NEW YORK — On a drizzly, overcast, heavy Sunday, conditions favored the bigger jumping and more physical teams, and it was the top seeds that took the trophies and $20,000 first place prizes.
Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena hoisted the trophy at AVP New York with two straight set wins, while on the women’s side, wunderkinder Summer Ross and Sara Hughes won their first AVP event together and did it without dropping a single set.
Top-seeded Dalhausser and Lucena defeated third-seeded Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb 21-16, 21-17 in the finals when Dalhausser sealed the win with a signature block of Crabb. They reached the finals by defeating second-seeded Theo Brunner and John Hyden 21-17, 21-15.
The win is Dalhausser’s and Lucena’s third this year, following victories at FIVB Fort Lauderdale five-star win and AVP Austin. The win is Dalhausser’s 94th overall, bringing his career earnings to $2,357,760, while Lucena’s totals are 23 wins and $1,191,253 in prize money.
Dalhausser dominated the finals offensively, hitting 11 kills for a .670 percentage, with four blocks, two aces, and two digs. Lucena led all players with 17 kills and 10 digs for a.380 percentage.
Gibb and Crabb had difficulty contending with the Dalhausser and Lucena defense, hitting for .220 and .350 respectively.
Dalhausser talked about the difficulty of staying on top with the entire field gunning for them.
“I’m always anxious, “ Dalhausser said in the Amazon Prime post-match interview. “I don’t take anyone too lightly. Once you let your guard down, then that’s when it’s 20-20 in the second set after losing the first. I don’t want teams to creep in and beat us, I want to keep them at a distance and stay on top.”
The top-seeded pair of Hughes and Ross closed out a 21-14, 21-19 win over Nicole Branagh and Brandie Wilkerson with a Ross ace. They reached Sunday’s final by defeating Hughes’ former partner Kelly Claes and Brittany Hochevar 21-16, 21-13.
The AVP gold series win is the fourth win for the 25-year-old Ross and the second for the 23-year-old Hughes.
The first set was dominated by Ross, who scored four blocks on Branagh. The second set was a tighter affair, but Ross broke it open at 16-16 with an ace, block, ace sequence to gain a 19-16 lead that they would not relinquish.
“Our whole key this tournament was just to play with each other,” Hughes told NBC’s Dain Blanton. “Out there on the court, we were just dominant, and we played for one another, and I think that made a huge difference.”
“I’m having a blast with Sara,” Ross added. “She’s amazing, she dug so many balls, I’m so proud of you.”
Replays of the AVP New York finals can be found on Amazon Prime Video.