The Association of Volleyball Professional (AVP) is back! The 2019 campaign kicked off last weekend with the annual Huntington Beach Open, which went from May 3-5. The weather was sunny, providing crowds all around, food and beverage vendors everywhere, and people waiting anxiously for the tournament winners. After two and a half days of competition, the finals were set.
The women’s final was played first and featured top-seeded April Ross and Alix Klineman, who have won the four previous AVP tournaments dating back to last season, against fourteenth seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan. Ross and Klineman lost the first set 18-21, and battled back in the final two sets and won 21-12 and 17-15. In the third and final set there was a 23 serve “freeze” meaning that neither team won a point because once match point is reached, one must serve in order to get the point. The women’s match was the climax of the day, as the men’s final was much shorter lived.
It was the first tournament played by Parades and Pavan, as they became teammates over the offseason, and they battled throughout the tournament and made it to the finals. Ross, a Newport Harbor alumni and two time Olympic medalist, won her fourth Huntington Beach Open win and 34th AVP win overall.
The men’s final was a little different. Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb, the number one seeded team, had to battle out of the losers bracket after losing early in the first round on Friday. Crabb and Gibb went up against the sixth seeded squad Chase Budinger and Casey Patterson, who went undefeated throughout the tournament. The first set of the men’s final was tied up 24 times, with both sides having set point numerous times, with Crabb and Gibb finally winning the set 27-25. They won the next set 21-14. Gibb, the 43 year-old three time Olympian, won his third Huntington Beach Open and 30th AVP title overall.
The next stop on the AVP Tour will be the Austin Open, which will take place at Krieg Fields in Austin, Texas on May 17-19. The AVP will be back in California on July 26-28 at the Hermosa Beach Open next to the Hermosa Beach Pier.
Reporter: Myles Witte