AVP | June 27, 2017
The fourth stop of the 2017 AVP Pro Tour brought long-awaited sun to the great Pacific Northwest with the Seattle Open from June 22nd – 25th. With a location next to Lake Sammamish, beautiful views were accompanied by incredible beach volleyball action.
Friday’s crowds gathered to cheer on the most accomplished AVP and Olympic stars in the Main Draw matches. On the men’s side, No. 5 ranked team Billy Allen and Stafford Slick played a close match against No. 4 Ryan Doherty and John Hyden. Ultimately, Doherty and Hyden pulled away with the victory. In three sets, the No. 3 ranked Trevor Crabb and Sean Rosenthal overtook the No. 6 pairing of Phil Dalhausser and new partner Adam Roberts.
The No. 1 seeded women’s pair of Lane Carico and Lauren Fendrick handedly defeated No. 9 Karolina Marciniak and Kendra Van Zwieten. Earlier in the Friday sun, No. 6 ranked Jennifer Fopma and Kelly Reeves overcame tough competitors No. 3 Kim DiCello and Emily Stockman.
Saturday’s play attracted eager crowds to watch the toughest beach volleyball competitors in the Elimination Rounds. Under the beaming sun, spectators filled Lake Sammamish beach supporting their favorite teams with everything from the impromptu wave, homemade signs to stadium court and group chants of “Ole!”
The solid women’s team of No. 2 ranked team Summer Ross and Olympian Brooke Sweat locked their spot in the Semi-Finals after winning an intensely close match against No. 6 Jen Fopma and Kelly Reeves. No. 1 ranked Lane Carico and Olympian Lauren Fendrick were upset by a motivated No. 4 pair of Betsi Flint and Kelley Larsen.
Lane Carico and Lauren Fendrick later found themselves in new territory in the Contender’s Brackets, facing off the same team they faced on Friday – the No. 16 ranked team advancing from the Qualifiers and new partners, Skylar Caputo and Canadian Olympian Sarah Pavan. Caputo and Pavan eliminated the top-ranked Carico and Fendrick, and headed on to compete against Summer Ross and Brooke Sweat for a chance to win their first AVP Semi-Finals ever as a team in the Elimination Rounds. Jen Fopma and Kelly Reeves also advanced to meet Betsi Flint and Kelley Larsen in Sunday’s semis.
In what shaped up to be the most contentious and spirited men’s match of the day, No. 7 Jeremy Casebeer and John Mayer successfully fought off the fierce team of No. 16 ranked team and Olympians Ricardo Santos (Brazil) and Chaim Schalk (Canada) to earn a spot in the Semi-Finals.
Soaring bald eagles and Wilson balls fiercely flew over Lake Sammamish in front of 11,000 loyal AVP fans who braved record Pacific Northwest heat on Sunday to witness the remaining athletes battle for the title and prize money.
The No. 1 pairing of Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb began their Sunday morning against the No. 5 team of Stafford Slick and Billy Allen. Playing with a laser-focus, Slick and Allen took the AVP Gold Series // NYC Open 2017 champions of Crabb and Gibb in two sets, with Slick sending the winning match ball into the beer deck. No. 7 Jeremy Casebeer and John Mayer met No. 3 Trevor Crabb and Sean Rosenthal for a determined Semi- Final match. Crabb and Rosenthal worked diligently together to close out Casebeer and Mayer in two close sets.
The women’s Semi-Final matches kicked off with the No. 4 pair of Betsi Flint and Kelley Larsen versus the No. 6 team of Jennifer Fopma and Kelly Reeves. Flint and Larsen took the match in two straight sets, setting them up nicely for the women’s finals. The Cinderella story of the Seattle Open, the No. 16 ranked pair who successfully worked their way up the Qualifiers to make the semis, Skylar Caputo and Sarah Pavan faced the ever solid No. 2 duo of Summer Ross and Brooke Sweat. Ultimately, Ross and Sweat clinched the win and headed back to the women’s final for a second consecutive AVP tourney.
Nearing 100 degrees on Stadium Court, the men’s Final featured a fired-up Stafford Slick and partner Billy Allen versus Trevor Crabb and Sean Rosenthal. Under the blazing rays, Crabb and Rosenthal forced three passionate sets, but Slick and Allen had the competitive edge to lock up the win, making it the very first AVP win for Slick and the second AVP win for the defending Seattle Open men’s champ, Allen. On the women’s side, the weekend’s two undefeated teams put on an impressive performance in the Finals with Betsi Flint and Kelley Larsen putting forth their best skills. In the end, the women’s win belonged to the continuing, solid performance of defending Seattle Open women’s champion, Summer Ross and an animated Brooke Sweat who had the crowd on their feet.
With the champagne and excitement settling, the Seattle Open came to an end. The 2017 AVP Tour continues to San Francisco from July 6th – 9th. See ya there!