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Everything is bigger in Texas, including this weekend’s incredible AVP action where beach volleyball headed to the Lone Star State for the 2017 Austin Open. It marked the second stop of our 2017 tour, and the return to Austin after a 12 year hiatus. The last AVP Austin Open was held in 2005, where Olympians Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena won their first match as a team.

The tourney started with nearly 100 teams competing until 11 pm in Thursday’s Qualification Rounds, and the battles continued throughout the weekend, dedicated crowds gathering with air horns and homemade t-shirts to cheer on the most accomplished AVP and Olympic stars in the Main Draw. Top-ranked athletes included two-time Olympian April Ross, Phil Dalhausser and Texas-based athletes Amanda Dowdy, Irene Pollock and Angela Bensend.

The standout men’s team of Friday were local Austin qualifiers, Francisco Quesada-Paneque and Troy Schlicker who gave it all they had to nearly defeat seasoned AVP pros, including Sean Rosenthal, Trevor Crabb, Stafford Slick and Billy Allen.

Saturday attracted great crowds who briefly braved rain and a lightning delay to watch the toughest competitors in beach volleyball compete in the elimination rounds. From the morning, well into the evening, spectators were steadfast in their support of their favorite teams with the wave, cheers and booming vuvuzelas.

The hot match of the Saturday was Texas women’s team Amanda Dowdy (Lexington, TX) and Irene Pollock (Fort Worth, TX) vs. Angela Bensend (Plano, TX) and Geena Urango (Los Alamitos, CA.). Bensend and Urango, aka #TeamTexMex, locked in their spot after winning a fierce match in two close sets.

Due to the weather delay, the men’s teams battled it out under the lights until well past 9pm, where court sides remained full of boisterous fans. Team consisting of no. 4 John Mayer and Jeremy Casebeer was the last match of the night, taking down No. 12 Reid Priddy and Maddison McKibbin and earning their battle with No. 2 Trevor Crabb and Sean Rosenthal in Sunday’s Semis. No. 1 Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena went undefeated to match up against No. 3 Stafford Slick and Billy Allen in the Semis.

On Sunday, the tournament concluded four days of fierce competition with the Semis and Finals. Stakes were high as the remaining teams battled for the title and prize money in front of a maximum capacity stadium of enthusiastic fans. Spirited crowds arrived with Austin flair in themed costumes, showcasing homemade signs, dancing in support of their favorite athletes, as each fought a hard-earned victory to the finish.

The day belonged to champions Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena on the men’s side, and April Ross and Whitney Pavlik on the women’s side.

The Men’s Final featured the No. 2 seeded team of Trevor Crabb and Sean Rosenthal vs. Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, who sealed their victory in two passionate sets to win in a final, with an intense match point that had the crowd on their feet.

The Women’s Final featured No. 2 April Ross and Whitney Pavlik against No. 3 ranked Kim DiCello and Emily Stockman. April Ross and Whitney Pavlik captured the win in dramatic fashion with a focused, competitive edge over DiCello and Stockman in three sets.

Stop three of the 2017 AVP Pro Tour will continue to New York from June 8-11 at Hudson River Park’s Pier 26/25 and onto additional stops in Seattle, San Francisco, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Chicago. See y’all there!