If you enjoy rooting for the underdog, keep an eye out for the 14 teams (seven per gender) that automatically qualified for the AVP Manhattan Beach Open after winning their AVPNext regions. Though Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson retain their No. 1 seed (having won five of the last six AVP tournaments), the focus will likely be on the new, or newly resurrected, partnerships between Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, who finished second last week in Seattle, and Sean Rosenthal and Theo Brunner.
Also noteworthy on the men’s side is the partnership between brothers Taylor and Trevor Crabb. Trevor Crabb finished third in New York City with Ty Tramblie, and Taylor Crabb, the younger brother, came through the qualifier in the last two tournaments with Spencer McLachlin. They entered the MBO as a 13-seed and will face AVPNext Southeast Zone winners Jonathan Rogers and Brian Tillman in the first round.
Hudson Bates and Dave McKienzie, aka the Super Smash Bros, will reunite for the first time since the end of the 2014 season. The duo earned a career-high fifth at the Huntington Beach AVP last year; however, theyve been playing with other people so far this season.
On the women’s side, April Ross and Jen Fopma scored the top seed as they seek to earn their second consecutive title. Absent again from the draw are Brooke Sweat and Lauren Fendrick who have played only one AVP tournament so far this season, citing a desire to concentrate on international competition and have time to recover between events.
Lane Carico and Summer Ross will look to have another good showing in only their second AVP tournament together. Last week in Seattle, the duo finished second, losing to Fopma and April Ross in the final.
Breakout stars of the New York City AVP event, Sara Hughes and Kelly Claes will take the sand again in Manhattan Beach, this time as automatic entries into the main draw. The duo missed last week’s event as they were competing in the NORCECA tournament in Canada where they finished third.