After the final point had been won, and Corinne Quiggle and Falyn Fonoimoana sealed the AVP Next Gold Cincinnati title, beating Kim Hildreth and Sarah Schermerhorn 18-21, 21-13, 15-10, Quiggle turned to her new partner.
“Let’s keep the streak going!” she said.
“What streak?” Fonoimoana wondered.
The streak is a small one, but impressive nonetheless: Three consecutive tournament wins for the two, four if you include winning a NORCECA qualifier. They closed out the 2019 season with victories in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, and, Fonoimoana said, “I don’t think we hit any kind of high notches last time we played in a tournament. We didn’t get to train. What was it, two or three practices we had? We had no time before the NORCECA qualifier, we had no time before we went to the Dominican. We never got into a rhythm or any kind of defense. We didn’t even know if we were going to be a team going forward.”
That decision was made easier by two victories and an immediate chemistry. Neither had any set partnership plans heading into the 2020 season. Fonoimoana had competed with Nicolette Martin, Alexa Strange and Pri Lima during the 2019 season, finding various levels of success with each. Quiggle played exclusively with Amanda Dowdy, though their future was uncertain.
Two tournaments and two victories together seemed enough to move forward with Fonoimoana.
Now there’s a third win, which came March 15, to add to that streak, and it’s a big one. The AVP Next Gold tournaments not only offer hefty prize money — $15,000 purse – but a main draw bid to the winners. The Cincinnati tournament offered a bid to AVP New York, which is now the season-opening tournament for 2020.
“That was a big reason why we went,” Quiggle said. “These automatic bids are pretty huge. If we’re borderline on something and we can secure our spot.”
They are now secured for what is arguably the most important tournament of the year, in terms of points. The new dates of New York do not currently conflict with any FIVBs — time will tell what the new schedule looks like, with all of the rescheduling due to the coronavirus — meaning that it will be a full field and one of the most difficult qualifiers. With New York being a Gold Series tournament, where points are weighted heavier, a good finish could keep Quiggle and Fonoimoana out of qualifiers for the remainder of the season.
“I told her right after we won that this will be the first year that I’ve qualified for New York,” she said. “I’m really excited about that.”
Joining them in their automatic bid will be Duncan Budinger and Daniel Dalanhese, who beat Paul Lotman and Miles Partain in the men’s final. While they do not have the three-tournament win streak of Fonoimoana and Quiggle, they have had a fair amount of success together, making consecutive main draws in Manhattan Beach in 2017 and 2018. Now they’ll have another main draw together, in New York.
Eleven tournaments remain on the AVP Next Gold schedule: