Crabb-Gibb, Ross-Klineman reign as Kings, Queens of Huntington Beach

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Taylor Crabb changes directions for a dig/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — Americans Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb repeated as King of the Court champions Sunday, nine days after their King of the Court triumph in Honolulu.

The USA’s April Ross and Alix Klineman were crowned Queens of the Court.

Gibb and Crabb narrowly missed elimination in the first round of the semifinals, dodging it by a single point. Gibb’s blocking and Crabb’s defense allowed the pair plenty of opportunities on the King side, winning the finals comfortably with 15 points to Spain’s Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira’s six and Switzerland’s Nico Beeler and the Netherland’s Robert Meeuwsen’s five points (who subbed in due to an earlier injury to Marco Krattiger).

Gibb received nearly every serve throughout the finals in addition to his blocking duties, keeping his contact point consistently high to maintain his team’s sideout runs.

“I’ve received every serve for my entire career,” Gibb said, “You  think that’s something new? I’m spent. That format is physically demanding. I love the format, it’s really fun, and I’m so stoked right now.”

Gibb and Crabb finished sixth in previous events in Utrecht and fifth in Antwerp before turning it on to win both Honolulu and Huntington Beach.

“Any time you can win any sort of tournament with the best teams in the world it feels pretty good,” Crabb said. “I’m happy with the way we played, and stoked to win King of the Court.

“During the week, we gave ourselves a good amount of rest instead of practicing back-to-back tournaments, I think we were smart with our bodies on preparing for this tournament.”

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Alix Klineman and April Ross celebrate in their full regal attire/Jim Wolf photography

Ross and Klineman also narrowly escaped elimination in the first semifinal round, finishing in a three-way tie with five points with the Netherlands’ Joy Stubbe and Marleen Van Iersel and Japan’s Azusa Futami and Akiko Hasegawa but winning the longest reign tiebreaker.

After that wake-up call, Ross and Klineman outscored all of their opponents in four of five rounds, scoring 23, 15, 7, 12, and 15 points.

During the finals, Ross and Klineman’s had two championship points thwarted by Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, who narrowed the point gap from 14-5-1 to 14-11-2 before Ross and Klineman wrested the Queen side of the court away from the Canadians with a Ross ace down Pavan’s line, and subsequently clinching the championship.

Ross and Klineman had a disappointing finish in last week’s Hawai’i event, scoring only three points in their first pool to be eliminated in 12th place.

“This win is amazing,” Ross said. “We did so poorly in Hawai’i at King of the Court. But it feels good to come out and avenge that loss. It’s tough, and I think we got a lot better at our overall game, just focusing so much on our sideout, and I think our sideout improved a ton.

Even though Pavan and Humana-Paredes made a six-point run at the end, the Americans were able to stay calm.

“The more points they got the more concerning it got, but we felt confident in our ability to get back over there if we played the way we wanted to play, and not get frustrated, we knew we would get another chance, and just tried to stay calm,” Ross said.

“We had opportunities,” Klineman added. “We didn’t take advantage of all of them, but the biggest thing in that game is staying patient, because you can score points really quickly. Even in the first part of that round, we didn’t have any points for a long time, then we got over there, and scored a bunch. So it’s just staying patient, trusting in yourself to make the plays and get over there.”

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Akiko Hasegawa brings up a dig/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

It was only the second Queen of the Court FIVB exhibition, which was sponsored by Sportworx and produced by the AVP.

The event was the men’s fourth and final stop of the year.

Two rules were added to improve play. During the final two minutes of a match, three missed serves equaled a point for the current Kings of the Court. Second, during the last 30 seconds of a match, a missed serve equaled a point for the current Kings of the Court.

The rules had their desired effect, preventing teams from deliberately missing serves in order to prevent rival teams from scoring. For those not familiar with the format, our quick primer is here. The new rules improved the end of play significantly allowing teams late opportunities to make a point run.

Women’s Semis 1/Round 1: (20min)
AGATHA/DUDA (BRA) – 22
HOWARDS/REEVES (USA) – 13
ROSS/KLINEMAN (USA) – 5
STUBBE/VAN IERSEL (NED) – 5
FUTAMI/HASEGAWA (JPN) – 5 (Eliminated)
Women’s Semis 1/Round 2: (16min)
ROSS/KLINEMAN (USA) – 23
AGATHA/DUDA (BRA) – 9
HOWARDS/REEVES (USA) – 9
STUBBE/VAN IERSEL (NED) – 1 (Eliminated)
Women’s Semis 1/Round 3: (20min)
ROSS/KLINEMAN (USA) – 15
AGATHA/DUDA (BRA) – 12
HOWARDS/REEVES (USA) – 4 (Lucky Losers)
Women’s Semis 2/Round 1: (20min)
HUGHES/SUMMER (USA) – 13
LARSEN/STOCKMAN (USA) – 11
HUMANA-PAREDES/PAVAN (CAN) – 10
KEIZER/MEPPELINK (NED) – 9
DOWDY/POLLOCK (USA) – 6 (Eliminated)
Women’s Semis 2/Round 2: (16min)
HUMANA-PAREDES/PAVAN (CAN) – 13
KEIZER/MEPPELINK (NED) – 12
HUGHES/SUMMER (USA) – 7
LARSEN/STOCKMAN (USA) – 7 (Eliminated)
Women’s Semis 2/Round 3: (20min)
HUGHES/SUMMER (USA) – 15
HUMANA-PAREDES/PAVAN (CAN) – 11
KEIZER/MEPPELINK (NED) -5 (Eliminated)
Men’s Semis 1/Round 1: (20min)
HERRERA/GAVIRA (ESP) – 18
TR. CRABB/BOURNE (USA) – 16
MARCINIAK/ZAUN (USA) – 8
BEELER/KRATTIGER (SUI) – 6
SAMOILOVS/PLAVINS (LAT) – 5 (Eliminated)
Men’s Semis 1/Round 2: (16min)
HERRERA/GAVIRA (ESP) – 25
TR. CRABB/BOURNE (USA) – 13
BEELER/KRATTIGER (SUI) – 7
MARCINIAK/ZAUN (USA) – 4 (Eliminated)
Men’s Semis 1/Round 3: (20min)
HERRERA/GAVIRA (ESP) – 15
BEELER/KRATTIGER (SUI) – 11
TR. CRABB/BOURNE (USA) – 7 (Lucky Losers)
Men’s Semis 2/Round 1: (20min)
MOL/SORUM (NOR) – 23
CASEBEER/PRIDDY (USA) – 13
SAYMON/GUTO (BRA) – 8
GIBB/TA. CRABB (USA) – 7
PATTERSON/SLICK (USA) – 6 (Eliminated)
Men’s Semis 2/Round 2: (16min)
MOL/SORUM (NOR) – 14
GIBB/TA. CRABB (USA) – 11
CASEBEER/PRIDDY (USA) – 10
SAYMON/GUTO (BRA) – 9 (Eliminated)
Men’s Semis 2/Round 3: (20min)
GIBB/TA. CRABB (USA) – 15
CASEBEER/PRIDDY (USA) – 12
MOL/SORUM (NOR) – 6 (Eliminated)
Women’s Finals/Round 1: (20min)
PAVAN / HUMANA-PAREDES (CAN) – 12
AGATHA / DUDA (BRA) – 9
HOWARD / REEVES (USA) – 8
A. ROSS / KLINEMAN (USA) – 7
HUGHES/S. ROSS (USA) – 4 (Eliminated)
Women’s Finals/Round 2: (16min)
A. ROSS / KLINEMAN (USA) – 12
PAVAN / HUMANA-PAREDES (CAN) – 9
HOWARD / REEVES (USA) – 8
AGATHA / DUDA (BRA) – 3 (Eliminated)
Women’s Finals/Round 3: (20min)
A. ROSS / KLINEMAN (USA) – 15 (Champions)
PAVAN / HUMANA-PAREDES (CAN) -11
HOWARD / REEVES (USA) – 2
Men’s Finals/Round 1: (20min)
HERRERA/GAVIRA (ESP) – 21
BEELER(SUI)/MEEUWSEN (NED) – 11
GIBB/TA. CRABB (USA) – 10
CASEBEER/PRIDDY (USA) – 9
TR. CRABB / BOURNE(USA) – 6 (Eliminated)
Men’s Finals/Round 2: (16min)
BEELER(SUI)/MEEUWSEN (NED) – 16
HERRERA/GAVIRA (ESP) – 15
GIBB/TA. CRABB (USA) – 7
CASEBEER/PRIDDY (USA) – 5 (Eliminated)
Men’s Finals/Round 3: (20min)
GIBB/TA. CRABB (USA) – 15 (Champions)
HERRERA/GAVIRA (ESP) – 6
BEELER(SUI)/MEEUWSEN (NED) – 5

 

 

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