Hot AVP Seattle: Slick-Allen, Ross-Sweat break through for titles

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Stafford Slick dives for a tape serve in AVP Seattle/Stephen Burns, Pacific Northwest photography

Changing coasts was the ticket for Stafford Slick and Billy Allen and Summer Ross and Brooke Sweat.

Last time out, at AVP New York, both pairs lost in the final. Sunday at AVP Seattle, with the temperature on the sand reaching nearly 100, Slick and Allen defeated Sean Rosenthal and Trevor Crabb 21-13, 13-21, 15-11.  The title was Slick’s first. Allen won AVP Seattle last year with Theo Brunner.

Ross and Sweat — who also lost in the New York final — won the women’s title, beating Betsi Flint and Kelley Larsen in the final 21-17, 24-22. Ross won AVP last year with Lane Carico. It was third AVP win for both Ross and Sweat. In New York, they lost to April Ross and Lauren Fendrick.

Summer Ross sets a tight pass in AVP Seattle semifinal play/Stephen Burns, Pacific Northwest photography

In the men’s final, Allen and Slick played steadier ball, committing only seven errors to 10 by Rosenthal and Crabb, and they also held a 5-2 blocking edge.

“We know we’re a solid side-out team,” said the 32-year-old Slick, whose partner is 35. “We focus on scoring and opportunities. So we’ve been successful with that and it counted. I’m just so grateful for everything.”

In the semifinals, Slick and Allen beat Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb — the team they lost to in the New York championship match — 21-17, 21-17. Slick and Allen had 19 digs compared to 12 by Gibb and Crabb. Allen out-hit all attackers with a .567 percentage.

In the other semifinal, Rosenthal and Taylor Crabb beat Jeremy Casebeer and John Mayer 21-8, 21-17.

Ross and Sweat out-hit Betsi Flint and Kelley Larsen in the final. Ross was red-hot, with 21 kills in 53 attempts with no errors for a .533 percentage. As a team, Ross and Sweat played much cleaner volleyball than their opponents, only committing five hitting errors to Flint and Larsen’s nine.

“This was absolutely not easy,” Sweat said. “Betsi and Kelley kept us on our toes. We were keeping our dialogue up as a team and focused on staying together, so that was our turnaround.”

Sarah Pavan hustles to retrieve a Skylar Caputo dig in AVP Seattle semifinals/Stephen Burns, Pacific Northwest photo

In the semifinals they beat Canadian Olympian Sarah Pavan and Pepperdine product Skylar Caputo 21-11, 21-17. Ross and Sweat held Caputo to a .189 hitting percentage. They held a 29-15 digs advantage and out-blocked them 6-2.

In the other semifinal, Flint and Larsen beat Jennifer Fopma and Kelly Reeves 21-14, 21-16.

The next big beach event is in Porec, Croatia, an FIVB major that starts Tuesday. The next AVP event is July 6-9 in San Francisco.

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