Overnight rain at Lake Samammish created heavy, wet sand Saturday at AVP Seattle. Then the windless, heavy conditions created an indoor-like atmosphere that favored the more physical teams, facilitating plenty of powerful serves and spikes.
Accordingly, the Seattle-area fans were treated to exceptionally competitive matches, with all six men’s matches and three of six women’s matches going the three-set distance.
In the men’s draw, top-seeded Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, No. 2 Theo Brunner and John Hyden, No. 3 Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb, and No. 6 Jeremy Casebeer and Reid Priddy advanced to Sunday’s semifinals. Casebeer and Priddy will face Crabb and Gibb first at 11:15 a.m. Pacific, followed by Dalhausser and Lucena against Brunner and Hyden at 12:15 p.m.
Casebeer and Priddy were bitten by the freeze bug on Friday, failing to hold a 14-9 lead against Gibb and Crabb. It seemed only fitting that the volleyball gods smiled upon them Saturday, as Casebeer and Priddy, down 11-14 in the third against the rapidly improving Chase Budinger and Sean Rosenthal, were able to reverse their fortunes with the aid of the freeze rule and win 18-21, 22-20, 16-14.
On the women’s side, No. 1 Kelly Claes and Brittany Hochevar, No. 2 Emily Day and Betsi Flint, No. 3 Caitlin Ledoux and April Ross, and No. 8 Amanda Dowdy and Irene Pollock will face off in Sunday’s morning’s semifinals. Day and Flint meet Dowdy and Pollock at 9:15 a.m., followed by Claes and Hochevar against Ledoux and Ross at 10:15 a.m.
The semifinal berth at least equals Dowdy’s and Pollock’s best finish, which was in 2017 at AVP Austin. The pair scrambled into Sunday with a pair of three-set wins over No. 5 Karissa Cook and Katie Spieler (21-18, 18-21, 15-11) and qualifiers Nicolette Martin and Allie Wheeler (18-21, 22-20, 15-13). Dowdy and Pollock jumped out to an 8-4 lead in set three before aggressive serving by Martin brought them back to 11-11. Pollock dug a cut shot and transitioned successfully to advance to Sunday’s semifinals.
The fifth-place finish matches Martin’s best (Austin 2018 with Sarah Day), and improves upon Wheeler’s career-best ninth-place finishes (Austin 2017 with Martin, and San Francisco 2017 with Lara Dykstra).
Matches will be streamed on Amazon Prime Video, with the finals broadcast on NBC Sports on Tuesday, June 26.