Two first time-champions were crowned at AVP Seattle Sunday.
Billy Allen, on the tour since 2004, won for the first time in a whopping 84 tries when he and Theo Brunner prevailed over Trevor and Taylor Crabb in a tight match 21-19, 19-21, 15-12.
The women’s winner marked a breakthrough as well. No. 2 Lane Carico and Summer Ross defeated No. 5 Jennifer Fopma/Brittany Hochevar 21-17, 21-17, giving Carico her first title in 34 tournaments. Ross won for the second time.
The final had 25 ties and 13 lead changes. The Crabb brothers were in control early in the third set, making a five-point run on a Taylor kill, a Trevor soft block/kill, Taylor running down an Allen high line shot, a Trevor bump kill on two, and an Allen cut that didnt clear to give them an 8-3 lead.
Allen/Brunner responded with a five-point run of their own, on a Brunner block tool, Allen digging Trevor’s over on two, Allen running down Taylor’s high line/converting off the block, a Brunner hang and swat of a Taylor cut shot, Allen retrieving Taylor’s cut shot, and Theo swinging high and getting a back row touch by Taylor to tie the score at 8-8.
After four consecutive sideouts, Allen/Brunner went on another four-point run, with Brunner tooling the Trevor block, Allen digging high line and converting off Trevor’s hands, a Brunner block, and a Taylor hitting error, which gave Allen Brunner a 13-11 lead.
Two sideouts later, Brunner ended the match with a stuff block. Allen had finished third four times. The win is Brunner’s second; he holds three second-place finishes and five third-place finishes.
Going into the match, Theo said, let’s just have fun. That took the pressure off, Allen said.
Even when down 8-3 in the third set, I never feel like Im out of the game, I feel like my blocking is good enough, as long as we can side out and get in a rhythm, Brunner said.
On winning his first AVP event, Allen said: “It was a fun weekend, glad I got to share it with so many family and friends. It wasn’t looking good there in the 3rd but we kept playing hard and good things happened. Definitely won’t forget this tournament.”
In the semifinals, Allen/Brunner beat No. 15 seeds Avery Drost & Gregg Weaver 21-14, 21-16. Drost’s third-place finish equals his career high third in 2015 AVP New York (although he also has a second place in the Jose Cuervo Chicago stop). Seattle is only Weaver’s ninth AVP event; his previous best finish was 13th.
The Crabb brother advanced by a forfeit over No. 1 Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson; Gibb suffered from severe food poisoning on Thursday evening, requiring several IV treatments and could not continue.
Set one was a see-saw affair early, as Fopma/Hochevar jumped out to a 3-1 lead, with Carico/Ross countering with five consecutive points to go up 6-3. Fopma/Hochevar brought it back to 8-8 with a three-point run of their own. The teams traded sideouts to 13-13, where Carico/Ross found another level and scored points in two’s and three’s through blocking and defense to close game one 21-17.
Set two featured five lead changes. After the fourth, Carico/Ross came back to even the score at 10-10. Again, Carico/Ross elevated their level of play, this time through tough serving (including a net dribbler) and defense. Carico/Ross scored points while serving to go up 12-10, 15-12, 18-14, and sided out out on their second attempt to take the championship 21-17.
It feels really exciting, Carico said. I think it’s a great team effort and really a lot of heart out there. So fun.
It’s been a long road, but finally Lane and I got linked up together, and were just vibing off each other, and just feeling it, and loving volleyball right now, Ross said.
When asked about playing for her first win, Carico said: I think there was a huge amount of silent intensity on our side, and it just carried us and we felt it from each other and that was huge. Every game were trying to learn more and more and just carry it over to the next game so I guess we came out on top today.
Both teams finalists emerged from the contender’s bracket. Carico/Ross knocked off No. 3 Angela Bensend/Geena Urango 21-16, 23-21, while Fopma/Hochevar upset No. 1 Kim DiCello/Kendra VanZwieten 21-16, 23-21 in the other women’s semi.