AVP New York confirmed what we already knew: Rio-bound April Ross/Kerri Walsh-Jennings and Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena are among the best teams in the world. Both pairs achieved their championships without losing a set in New York.
Ross/Walsh-Jennings earned their 10th straight title with a semifinal win over USC phenoms Sara Hughes/Kelly Claes (21-18, 21-19), and a finals win over Lane Carico/Summer Ross (21-16, 21-18).
Hughes/Claes appear to enjoy New York and now have back-to-back third-place finishes in the Big Apple.
Kelly and I had a main goal for this tournament, Hughes said. We wanted to get the chance to play April and Kerri. We got that chance and it was an amazing learning opportunity. We got to battle it out with one of the best teams in the world and we can’t wait for more to come!
Dalhausser/Lucena plowed through the tournament in convincing fashion, with a winning margin of more than seven points per set. Dalhausser/Lucena beat surprise semifinalist Avery Drost/Bill Kolinske (21-8, 21-13), and took the championship over new team Jeremy Casebeer/Sean Rosenthal (21-19, 21-12).
New York marks a career high finish for Casebeer, Drost (third in Seattle, third with Kolinske in NY 2015), and Kolinske (NY 2015).
Of his reunion with Kolinske, Drost said: Fun weekend out here, still learning a lot. I would say that I feel very grateful to be playing on a team with Billy Kolinske and coach Gustavo Rocha. I feel like were playing really cohesively and enjoying the process together a lot.
This tournament gave us confidence that were going in the right direction, but Phil and Nick gave us a taste of the highest level and that’s good to take into training with us this next week going into San Francisco.
AVP San Francisco is June 23-26 at Pier 30-32 in the Embarcadero.