“Yeah, I’m retiring,” Hudson Bates said Saturday heavily as he leaned against the wall, eating lunch wearily after receiving almost every serve earlier in his AVP Chicago match against Billy Allen and Theo Brunner.
Bates, a former George Mason star, has played on the AVP since 2007 with two fifth-place finishes to his credit. Saturday he finished ninth with partner Mark Burik.
“I can’t say that I’m totally done,” said Bates, 31 ”,but I’m focusing more on the coaching side of things. I’ve been focusing on both, but now I want to end one chapter and completely focus on what will be my life for the next 30-plus years.”
As he leaves the beach, the AVP’s season-ending tournament continues Sunday at Oak Brook Beach with semifinals and finals.
9:15 a.m. — Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena vs. John Mayer/Ryan Doherty
9:20 a.m. — Tri Bourne/John Hyden vs. Taylor Crabb/Trevor Crabb
10:20 a.m. — Lane Carico/Summer Ross vs. Betsi Flint/Kelley Larsen
10:25 a.m. — Ali McColloch/Geena Urango vs. Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat
The men’s final is at noon and the women’s at 1:30.
Bates said he’s ready to devote more time to his position as head coach of the men’s Division III team at Marymount University in Virginia. Bates’ eyes light up when he talks about Maryount.
”It’s about developing a team culture of togetherness. We’re developing leaders, we’re developing businessmen, we’re developing better men, as well as playing better volleyball.”
Bates isn’t totally done with playing.
“I’m definitely doing the local regional stuff, but I’m not going to be making all the sacrifices that I’ve made over the last few years to train and remain competitive,” he said. “If I could stay competitive somehow just being a weekend warrior then I’ll do that.”
That being said, he acknowledged the rigors of being a pro.
“It’s hard to compete at this level. Our opponents today made some plays to win. In order for me to play at that level, I would need to train five days a week, like they are.”
There were some surprises Saturday on another near-perfect day for beach volleyball.
No. 1 Casey Patterson/Jake Gibb finished fifth, their lowest since Manhattan Beach 2015. To their credit, they lost a pair of tight matches to high quality teams, losing to No. 5 Bourne/Hyden 22-24, 21-19, 13-15, and No. 3 Doherty/JMayer 19-21, 22-24.
Bates/Burik, Ed Ratledge/Adam Roberts, and Maddison/Riley McKibbin all tied for ninth, handily outperforming their 17-19th seeds. The McKibbins tied their career-best (twice, AVP Huntington and New York 2016)
On the women’s side, No. 7 McColloch/Urango and No. 9 Flint/Larsen have outplayed their seeds.
The No. 3 seed, April Ross/Kelly Reeves,finished seventh after they were dropped into the contenders bracket by No. 6 Jennifer Fopma/Emily Stockman 21-15, 17-21, 9-15, and were bounced from the tournament by No. 4 Sweat/Fendrick 18-21, 21-19, 10-15.
Congratulations are in order for several alumni of the collegiate beach program: No. 13 Jace Pardon (Florida State)/Brittany Tiegs (Hawai’i) surprised some folks with a fifth-place finish, while a pair of Hawai’I alums, Karissa Cook/Katie Spieler came out of the qualifier to finish seventh.
No. 5 Emily Day/Irene Hester Pollock were disappointed with a 13th place finish, losing to No. 12 Sarah Day/Jessica Stubinski 16-21, 19-21 and endrick/Sweat 12-21, 16-21.
Finally, No. 19 Lynne Galli/Briana Hinga finished a season-high 13th.
The semifinals and finals will be live scored here.
The livestream can be viewed here, while the men’s finals will be shown on NBC at noon Central.