Olympians take care of business

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Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross

There’s no place like home worked out pretty well for Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and maybe even better for AVP players from Southern California.

For example, just this season Casey Patterson has competed in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Vitoria, Brazil; Doha, Qatar; and Fortaleza, Brazil.

So this past weekend Patterson, who lives in Huntington Beach, not only got to sleep in his own bed, eat at his favorite restaurants, and hang out with friends and family, he got to compete in his hometown.

Accordingly, Patterson and partner Jake Gibb took care of business at AVP Huntington Beach, marching through the winners bracket without dropping a set. In the finals, Patterson/Gibb faced up-and-comers Trevor and Taylor Crabb. The Crabb brothers broke through to their first final and Taylor Crabb played some spectacular and entertaining defense, but in the end the consistency and altitude of Patterson/Gibb was enough for a 21-19, 23-21 win.

“We’re literally on a plane going across the world, going back and forth. It’s great to be home, Patterson said. Our focus from the day that Jake asked me to play with him was to get into the Olympics and try to win a medal. Nothing has changed; that’s been our constant drive. We’re continuously fine tuning certain aspects of the game, from defense to offense to serving. Hopefully when the Olympics start, we’re ready to go.”

It was Patterson/Gibb’s second Huntington Beach championship, having won in 2014 (and Jake won in 2008 with Sean Rosenthal).

On the women’s side, Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross won in dominating fashion. Their opponents scored an average of 11.6 points/game. Jennings/Ross faced Angela Bensend/Geena Urango in the finals. Team TexMex won its way out of losers bracket, but was no match for the veterans. Urango’s jump serves applied pressure, but Jennings/Ross were remarkably effective out of system.

“It feels great to play at home, Jennings said. So many familiar faces, obviously. This is where I trained when I first moved down here. We need to focus on ourselves, regardless of the tournament. Every team is physical and capable of playing beach volleyball at a high level.”

The AVP’s next stop is Cincinnati, Ohio, May 17-21, and the tournament is part of the FIVB Olympic qualifying process.

Tickets can be purchased here:

The Cincinnati finals will be broadcast on NBC on Saturday, May 21st, at 3-5 pm EST.

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