On a cursory glance of the results from Friday’s AVP Seattle, you might think that it was a routine Friday on the AVP tour, with newbie qualifiers being dropped by top seeds. However, three of the top seeds needed help in the form of the freeze rule.
On the men’s side, the top four seeds, No. 1 Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, No. 2 Theo Brunner and John Hyden, No. 3 Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb, and No. 4 Billy Allen and Ryan Doherty all made it through to Saturday’s winners-bracket semifinals.
For the women, No. 1 Kelly Claes and Brittany Hochevar, No. 2 Emily Day and Betsi Flint, and No. 3 Caitlin Ledoux and April Ross advanced, along with 12th-seeded Nicolette Martin and Allie Wheeler. Ledoux, who has played with six partners in seven tournaments this year, is subbing in for Alix Klineman, who is resting a sore shoulder.
Qualifiers Martin and Wheeler upset No. 5 Karissa Cook and Katie Spieler in the first round 21-13, 21-19. In the adjacent bracket, No. 13 Delaney Knudsen and Jessica Sykora pulled off an upset of their own over No. 4 Ali McColloch and Geena Urango 22-24, 21-16, 15-9, setting up a second-round match between two qualifiers, something that is nearly unheard of.
Martin and Wheeler made the most of their opportunity, finishing on a Martin dig and conversion to win 21-19, 18-21, 15-13 to advance to the winners semifinals, where they will face top-seeded Claes and Hochevar at 1:25 p.m. Pacific Saturday on the stadium court.
The AVP’s freeze rule claimed its share of victims today in three notable matches. Crabb and Gibb used the rule to their advantage, overcoming a 9-14 deficit in set three to defeat sixth-seeded Reid Priddy and Jeremy Casebeer 17-21, 21-16, 16-14. Priddy was also bitten by the freeze bug in AVP Huntington 2017, where he and Chaim Schalk failed to close out a third set lead in the final set of the qualifier to lose to Branden Clemens and Ben Vaught 13-21, 21-19, 15-13.
Second-seeded Theo Brunner and John Hyden also needed the freeze rule to get through after facing a 14-13 deficit in the third set against No. 7 Chase Budinger and Sean Rosenthal, ultimately winning 18-21, 21-15, 16-14.
On the women’s side, No. 2 Emily Day and Betsi Flint were on the ropes down 10-13 in the third to No. 7 Karolina Marciniak and Kendra VanZwieten before a dramatic 21-19, 19-21, 16-14 comeback win.
Friday was also the main draw debut of wild cards John Schwengel and Rowdy Lennon, Megan Muret and Alexis Filippone. Both pairs earned their wild cards after winning the 2017 U18 AVPFirst championships. Schwengel recently qualified for the FIVB U19 championships with a win at the Olympic Training center, while Muret competes for UCLA beach, Filippone for Pepperdine beach.
Both teams were unable to win a set, facing the daunting first round task of playing the No. 1 seeds. Schwengel and Lennon lost to Dalhausser and Lucena 21-11, 21-11, and followed that up with a more competitive contenders bracket loss to Tim Bomgren and Chaim Schalk 21-14, 21-18.
Muret and Filippone dropped to the contenders bracket with a 21-13, 21-14 loss to top-seeded Claes and Hochevar, subsequently losing their first round contenders match 21-18, 21-18 to Amanda Dowdy and Irene Pollock.
Saturday’s contenders matches start at 9 a.m. Pacific and play is scheduled to continue until 6 p.m. Matches will be streamed on Amazon Prime Video.