Updated January 17 with quotes from Sean Rosenthal:
It took just one event into the 2018 season for the first major partnership change: Trevor Crabb and Sean Rosenthal have parted ways.
Crabb said on Tuesday night that, after failing to qualify at the FIVB event in The Hague the first week of January, that Rosenthal is “retiring from international volleyball.” Crabb was not entirely correct that Rosenthal is retiring, just taking a step back from the international scene.
In an interview on Wednesday morning, Rosenthal said that “The cost has gone up and the money has gone down, and the talent is so high” that traveling the world to play a pair of country quota matches and a pair of qualifiers just to make it to the main draw is no longer the wisest investment of time or money.
“It’s an expensive hobby,” Rosenthal said. He’ll still play international events, just not full-time, not to the extent that Crabb, who has aspirations to play internationally and, in particular, the Olympic Games, would seek in a partner.
Rosenthal said he hasn’t finalized who his partner would be, but he said he is back to training full-time and plans on playing domestically and occasionally, when it makes sense, internationally.
Crabb has two international events upcoming: A three-star tournament on February 20-24 in Kish Island, Iran; and the Fort Lauderdale Major on February 27-March 4. He said he will be playing those events with Skylar DelSol, who enjoyed a wealth of success on the NVL Tour in 2015 and 2016.
“I’m so thankful for the opportunity to play with Trevor,” DelSol said. “I hope that this will lead to bigger and better things, and I’m excited for both our potential as a team and to travel internationally doing what I love.”
In 2016, DelSol won four of six NVL titles and was eventually named Best Defensive Player of the Year, Best Setter, Most Valuable Player and took home the Team of the Year, alongside Piotr Marciniak.
With the NVL canceling all but one event in 2017, DelSol played almost exclusively in NORCECA events, qualifying four times with Jon Mesko with a season-best finish of fourth. His most recent international competition was an FIVB in Australia in November with Adam Roberts in which he finished 25th, dropping in the second round of the qualifier.
The timing of the shakeup is as good as Crabb could have hoped for, well before any of the AVPs and still more than a month prior to the first major event of the international season. In their only season together, Crabb and Rosenthal made four AVP finals in seven events, finishing as the second-ranked team on Tour, behind Billy Allen and Stafford Slick.
Which means that neither of the top-two AVP teams from 2017 will compete together in 2018.
Slick has teamed up with Casey Patterson, while Allen is now playing defense behind Ryan Doherty. The dominos have fallen from there, as Patterson’s old partner, Theo Brunner, is now blocking for John Hyden.
John Mayer said that he and Jeremy Casebeer, the third-ranked AVP team in 2017, are planning on competing together in 2018.