Jenny Kropp was a little hesitant to even make the phone call three weeks ago.
But hey, it was worth a try.
So she dialed up three-time Olympic champion Misty May-Treanor to see if she’d be her teammate for the AVP New Orleans Open.
May-Treanor obliged, admitting that she wouldn’t be able to train full time.
Afterall, she is a full-time mom and wife, and she teaches at her beach club.
“But I said, ‘Let’s just go and have fun,’” May-Treanor said.
So far, so good.
The duo won its two matches Saturday to advance to Sunday’s semifinals of the tournament in Kenner.
The winners of the semifinals advance to the 12:30 p.m. championship match that will be televised live on NBC.
Not bad for a team that practiced only five times before this weekend’s event.
“I don’t know; it just happened,” May-Treanor said when asked to explain the team’s quick success. “Don’t ask me. Sometimes you just find a way.”
Kropp had a better explanation though.
“She is awesome, so it really doesn’t matter how much we practice,” Kross said. “She is so smooth and so good that it doesn’t even matter. I can give her a crappy set, and she makes it look like it was good. She puts it in a good spot. Everything she does betters the ball. She is amazing. I’ve never played with anyone like her.”
May-Treanor, the wife of former major league catcher Matt Treanor, was a fan favorite Saturday. She paused to sign autographs and take selfies with fans after her team’s 21-15, 11-21, 15-8 victory over Amanda Dowdy and Emily Stockman.
“I really mean it when I say the fans make it fun,” May-Treanor said.
But it’s not just the fans in New Orleans who make trips to the Big Easy thrilling for her. It’s also family.
Her brother, Brack May, lives in New Orleans and owns the restaurant Cowbell.
“For me, coming here was like a win-win,” May-Treanor said. “I can help a friend out, and I get to see my family.”
May-Treanor, who retired from volleyball in 2012, said she has no aspirations to go for a fourth straight Olympic gold medal this summer.
“I’ll be on my couch watching it,” she said. “That ship has sailed. … People call it a comeback, and it’s not. I wanted to make her (Kropp) better. If I’m available, I’ll help somebody out.”
Kropp admitted it’s been fun playing with May-Treanor.
“Everyone knows who she is, and everyone adores her because she is a great person,” Kropp said. “And people can see that. The fans are so into her. She’s a legend.”
May-Treanor and Kropp are undefeated so far in the tournament and will play in one semifinal. Former LSU standout Angela Bensend and her partner, Geena Urango, will play in the other. Bensend and Urango, the No. 4 seed, upset top-seed Kim DiCello and Kendra VanZwieten 19-21, 21-15, 15-12.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Bensend said. “We came out a little slow in the first game, but we never gave up and came back stronger than ever. My partner got us right back in. It was great to have some LSU fans here watching me today. I heard the fight song coming from over there, so it was exciting.”
Bensend and Urango will play Dowdy and Stockman in their semifinal match, while May-Treanor and Kropp will play DiCello and VanZwieten. Both matches are at 10 a.m., with the championship at 12:30 p.m.
On the men’s side, the top two seeded teams (No.1 Ryan Doherty and John Mayer and No. 2 Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson) both advanced to the semifinals by going undefeated in their first three matches.
Gibb and Patterson will play No. 12 seed Mark Burik and Russ Marchewka in their semifinal match; Doherty and Mayer will play brothers Taylor and Trevor Crabb. Both matches are at 11:15 a.m. The men’s championship match is set for 2 p.m.