Internationally experienced A-Team and Gibb/Crabb win AVP Huntington Beach
Alix Klineman and April Ross won the AVP Huntington Beach. In a thrilling final, they beat Canadians Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan (18:21, 21:12, 17:15). In the third set both teams had championship points but the “A-team” had the better end on their side. April Ross after the final:
“This is so big. Huntington is my home beach. And to play against such a great Canadian team on US soil and to win is so amazing.”
In the semifinals, Humana-Paredes/Pavan had beaten Day/Flint in three sets. The 14th-seeded Canadians are an international top team that had claimed numerous important wins on the FIVB tour, a fact that shows the limited validity of the AVP seeding system. In the second semifinal Alix Klineman and April Ross had to go through Sara Hughes and Summer Ross coming from the contenders bracket after losing to Humana-Paredes/Pavan. The “A-team” posted a three-set win with another strong blocking performance by Alix Klineman.
Top-seeds Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb claimed victory in the men’s final against new rising team Chase Budinger and Casey Patterson. After a very tight first set, Gibb/Crabb played out their experience to win in two sets (27:25, 21:14). Taylor Crabb:
“It was the first time we had to go into the losers bracket and we are happy we made it.”
The men’s competition saw a strong show from Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb who didn’t lose a single set until the semifinals. In the semis however, they lost in another three-setter to Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb. Especially Jake Gibb with numerous aces ensured the top-seed’s semifinal win. To reach the semis, Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb had eliminated second-seeded Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena in a three-set match in the contenders bracket (21:13, 15:21, 17:15).
Before reaching the final, Budinger/Patterson had also not given away any set. They won their semifinal in straight sets against Bomgren/Field. Budinger/Patterson who had beaten Dalhausser/Lucena earlier in the tournament have only recently teamed up. In most events on the FIVB tour they had been eliminated early, not making it to any quarterfinal. This has probably to be kept in mind when assessing the competitiveness of US men’s teams on international level. The FIVB tour has been heavily dominated by European teams recently, not a single American team qualified for last season’s World Tour Finals in Hamburg.