Vaduz, Liechtenstein (August 8-12).