What's happens when the voice of the AVP, Dustin Avol, sits next to the 11-year veteran DJ of the AVP on the plane? The MC steals the DJ’s headphones and laptop so he can listen to "good" music. That's how my journey to the AVP Milwaukee Bradford Beach event began this past weekend. It was actually solid quality time on the plane as we were able to get our mojo going prior to the start of the tournament. And to celebrate the local culture once we got into town we immediately went out to eat and ordered cheese curds. I heard that’s what you’re supposed to do in Wisconsin. Maybe not usually at 12:30 in the morning though.
I was disappointed not to see anyone wearing a cheese head, but otherwise the crowd in Milwaukee was fantastic. I was told they were knowledgeable and enthusiastic fans and they definitely lived up to the hype. The venue was packed the entire holiday weekend and the stadium court stands were full on the first day of a main draw for the first time I can remember. The AVP and Todd Gawronski, of Bradford Beach, did a marvelous job marketing this event and it showed in the number of people in attendance.
If you don’t know the name Tri Bourne yet, you will. In his last three tournaments, two international and one domestic, with John Hyden, he has two wins and a fifth place finish. He’s the player other players are talking about. Partnering with one of the best defenders in the world doesn’t hurt either.
In the men’s final, Tri and John took down Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal in two straight sets (I still hate the term set instead of game, but I’m giving in) to win the Milwaukee Open. Even at such a young age (25!), Tri shows no fear on the court no matter who’s on the other side of the net. Don’t be surprised if Olympian gets added to his list of accomplishments come 2016.
On the women’s side, Kerri Walsh-Jennings and April Ross looked unstoppable all weekend long. In their first four matches, only Jennifer Fopma and Whitney Pavlik scored more than 15 points against them. However, in the final, Kerri and April met Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat for a repeat of the St. Pete final. Lauren and Brooke put up a good fight by winning the first set but fell 16-21, 13-15 the next two. The win gave Kerri and April five victories so far this season (two domestic and three international).
Speaking of Brooke, if you’ve been following me on social media lately, you know I ended up playing a couple country songs for her this past weekend. She requested country at the St. Petersburg event (see my St. Pete blog post for the full details), but I didn’t have any so I told her I’d play her at least one song in Milwaukee. This weekend, she was determined to hold me to that saying, “Everyone else gets to hear what they want.” Trying to manipulate me, again! It worked this time, and I actually spent a good two hours prior to the tournament looking for some country songs that would work and not put everyone to sleep. I decided on “Leave the Night On” by Sam Hunt (which she unfortunately didn’t hear me play) and “This Is How We Roll” by Florida Georgia Line featuring Luke Bryan. To Brooke’s credit, she did acknowledge the Florida Georgia song right away, and I think we are best friends now because of it. Her partner, Lauren Fendrick, may actually have been more excited as she did a little dance that included some heel and toe touches. Each time I played a country song, it felt like the longest four minutes of my life. My heart was pounding, my body temperature went up, and my hands started sweating. It was totally worth it though, as I could tell it made Brooke happy and no players complained about it.
I guess that means I’ll have to sneak some more country music into the rotation at the next AVP stop in Salt Lake City. I hope Utah likes country music.