Saturday’s action at AVP Huntington Beach was a constant battle.
At times the players were battling the elements as much as their opponents, as 10-15 mph swirling winds and intermittent showers buffeted the outer courts, a stark contrast to the relative calm of stadium court.
The matches were extremely competitive, as 12 of the 18 matches went to three sets, and 20 of the 52 sets were deuce sets. A full list of results, Sunday’s schedule and a photo gallery follow this story.
The top seeds took care of business in the winners bracket, as No. 1 Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb defeated No. 5 Billy Allen and Stafford Slick 21-11, 21-19.
“It was a nice win for us today,” Gibb said. “Luckily, we got the only hour of calm weather. I’m excited for tomorrow’s semifinals.”
In the other winners bracket match, No. 3 Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena edged No. 7 seed Ryan Doherty and John Hyden 22-20, 21-19 to join the semifinals.
Round 2 of the contender’s bracket featured two dramatic matches, as No. 11 Brian and Tim Bomgren eked out a win on stadium court in three deuce sets against No. 9 Mark Burik and Avery Drost 21-19, 20-22, 15-13. No. 4 Trevor Crabb and Sean Rosenthal defeated qualifiers Ed Ratledge and NVL pro Eric Zaun 15-21, 21-15, 15-13.
No. 2 Theo Brunner and Casey Patterson defeated No. 12 Marty Lorenz and Adam Roberts 21-16, 21-14, and No. 6 Jeremy Casebeer and John Mayer beat No. 8 Ty Loomis and Ty Tramblie.
Undersized Loomis and Tramblie, at 6-foot-3 and 6-0, respectively, had never played together.
“I got to play with Ty Loomis in this tournament,” said Tramblie, “which was super fun. He’s one of the best volleyball players I’ve ever gotten to play with, and his energy makes you want to wake up early in the morning and get ready to go. He makes me want to be my best. Playing with him is awesome.
“Out here, we’re athletes, but we’re performance artists too. It’s fun to get the crowd going. I’m used to being the underdog, and I like that feeling. Since we are a little smaller, we have to serve tough. We have to push the issue and come out aggressive. Ty has Rajon Rondo arms, and he’s a great blocker, has high level indoor experience, he has high IQ for seeing the game.”
In round 3 of the contenders bracket, No. 4 Rosenthal and Crabb defeated the No. 11 Bomgren brothers 21-17, 21-11. Rosenthal acknowledged the difficult conditions.
“These are tough conditions. Wind like this, and weather like this, is a good equalizer, so you just have to have the right mindset and battle, and know it’s going to be a little frothy at times, and take it play by play.”
In the second match of round 3, No. 2 Brunner/Patterson defeated Casebeer and Mayer 21-11, 22-20.
For round 4 of the contender’s bracket, No. 7 Doherty/Hyden were tested by No. 4 Crabb/Rosenthal 14-21, 22-20, 15-11. Both Crabb and Rosenthal served well on the good side, generating three-point runs on the good side in the third set, hitting the lines several times. Rosenthal’s top- and side-spin jump serve scored a number of aces, but Doherty/Hyden were able to score enough true points on the bad side to book their berth into the semifinals.
Doherty knew that match would be a challenge.
“You don’t want to be playing Rosie and Trevor in this kind of wind,” he said. “That’s a very big win for us, and I’m happy to come back tomorrow.
“I felt like both sides were bad sides, just controlling it with this much wind was tough. A good set in system, and all of a sudden you’re scrambling just to hit the ball back over the net. We came up with a good game plan, Johnny executed it really well, and we were able to pull out some points late.”
In the final match of the day, Brunner/Patterson needed three sets to advance to the semifinals with a 21-17, 19-21, 15-8 win over No. 5 Allen/Slick.
In the winners bracket, No. 1 Emily Day and Brittany Hochevar defeated No. 4 Lane Carico and Lauren Fendrick 21-18, 17-21, 16-14 to reach Sunday’s semifinals. Day/Hochevar had difficulty negotiating around the Fendrick block.
“Lauren is Lauren,” Hochevar said. “She does such a good job of baiting us into what she wants us to do. She knows we’re aggressive, she got us a few times. It’s very hard mentally, even though that’s just one ball. Knowing that we stayed in it competitively was great. We know what we’re going to get from Lane. They’re still not settled on what side to play, so we knew that they were going to have to make up for that in other ways.
“About us, we’re so dialed in on each ball, taking each ball with intention, being real clear with directional calls, we struggled with that because they are such good defenders. Lane really waits, she was dancing around back there, and we were getting some terrible calls out, and when we got aggressive Lauren was there. We knew that they are a tough team, but we know what is in our bag of tricks, we stayed aggressive on our serves, and focused on our own side.
“The ticket to the semifinals is, ‘You tell the story, your side of the net.’ The key to game three was not living in the past or the future, because that’s where fear and doubt live. We settled into the present moment, and that’s where the good stuff lies, that’s where we can stay with each other and our communication is clear. We knew we wanted to go tougher at Lane in the third set, we had some ‘just missed’ digs, a just missed block, and we knew we had to make those two inch adjustments.
“There wasn’t really a lot of talk in our box, I think we each knew what needed to be done. As that last serve went down, it’s clear it was a game of inches and it went our way.”
In the second winners-bracket match, No. 6 Betsi Flint and Kelley Larsen dropped No. 2 April Ross and Whitney Pavlik into the contenders bracket 21-7, 21-19. Flint was happy with their game plan and execution.
“We had a good scouting report, but I think we just played our game, sided out well, and set well, and Kelly had awesome defense,” Flint said. “She was blocking out of control and funneling balls to me, it was a fun game, and I thought we executed our game plan.”
In four 2 of the contenders bracket, all four matches went three sets.
No. 5 Kim DiCello and Emily Stockman defeated No. 10 Nicole Branagh and Xi Zhang 16-21, 21-16, 15-11; No. 9 Caitlin Ledoux and Heather McGuire defeated No. 11 Karolina Marciniak and Kendra VanZwieten 15-21, 22-20, 15-12; No. 7 Jennifer Fopma and Kelly Reeves defeated No. 13 Janelle Allen and Briana Hinga 17-21, 21-18, 15-12; and No. 16 Alix Klineman and Jace Pardon defeated No. 3 Angela Bensend and Geena Urango 21-17, 18-21, 15-8.
Huntington was Marciniak’s first AVP event.
“Changing from a different tour to AVP, it’s a big step, and I think it’s going to take a while to adjust, because every game here feels like it’s the final of a big tournament,” Marciniak said. “I think it’s great, I think we’re raising the bar a little higher for Austin (the next stop), knowing that we are hungry for more, but I think we played better in every game, I just think we need to organize our defense a bit better, with a few minor adjustments.”
Hinga and Allen are one of the new teams in 2017.
”That was really fun,” Hinga said. “It feels really good. I feel like I have really good chemistry with Janelle. It feels good to play with her, to scramble with her, we have a really nice rhythm. I feel like we could have capitalized better on a few opportunities. I’m so grateful to be out here with Janelle.”
Round 3 of the contenders bracket saw No. 5 DiCello/Stockman defeat No. 9 Ledoux/McGuire 21-15, 21-19, and No. 7 Fopma/Reeves eliminate No. 16 Klineman/Pardon 21-17, 18-21, 15-13.
Stockman is used to the wind.
“We’ve been training all winter long,” Stockman said. “We went to Australia and it was crazy windy, I feel like every tournament we’ve played in so far has been windy. It’s something we’re used to. On the good side we really tried to get after and use the wind to our advantage.
“Our chemistry is really awesome. I feel like every time we step on the court we’re a better team. We’re figuring each other out, and dialing in the crazy plays and the weird situations that occur in games.“
In Round 4 of the Contender’s Bracket, No. 2 Ross/Pavlik needed three sets to oust No. 5 DiCello/Stockman 25-23, 12-21, 16-14. No. 4 Carico/Fendrick needed three deuce sets to earn their Sunday semifinals berth over No. 7 Fopma/Reeves 23-21, 21-23, 17-15.
“I’ve had so much fun battling at the AVP this weekend,” Ross told the AVP. “It’s obvious that everyone trained really hard in the offseason and upped their respective games. The level has definitely been raised and that’s really exciting. So stoked that Whitney and I are in the semifinals tomorrow.”
Fendrick and Carico are still working out the kinks.
“Today was a battle,” Fendrick said. “It was the first tournament for Lane and I, so we’re figuring out a lot of things, we started the day with Lane on the left and me on the right, and we switched that, so that’s new for us, and I like it.
“We’re getting into our groove, we’re working out all of the minor communication plays. Our first loss was a bit of a bummer, we were right there, we’ll get more solid as the tournament goes on. I’m excited to compete tomorrow.”
9:30 a.m.: Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb (1) vs. Ryan Doherty/John Hyden (7)
9:45 a.m.: Theo Brunner/Casey Patterson (2) vs. Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena (3)
10:30 a.m.: Emily Day/Brittany Hochevar (1) vs. Whitney Pavlik/April Ross (2)
11:30 a.m.: Lane Carico/Lauren Fendrick (4) vs. Betsi Flint/Kelley Larsen (6)
2:00 p.m.: Men’s final
4:00 p.m.: Women’s final
For streaming video go to www.avp.com/live.
The men’s final will be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network at 2:00 p.m. PST
Men’s Winner’s Bracket
Match 13: Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb (1) def. Billy Allen/Stafford Slick (5) 21-11, 21-19 (0:43)
Match 14: Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena (3) def. Ryan Doherty/John Hyden (7) 22-20, 21-19 (0:40)
Men’s Contender’s Bracket
Match 23: Trevor Crabb/Sean Rosenthal (4) def. Brian Bomgren/Tim Bomgren (11) 21-17, 21-11 (0:37)
Match 24: Theo Brunner/Casey Patterson (2) def. Jeremy Casebeer/John Mayer (6) 21-11, 22-20 (0:35)
Match 25: Ryan Doherty/John Hyden (7) def. Trevor Crabb/Sean Rosenthal (4) 14-21, 22-20, 15-11 (0:58)
Match 26: Theo Brunner/Casey Patterson (2) def. Billy Allen/Stafford Slick (5) 21-17, 19-21, 15-8 (0:53)
Women’s Winner’s Bracket:Round 3
Match 13: Emily Day/Brittany Hochevar (1) def. Lane Carico/Lauren Fendrick (4) 21-18, 17-21, 16-14 (1:04)
Match 14: Betsi Flint/Kelley Larsen (6) def. Whitney Pavlik/April Ross (2) 21-7, 21-19 (0:42)
Women’s Contender’s Bracket:
Match 23: Kim DiCello/Emily Stockman (5) def. Caitlin Ledoux/Heather McGuire (9) 21-15, 21-19 (0:41)
Match 24: Jennifer Fopma/Kelly Reeves (7) def. Alix Klineman/Jace Pardon (16, Q7) 21-17, 18-21, 15-13 (0:53)
Match 25: Whitney Pavlik/April Ross (2) def. Kim DiCello/Emily Stockman (5) 25-23, 12-21, 16-14 (1:05)
Match 26: Lane Carico/Lauren Fendrick (4) def. Jennifer Fopma/Kelly Reeves (7) 23-21, 21-23, 17-15 (0:59)