AVP Chicago: Honer-Meehan, Van Gunst twins among 16 qualifiers

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Christian Honer-AVP Chicago 2018 Thursday-AVP-chicago-Oak St Beach-qualifier
Christian Honer makes a one-handed stab dig in Thursday qualifier play/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

CHICAGO, Ill. — There were some new faces advancing Thursday to the AVP Chicago main draw, including Christian Honer and Ryan Meehan, who were the No. 34 qualifiers and go into Friday’s action seeded 24th.

On the women’s side, the 6-foot Van Gunst twins — Annika and Teegan — who played indoors at Georgia Tech and finished their college careers across Atlanta at Georgia State, also made the field. They were the 10th seed among qualifiers and are also seeded 24th.

Indoor three-time Olympian David Lee and Paul Araiza reached their second consecutive main draw, upsetting No. 1 seed Raffe Paulis and Jeff Samuels along the way.

They were among eight pairs on both sides who got through in the season-ending stop on the AVP Tour. Qualifying was conducted on Oak Street and North Avenue beaches on Lake Michigan in near-ideal conditions with only a 7-9 mph breeze.

In our photo gallery below, we feature Jeff Samuels, Jessie Geriger, Agnieszka Pregowska, Jessica Gaffney, Kyle Stevenson, Camie Manwill, Miles Partain, Jason Gibbs, Lauren Hattaway, Nicolette Martin, Elise Zappia, Alexa Micek, Bre Moreland, Holly Reschke, Christian Honer, Dillon Lesniak, Bruno Amorim, Daniel Rivera, Eric Beranek, David Vander Meer, Cole Fiers, Raffe Paulis, Annika Van Gunst, Kim Hildreth, Sarah Schermerhorn, Falyn Fonoimoana, Skylar Del Sol, and Jake Urrutia.

Friday’s action can be seen on the AVP broadcast on Amazon Prime.

This was the first time for both Honer, 23, and Meehan, 29, to qualify.

“I’ve qualified NVL, but I’ve never qualified AVP,” Honer said. I’ve tried so many times.

“We get a hotel, that’s crazy!”

Thursday, the pair opened with a 21-23, 21-16, 16-14 victory over Michael Groselle and Brad Torsone. Then they beat second-seeded Branden Clemens and Ben Vaught 16-21, 21-18, 17-15.

In the third round of qualifying, they knocked out Dan Buehring and Matthew McCarthy 23-21, 21-12.

Added Meehan, who played at Long Beach State and then professionally indoors in Czechoslovakia, Finland, and France, “It’s kind of a relief.”

“It’s a huge relief,” Honor said. “It’s a lot of emotions for me, these last four-five years, I’ve played AVP’s, and come up short, spending so much money, so much time, and all this.”

Meehan, from Dana Point, Calif., and Honer, from Surprise, Ariz., have played four qualifiers together, this is the first time they’ve even made the last match to get in.

The only other AVP the Van Gunst twins, who are from Fayetteville, Ga., played was AVP Manhattan Beach.

“This is our first year doing this, so for us, it’s just about having fun and getting experience,” Teegan Van Gunst said. “Playing the best people in the world in the main draw, that’s what you want. We’re looking forward to tomorrow.”

They opened Thursday with a 18-21, 21-14, 15-8 victory over Suzana Manole and Lavinia Tataran before battling past Kimberly Hildreth and Sarah Schermerhorn 16-21, 24-22, 15-13.

“It was a grind. We actually played this team several times in Florida this summer, so it was just a fun battle that went back and forth, and at the end, it was a close one, but we pulled it out,” Annika Van Gunst said. “It was a fun day.”

In the second match, they were up 14-11 when the freeze kicked in. Hildreth and Schermerhorn got to 14-13 before it ended.

“I kind of like it. It makes you work for the point,” Teegan Van Gunst said. “The serves get more aggressive at the end. Everything kind of tightens up a little bit, and whichever team executes better at the end wins.”

Also qualifying was former USA indoor Olympian David Lee. He and partner Paul Araiza beat William Jones and Steve Slandzicki 21-14, 21-14 in their first match Thursday. Then they ousted Paul Lotman and Miles Partain 21-17, 21-12, before beating Raffe Paulis and Jeff Samuels, the top-seeded qualifiers, 15-21, 21-11, 15-8.

Araiza and Lee also qualified at Manhattan Beach.

“It feels awesome,” said Lee, the former middle blocker. “It feels good. We waited for the last two to qualify. My first year, not training as much as I would have liked, coming out to make the transition, I’m really satisfied. I stuck with Paul, and it’s been good.”

Araiza said Lee has improved on the beach, especially at setting.

“He’s doing a great job,” Araiza said. “Where he really shines is on the block. As a defender, if he sees something, he can just go after it, because he has so much experience.”

“I’m still trying to figure out how the game is actually played with just two guys. Sometimes I don’t know what the roles are,” Lee said with a laugh. “That’s been a difficult part of the game. For the most part I’m pretty satisfied with our results.”

Men’s winners bracket
Round 1
Kyle Friend/Myles Muagututia (17, Q5) vs. Maddison McKibbin/Riley McKibbin (16)
Tim Bomgren/Chaim Schalk (9) vs. Christian Honer/Ryan Meehan (24, Q34)
Jonathan Drake/Joe Ruzick (21, Q13) vs. Piotr Marciniak/Eric Zaun (12)
Michael Brunsting/Ty Loomis (13) vs. Eric Beranek/Cole Fiers (20, Q8)
Adam Gustafson/Kyle Radde (19, Q7) vs. Mark Burik/Ian Satterfield (14)
Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb (11) vs. Paul Araiza/David Lee (22, Q17)
Steven Roschitz/Silila Tucker (23, Q19) vs. Avery Drost/John Mayer (10)
Troy Field/Chase Frishman (15) vs. Bruno Amorim/Skylar del Sol (18, Q6)
Round 2
Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena (1) vs.
Duncan Budinger/John Hyden (8) vs.
Billy Allen/Ryan Doherty (5) vs.
Ed Ratledge/Roberto Rodriguez (4) vs.
Jeremy Casebeer/Reid Priddy (3) vs.
Casey Patterson/Stafford Slick (6) vs.
Chase Budinger/Sean Rosenthal (7) vs.
Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb (2) vs.
Men’s qualifier bracket
Round 1
Raffe Paulis/Jeff Samuels (Q1) def. Jimmy Minton/Aaron Troutman (Q64) 21-9, 21-13 (0:35)
Kyle Stevenson/Christopher Vaughan (Q32) def. Andrew Simpson/Steve Sokol (Q33) 21-17, 19-21, 16-14 (1:11)
Paul Araiza/David Lee (22, Q17) def. William Jones/Steve Slandzicki (Q48) 21-14, 21-14 (0:43)
Paul Lotman/Miles Partain (Q16) def. Elias Aparcedo/Jason Gibbs (Q49) 21-14, 21-13 (0:41)
Travis Mewhirter/Hagen Smith (Q9) def. Joe Corkran/Eric Pupek (Q56) 21-11, 21-10 (0:35)
Pat Cronshaw/Tom Kohler (Q24) def. Drew Mallin/Carl Naslund (Q41) 21-17, 14-21, 15-13 (1:05)
Jake Rosener/Travis Schoonover (Q40) def. David Updegrove/Ryan Walker (Q25) 21-19, 20-22, 15-12 (1:17)
Eric Beranek/Cole Fiers (20, Q8) def. Garrett Bucklin/Frank Field (Q57) 22-24, 21-9, 15-13 (1:10)
Kyle Friend/Myles Muagututia (17, Q5) def. Dylan Kolovitz/Ryan VonSchlobohm (Q60) 21-5, 21-8 (0:26)
Matt Blanke/Chris Risley (Q37) def. Joel Feldkamp/Corey Partridge (Q28) 21-16, 21-16 (0:36)
Drew Hamilton/Austin Martinez (Q44) def. Shane Donohue/Adam Roberts (Q21) 13-21, 24-22, 16-14 (1:14)
Patrick Bolton/Luis Del Valle (Q12) def. Jordan Gladstone/Mark Semmler (Q53) 21-15, 24-22 (0:49)
Jonathan Drake/Joe Ruzick (21, Q13) def. John Connor/Robert Hevezi (Q52) 21-5, 21-3 (0:26)
Kristopher Fraser/Chris Luers (Q20) def. Mark VanZwieten/Steve VanZwieten (Q45) 21-13, 21-15 (0:42)
Justin Phipps/Shane Welch (Q29) def. Steven Garner/Tyler Penberthy (Q36) 21-17, 21-19 (0:46)
Spencer Sauter/David Vander Meer (Q4) def. Dave Earnest/Michael Kravtsov (Q61) 21-14, 21-12 (0:39)
Michael Boag/Bobby Jacobs (Q3) def. Jaylen Clark/JoLon Clark (Q62) 21-17, 21-13 (0:44)
Earl Schultz/Jake Urrutia (Q35) def. Matt Janas/Nathan Klaas (Q30) 21-19, 19-21, 15-4 (1:13)
Steven Roschitz/Silila Tucker (23, Q19) def. Shawn Ledig/Bryce Powers (Q46) 21-11, 21-13 (0:38)
Charles VanRees/Logan Webber (Q14) def. Tomas Goldsmith/Max Martin (Q51) 19-21, 22-20, 15-11 (1:10)
Dillon Cox/Mike Michelau (Q54) def. Marshall Brock/Aaren Rice (Q11) 21-15, 21-11 (0:35)
Dillon Lesniak/Garrett Wessberg (Q22) def. David Evans/Ryan Lehmann (Q43) 21-18, 20-22, 15-10 (0:54)
Philip Burrow/Alex Diaz (Q27) def. Troy Schlicker/Nathan Yang (Q38) 27-25, 22-24, 15-9 (1:14)
Bruno Amorim/Skylar del Sol (18, Q6) def. Timothy Cooper/Matt West (Q59) 21-9, 21-9 (0:32)
Adam Gustafson/Kyle Radde (19, Q7) def. Ray Birtcher/Clay Van De Bogart (Q58) 21-16, 20-22, 15-8 (1:11)
Marc Fornaciari/Brandon Joyner (Q26) def. Wes Hawkins/Adam Homan (Q39) 21-13, 21-15 (0:41)
Daniel Rivera/Joseph Smalzer (Q23) def. Kristopher Back/Clint Smith (Q42) 21-18, 21-16 (0:46)
Timothy Brewster/John Schwengel (Q10) def. Christopher Austin/Kristopher Johnson (Q55) 22-20, 21-16 (0:47)
Dan Buehring/Matthew McCarthy (Q15) def. Lev Girshfeld/Garrett Wilson (Q50) 21-23, 18-21, 15-11 (1:01)
Garrett Peterson/David Smith (Q18) def. Charles Porter/Clark Porter (Q47) 21-16, 21-19 (0:50)
Christian Honer/Ryan Meehan (24, Q34) def. Michael Groselle/Brad Torsone (Q31) 21-23, 21-16, 16-14 (1:16)
Branden Clemens/Ben Vaught (Q2) def. Jason Dorado/Ryan Ragland (Q63) 21-6, 21-5 (0:31)
Round 2
Raffe Paulis/Jeff Samuels (Q1) def. Kyle Stevenson/Christopher Vaughan (Q32) 21-17, 21-9 (0:39)
Paul Araiza/David Lee (22, Q17) def. Paul Lotman/Miles Partain (Q16) 21-17, 21-12 (0:47)
Travis Mewhirter/Hagen Smith (Q9) def. Pat Cronshaw/Tom Kohler (Q24) 18-21, 21-7, 15-7 (0:53)
Eric Beranek/Cole Fiers (20, Q8) def. Jake Rosener/Travis Schoonover (Q40) 21-17, 24-22 (0:59)
Kyle Friend/Myles Muagututia (17, Q5) def. Matt Blanke/Chris Risley (Q37) 21-19, 18-21, 16-14 (1:04)
Patrick Bolton/Luis Del Valle (Q12) def. Drew Hamilton/Austin Martinez (Q44) 23-21, 21-18 (0:44)
Jonathan Drake/Joe Ruzick (21, Q13) def. Kristopher Fraser/Chris Luers (Q20) 14-21, 22-20, 15-9 (1:04)
Spencer Sauter/David Vander Meer (Q4) def. Justin Phipps/Shane Welch (Q29) 21-12, 21-18 (0:46)
Earl Schultz/Jake Urrutia (Q35) def. Michael Boag/Bobby Jacobs (Q3) 12-21, 22-20, 15-10 (1:18)
Steven Roschitz/Silila Tucker (23, Q19) def. Charles VanRees/Logan Webber (Q14) 21-17, 19-21, 15-12 (1:02)
Dillon Cox/Mike Michelau (Q54) def. Dillon Lesniak/Garrett Wessberg (Q22) 21-19, 13-21, 15-11 (0:58)
Bruno Amorim/Skylar del Sol (18, Q6) def. Philip Burrow/Alex Diaz (Q27) 21-16, 21-15 (0:42)
Adam Gustafson/Kyle Radde (19, Q7) def. Marc Fornaciari/Brandon Joyner (Q26) 21-18, 21-13 (0:46)
Daniel Rivera/Joseph Smalzer (Q23) def. Timothy Brewster/John Schwengel (Q10) 21-19, 21-19 (0:45)
Dan Buehring/Matthew McCarthy (Q15) def. Garrett Peterson/David Smith (Q18) 21-18, 21-18 (0:47)
Christian Honer/Ryan Meehan (24, Q34) def. Branden Clemens/Ben Vaught (Q2) 16-21, 21-18, 17-15 (1:05)
Round 3
Paul Araiza/David Lee (22, Q17) def. Raffe Paulis/Jeff Samuels (Q1) 15-21, 21-11, 15-8 (0:53)
Eric Beranek/Cole Fiers (20, Q8) def. Travis Mewhirter/Hagen Smith (Q9) 21-19, 21-12 (0:45)
Kyle Friend/Myles Muagututia (17, Q5) def. Patrick Bolton/Luis Del Valle (Q12) 21-19, 21-16 (0:45)
Jonathan Drake/Joe Ruzick (21, Q13) def. Spencer Sauter/David Vander Meer (Q4) 21-12, 18-21, 15-8 (0:54)
Steven Roschitz/Silila Tucker (23, Q19) def. Earl Schultz/Jake Urrutia (Q35) 16-21, 21-19, 15-13 (1:09)
Bruno Amorim/Skylar del Sol (18, Q6) def. Dillon Cox/Mike Michelau (Q54) 21-14, 21-9 (0:40)
Adam Gustafson/Kyle Radde (19, Q7) def. Daniel Rivera/Joseph Smalzer (Q23) 21-17, 21-11 (0:45)
Christian Honer/Ryan Meehan (24, Q34) def. Dan Buehring/Matthew McCarthy (Q15) 23-21, 21-12
Women’s winners bracket
Round 1
Delaney Knudsen/Jessica Sykora (17, Q1) vs. Aurora Davis/Jace Pardon (16)
Karissa Cook/Katie Spieler (9) vs. Annika Van Gunst/Teegan Van Gunst (24, Q10)
Cassie House/Molly Turner (21, Q5) vs. Lane Carico/Bree Scarbrough (12)
Ali McColloch/Kendra VanZwieten (13) vs. Falyn Fonoimoana/Priscilla Piantadosi-Lima (20, Q4)
Nicolette Martin/Tory Paranagua (19, Q3) vs. Corinne Quiggle/Kimberly Smith (14)
Janelle Allen/Kerri Schuh (11) vs. Mackenzie Ponnet/Brittany Tiegs (22, Q6)
Carolyn Meister/Vendy Strakova (23, Q9) vs. Brittany Howard/Kelly Reeves (10)
Lara Dykstra/Sheila Shaw (15) vs. Terese Cannon/Sarah Sponcil (18, Q2)
Round 2
Sara Hughes/Summer Ross (1) vs.
Amanda Dowdy/Irene Pollock (8) vs.
Kelley Larsen/Emily Stockman (5) vs.
Emily Day/Betsi Flint (4) vs.
Alix Klineman/April Ross (3) vs.
Nicole Branagh/Caitlin Ledoux (6) vs.
Geena Urango/Allie Wheeler (7) vs.
Kelly Claes/Brittany Hochevar (2) vs.
Women’s qualifier bracket
Round 1
Jessica McGuire/Candice McNally (Q32) def. Gabrielle Hilk/Anastassiya Shamina (Q33) 21-14, 21-15 (0:40)
Carly Wopat/Elise Zappia (Q36) def. Jessie Gerig/Rachel Krabacher (Q29) 21-15, 17-21, 15-8 (0:51)
Lauren Hattaway/Lindsey Hattaway (Q30) def. Kelsey Gilliland/Jenny Li (Q35) 21-15, 22-20 (0:37)
Jessica Gaffney/Katie Pyles (Q34) def. Heather Lowe/Agnieszka Pregowska (Q31) 21-10, 17-21, 15-9 (0:53)
Round 2
Delaney Knudsen/Jessica Sykora (17, Q1) def. Jessica McGuire/Candice McNally (Q32) 21-7, 21-14 (0:35)
Katie Lindelow/Taylor Nutterfield (Q16) def. Bailey Bars/Sarah Harper (Q17) 21-9, 21-13 (0:35)
Carolyn Meister/Vendy Strakova (23, Q9) def. Alyssa Henson/Molly Shonk (Q24) by Forfeit
Lauren Dickson/Claire Wolfe (Q8) def. Crystal Meadows/Carissa Whalen (Q25) 21-12, 21-17 (0:43)
Cassie House/Molly Turner (21, Q5) def. Colleen Hargrove/Megan Struck (Q28) by Forfeit
Tanna Aljoe/Brittany Fennell (Q21) def. Lisa Howard/Amy Reichel (Q12) 21-11, 16-21, 15-12 (0:52)
Avery Bush/Camie Manwill (Q13) def. Jessica Joanis/Julia Vint (Q20) 21-13, 21-12 (0:28)
Falyn Fonoimoana/Priscilla Piantadosi-Lima (20, Q4) def. Carly Wopat/Elise Zappia (Q36) 22-24, 21-16, 15-10 (1:00)
Nicolette Martin/Tory Paranagua (19, Q3) def. Lauren Hattaway/Lindsey Hattaway (Q30) 21-9, 21-11 (0:31)
Lindsey Fuller/Alexa Micek (Q19) def. Kaitlyn Leary/Erin O’Connor (Q14) 21-19, 21-11 (0:51)
Julia Colina/Holly Reschke (Q22) def. Bre Moreland/Summer Nash (Q11) 21-15, 21-15 (0:41)
Mackenzie Ponnet/Brittany Tiegs (22, Q6) def. Kimberly Hohl/Jessica Jendryk (Q27) 21-8, 21-13 (0:32)
Kimberly Hildreth/Sarah Schermerhorn (Q7) def. Nicole Bateham/Courtney Schwan (Q26) 21-15, 21-14 (0:34)
Annika Van Gunst/Teegan Van Gunst (24, Q10) def. Suzana Manole/Lavinia Tataran (Q23) 18-21, 21-14, 15-8 (0:56)
Chelsea Ross/Bethanie Thomas (Q18) def. Heather Friesen/Kristen Petrasic (Q15) 21-18, 21-18 (0:51)
Terese Cannon/Sarah Sponcil (18, Q2) def. Jessica Gaffney/Katie Pyles (Q34) 21-8, 21-5 (0:28)
Round 3
Delaney Knudsen/Jessica Sykora (17, Q1) def. Katie Lindelow/Taylor Nutterfield (Q16) 21-16, 21-11 (0:32)
Carolyn Meister/Vendy Strakova (23, Q9) def. Lauren Dickson/Claire Wolfe (Q8) 19-21, 21-15, 15-10 (0:57)
Cassie House/Molly Turner (21, Q5) def. Tanna Aljoe/Brittany Fennell (Q21) 21-16, 21-19 (0:39)
Falyn Fonoimoana/Priscilla Piantadosi-Lima (20, Q4) def. Avery Bush/Camie Manwill (Q13) 21-18, 21-13 (0:42)
Nicolette Martin/Tory Paranagua (19, Q3) def. Lindsey Fuller/Alexa Micek (Q19) 21-18, 21-19 (0:41)
Mackenzie Ponnet/Brittany Tiegs (22, Q6) def. Julia Colina/Holly Reschke (Q22) 21-10, 21-11 (0:35)
Annika Van Gunst/Teegan Van Gunst (24, Q10) def. Kimberly Hildreth/Sarah Schermerhorn (Q7) 16-21, 24-22, 15-13 (0:56)
Terese Cannon/Sarah Sponcil (18, Q2) def. Chelsea Ross/Bethanie Thomas (Q18) 21-12, 21-10 (0:35)

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