They achieved the goaladvancing to the main draw of the AVP New York City Openbut now eight qualifier teams face the true test, taking on top-ranked main draw teams in today’s first round of the AVP New York City Open at Pier 25 and 26 in Manhattan’s Hudson River Park.
On the women’s side, USC sand stars Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes dominated the qualifier competition, preventing any team from scoring more than 15 points against them. However, as the lowest qualifier seed to advance, they play top-seeded April Ross and Jen Fopma in the first round at 12:25 p.m.
Local favorite Dana Fiume, a Syracuse alum and Long Island native, and Amanda Wiggins also breezed through the qualifier, beating both challengers in straight sets. They will take on No. 3 seed Kim DiCello and Kendra Van Zwieten at 10:15 a.m. DiCello and Van Zwieten are playing in their first AVP tournament as a team. Last week, they traveled to Switzerland to play in the FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam where they lost in the second round of the qualifier.
Another pair of college sand players, Samantha Nash and Kristine Monforte of Florida International, had a more challenging route to qualification. Facing the DeTurk sisters in the first round, the first set went to 22-20, and they won the second by only three points. Nash and Monforte then moved on to face Taylor Nutterfield and Courtney Trevino. After crushing the duo of Texans 21-13 in the first game, the second went 11 points past 21 to finally fall the Floridans way 32-30. Theyll put their Rita Buck-Crockett-coached game to the test against Emily Day and Jen Kessy in the morning’s first match at 9:10 a.m.
Meg Chetwood Dawson and Tiffany Marinos emerged as the final team to qualify from the 15-team field. The No. 1 seed in the qualifier, Dawson and Marinos will play Jenny Kropp and Nicole Branagh at 11:20 this morning. Kropp and Branagh, two tour veterans, are playing in their first tournament together since 2012.
Four men’s teams advanced out of the 31-team qualifier. No. 1 qualifier seed John Moran and Adam Cabbage got a bye in the first round and only had to play two matches to advance. They went to three with Oregonians Roman Onishchenko and David Vorobets in the second round but easily dispatched with Shane Donohue and Kris Fraser to advance. Theyll face Billy Allen and Brad Keenan at 11:10 this morning.
Raffe Paulis and Jake Rosener advanced to the main draw for the second time in their careers, playing two three-set matches to get there. Theyll take on Todd Rogers and Stafford Slick in round one at 10:05 a.m.
Former Long Beach State stud outside hitter and 2013 AVCA Player of the Year Taylor Crabb and his partner, fellow Hawaiian Spencer McLachlin, pulled off a huge upset over tour regulars Ty Loomis (who owns the title from the 2009 Brooklyn Open) and Kevin McColloch in the final round of the qualifier. Crabb and McLachlin came back after losing the first set to win the match 18-21, 21-12, 15-11. This is Crabb’s second main draw, as he advanced with his brother Trevor (the main draw No. 6 seed with partner Ty Tramblie) in the 2013 Manhattan Beach Open. Taylor Crabb and McLachlin play Ryan Doherty and John Mayer in the first round at 9 a.m. today.
Perhaps the most unexpected qualifier team to advance is the duo of brothers, Riley and Maddison McKibbin. The products of USC men’s indoor program have been playing indoor professionally overseas since graduating in 2011 and 2014, respectively. The $1,000 theyll take home even if they go 0-2 in the main draw will be the first prize money either man has won on the senior AVP tour (Riley won $300 when he took second with Tony Ciarelli at the 2010 AVP Young Guns event in Long Beach). The McKibbin bros will take on top seeds Casey Patterson and Jake Gibb at 12:15 p.m. today.