Partner switch helps Anderson, Cavanaugh in Motherlode Classic | AspenTimes.com

Partner switch helps Anderson, Cavanaugh in Motherlode Classic

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Jason Robertson of Virginia slams a serve to Casey Patterson and Dennis Roberts of BYU in Provo, Utah, Sunday afternoon September 1, 2002, during their battle for a quarter-final position. Rob "Beatle" Bailey is Robertson's team mate also from Virginia. Paul Conrad photo.

A last-minute partner switch apparently worked out for Motherlode Volleyball Classic champs Eric Anderson and Andrew Cavanaugh.

Anderson, now a five-time Motherlode winner, had to give up regular partner Kent Kitchel last month when Kitchel underwent knee surgery. Cavanaugh, a regular on the tournament circuit in his native California, also found himself without a partner last month when his regular teammate was sidelined by injuries.

Their choice to team up for the 2002 ‘Lode proved successful as the pair claimed the top trophy in the men’s masters division on Saturday morning. The top-seeded team defeated California’s Bill Stetson and Tom Pestolesi for the honor.

“I was surprised ? everybody played pretty tough,” Cavanaugh said of his team’s rise through the tournament ranks. “Bill Stetson is an incredibly strong player ? his mental game never really goes.”

Cavanaugh had to make a major adjustment to his mental game on Saturday. Just a few hours after claiming his first master’s win, he registered for another division of the tournament. With both the women’s masters and seniors’ divisions winding up on Thursday, the weekend was devoted to men’s masters play and the start of the tournament’s amateur and “open” categories ? the latter, a division that attracts the top players in the nation’s professional beach volleyball circuit.

Spectators split their time between seven parks to catch both highlights and lowlights of the weekend tournament.

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Fans were treated to Cavanaugh’s master’s win, as well as his transition to “open” play. Cavanaugh switched partners yet again for the start of a new division, joining forces with another California resident, Sean Fallowfield.

Switching gears from master’s to open play made for a difficult transition as Cavanaugh and Fallowfield lost in straight sets to tournament pros Eric Christianson and Ryan Turner Sunday afternoon in the second round of open play. It was Cavanaugh’s first loss in the nearly four days of the tournament.

“These are much better, quicker games,” Cavanaugh said. “And these guys are just so big ? that guy we just played had a seven-foot off set. Nobody in the master’s can do that.”

Though Cavanaugh and Fallowfield are now ‘Lode pros ? Fallowfield actually captured titles in 1986 and 1989 ? the pair didn’t get a lot of practice time before open play began on Saturday.

“This is the first time I’ve ever played with Sean. We’re working out the kinks right now,” Cavanaugh said. “But I’ve had an amazing time ? Aspen’s a beautiful place.”

The semifinals and championship rounds of open play begin this morning, as well as the finals of the tournament’s amateur division.

[Jennifer Davoren’s e-mail address is jenniferd@aspentimes.com]

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