You could take that statement from Tri Bourne, which was one part sigh of relief, one part exhausted celebration, one part a moment that hasn’t yet sunk in, in dozens of different ways. They’d all be correct.
Finally, after two years of battling an autoimmune disease, of no beach volleyball, of no exercise. Finally, after watching his former partner, John Hyden, win events. Watching his childhood friends, Taylor Crabb and Maddison McKibbin, win events. Watching his current partner, Trevor Crabb, win the biggest event.
Finally, Bourne etched his name upon another trophy, upsetting Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, alongside Trevor Crabb, 21-17, 15-21, 15-12, in the AVP Porsche Cup on Sunday in Long Beach, Calif.
Finally, someone — anyone — made Dalhausser and Lucena, winners of the Monster Hydro and Wilson Cups the previous two weekends, look human.
No such blemishes of mortality were made to April Ross and Alix Klineman, who made it a three-peat on Sunday in Long Beach, beating three different opponents in three finals in three weeks.
The latest victims were Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes, whom Ross and Klineman topped, 21-18, 21-17, taking another $18,000 in prize money, as well as a $25,000 bonus for being the top team in the AVP Champions Cup. Melissa Humana-Paredes took second in the series for the women ($15,000) and Sara Hughes and Brandie Wilkerson claimed third ($10,000).
Dalhausser and Lucena won the $25,000 bonus for the men, with Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb taking second ($15,000) and Bourne and Trevor Crabb third ($10,000).
“To come out on top feels amazing,” Klineman said. “To be able to get all three feels incredible.”
Crabb and Bourne didn’t get all three, but Crabb was, alas, able to do something he hasn’t yet: Beat both Dalhausser and his brother, Taylor, in the same tournament, to win the tournament. That’s been Taylor’s running joke for a year now: Sure, you’ve won the Grandaddy, the Manhattan Beach Open, but you haven’t won a tournament that I played in, too, big brother.
“We just trusted our game and our training,” Bourne said. “We know how much work we put in, how hard we play, we know what we’re capable of. Those guys are the best in the world. They make you look bad at times but we’re relentless. We’re going to keep coming no matter what. We’re going to keep growing and getting better as a team. You’re going to have to play your best to beat us every time.”
Trevor let the whole beach volleyball world, no matter how small it may be, know it, too. On Wednesday, he guaranteed a win at the Porsche Cup. Didn’t matter that he had won only one of the eight AVP finals he had made in his career. None of that has ever really mattered with Trevor. He knows what he’s capable of. Whether or not you do too is none of his concern.
“My initial thought was my partner is crazy, but I already knew that,” Bourne said, laughing. “It was either to be against him or join him, and he’s my partner, so I’m jumping on. I’m on board.”
They’ve been on board together despite so many things that could have derailed a partnership. It was an odd team to begin with, a pair of left-side blockers with little to no defensive experience, begat from Bourne’s return to the beach and Crabb seeking a fun close to a topsy turvy 2018 AVP season. But there was something there. They knew it. And they stuck with it. They stuck with it through a broken hand to Bourne, a win for Crabb with another partner, Reid Priddy, and enough near-misses against the top teams in the U.S. to make anyone wonder if they really could summit the peak.
Two consecutive weeks in this AVP Champions Cup series, they lost to Dalhausser and Lucena, and Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb.
Who wouldn’t guarantee the first win as a team after all that?
“When you know, you know,” Trevor said. “It was our time after two weeks of thirds. We went into that beast mode that we know we can go into. It was a little bit of losing to those guys [Dalhausser and Lucena] and Taylor and Jake two weeks in a row.”
Finally, then, they did it. Finally, Bourne got his win, his first since 2015, his first since an autoimmune disease forced him to the sidelines for nearly two full seasons. Finally, one of Trevor’s audacious claims proved prescient.
Finally, Bourne can sigh, can exhale, can know that sticking it out, never wavering, was the right decision all along, that the beach is exactly where he is meant to be.
“Finally, I’m back,” he said. “Last time I won, Taylor had none, Trevor had none. Finally. This is where I believe I belong. It’s hard to comprehend. I trusted it would happen. I got the guy next to me that could make it happen. Here we are.”
FIVB Ljubljana — Denmark’s Clara Windeleff and Line Trans and Italians Andrea Abbiati and Tiziano Andreatta won the respective gold medals Sunday at the one-star tournament in Slovenia.
Windeleff and Trans, seeded ninth, beat third-seeded countrywomen defeated Sofia Bisgaard and Cecilie Olsen 21-11, 21-10 in the women’s final. Click here for the complete results courtesy of BVBinfo.com.
On the men’s side, Abbiati and Andreatta, the fourth seed, beat second-seeded Austrians Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst 21-18, 15-21, 15-11. Click here for the results.