January 10, 2024
HERMOSA BEACH, California — In the midst of a season that had, by early summer, known mostly lows — losing in one qualifier in Mexico and two in Brazil, skipping a pair of guaranteed-money AVPS in the process, going 0-2 in the first AVP of the season — Corinne Quiggle and Sarah Schermerhorn dropped to an even further level in early July.
“We had a tough week,” Quiggle recalled on SANDCAST: Beach Volleyball with Tri Bourne and Travis Mewhirter. “We were both like ugh. Every day was a grind, mentally and physically. We were playing against teams and we’d do just OK. It wasn’t smooth sailing going into Hermosa.”
There is never an opportune time to be playing some of your worst volleyball, but the days leading up to the AVP Hermosa Beach Pro Series may have been the least ideal. Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes, Kristen Nuss and Taryn Kloth, Terese Cannon and Sarah Sponcil, Betsi Flint and Julia Scoles, and Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson were all in Switzerland for the Gstaad Elite16, making Hermosa as wide open as it realistically gets for a high level AVP. While Quiggle and Schermerhorn had proven themselves to be an elite team in their nearly two years as partners, highlighted by a silver medal at the 2022 Espinho Challenge in which they nearly stunned Australia in the finals, they had yet to make a final at an AVP.
If ever there were a chance, Hermosa would be the one.
“I didn’t [let the field get into my head] actually because I’ve had that thought before that this is a great opportunity and then boom,” Quiggle said. “I think putting expectations on yourself doesn’t help me as a player in those moments. When I’ve had those thoughts of ‘we’re going to win this’, it could create expectations.”
She wouldn’t have to think back far in the memory bank to find a similar chance. The final event of the 2022 season took place in Tavares, Florida, in early December. The women’s field more closely resembled a lower level Tour Series than Pro, with the majority of the top talent either resting for the off-season or in Doha for the Beach Pro Tour Finals. Quiggle and Schermerhorn entered as the two seed and finished a disappointing ninth. Quiggle wasn’t going to fall prey to those expectations again, just as she wasn’t going to let a strange beginning to the year, and an even stranger week of practice, leak into…