The top seeds sit and wait for Sunday’s AVP Manhattan Beach Open action to unfold.
Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena are into the men’s semifinals along with Casey Patterson and Chase Budinger, while April Ross and Alix Klineman are into the women’s with 11th-seeded Melissa Humana-Parades and Sarah Pavan.
Dalhausser and Lucena will face the winner of Sunday’s match between Tim Bomgren and Troy Field against Reid Priddy and Trevor Crabb, while Patterson and Budinger await the winner of Jeremy Casebeer and Chaim Schalk versus qualifiers Bill Kolinske and Eric Beranek.
Ross and Klineman will play the winner of Emily Day and Betsi Flint against Brandie Wilkerson and Sara Hughes. Pavan and Humana-Paredes play either Terese Cannon and Kelly Reeves or Caitlin Ledoux and Maria Clara Salgado.
Dalhausser and Lucena reached the semifinal with a 21-15, 21-18 win over Jeremy Casebeer and Chaim Schalk. They attributed their high level of play to FIVB World Tour competition.
“The (FIVB) World Tour is so good that we’re used to a really high level,” Dalhausser said. “We have to play our best match every single game.
They are the two-time defending champions.
“It’s especially fun to play in Manhattan Beach,” Lucena said. “It’s one of the more prestigious events. It’s always fun to play in the States and in front of these fans.
“The teams that we’re going to play tomorrow are all going to be good. So I think we have to focus on our side, and our sideout, Phil’s been serving really well, if we keep that up we’ll be in a good position to get into the finals. As long as we keep that up teams will have to play really well to beat us.”
Alix Klineman celebrates a block during a quarterfinal vctory over Brittany Howard and Molly Turner /Ed Chan, VBshots.com
April Ross and Alix Klineman declined requests for post-match interviews.
Kelly Reeves and Terese Cannon, who battled the A-team to a 21-19, 19-21, 15-11 defeat, offered thoughts.
“That’s a really good team,” Reeves said. “It’s a good learning experience for us, we’re trying to figure each other’s games out, our game plan was just to have fun and kind of rock it.”
Reeves and Cannon are a new team for this event, having only six practices prior to Manhattan.
“I think we just keep staying together as a pair,” Cannon said, “which is huge, lots of communication in our first tournament together. We’re just talking a lot, staying aggressive, and really competing.”
World Champions Pavan and Humana-Paredes sent Betsi Flint and Emily Day to the contenders bracket in an exciting 25-23, 21-19 quarterfinal.
“That was a battle,” Humana-Paredes said. “That was a grind. It wasn’t easy by any means, it wasn’t smooth sailing, it was a very close game and they played phenomenally. They really pushed us, it was a sideout game for a while.”
Pavan and Humana-Paredes, who furthered their case for best team of 2019 with a gold medal at the FIVB five-star in Vienna, hit .509 in their quarterfinal.
“I think our pass-set for the most part was pretty good,” Pavan said. “They are an incredibly aggressive serving team, so we knew that we had to be really aggressive in the seams, and communicate really early.”
Pavan and Humana-Paredes were able to make some key adjustments to control Flint’s offense.
“I had to switch my block timing on her,” Pavan said, “she was coming out with a fast arm today, so we switched that up, and Mel made a couple of defensive adjustments during the freeze at the end, and she ended up getting a great dig to finish the game.”
Chase Budinger shuts down Troy Field’s angle/Ed Chan, VBshots.comPatterson and Budinger continue to gain momentum after securing their first AVP victory together in Hermosa Beach. They secured their semifinal berth with a 21-18, 21-18 win over Troy Field and Tim Bomgren.
“We’re doing a good job of helping each other if one of us isn’t doing well at a particular skill. I didn’t dig particularly well that match, but Chase took over on blocking,” Patterson said.
“I was able to stay free and capitalize on a few late in the game, and contribute on my end, that’s where we’re improving as a team.
“We’re filling in those little gaps of assistance when someone isn’t on point. We hae a great read on both guys, and that gave me time to focus on sideout and capitalize late in the game. That’s where we’re at, and that’s where we’re improving.
Budinger came up with some key blocks that created separation to win the first set.
“I know Troy,” Budinger said. “When there’s a packed crowd, he’s a little excited, he likes to try to bounce balls, and when that happens, and hitters like to hit low, I made late reads on him, and tried to press over and get my hands over the net. I was able to capitalize on a couple of block reads.”
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