The 2018 AVP Pro Tour brought the sunshine to the Pacific Northwest for the AVP Seattle Open. Lake Sammamish accompanied the tournament with gorgeous lakeside views as athletes brought incredible beach volleyball action all weekend.
The Qualifiers kicked off Thursday, June 21st with the men competing at Lake Sammamish and the women competing at Bottega State Park. These eight teams emerged from the intense Qualifier rounds and claimed the final Main Draw spots:
- Nicolette Martin / Allie Wheeler
- Delaney Knudsen / Jessica Sykora
- Falyn Fonoimoana / Alexa Strange
- Cassie House / Molly Turner
- Maddison McKibbin / Riley McKibbin
- Marty Lorenz / Raffe Paulis
- Eric Beranek / Michael Brunsting
- Michael Boag / Skylar del Sol
Friday’s crowd gathered in numbers to witness the excitement that beach volleyball exudes. The top seeds carried on with the Winner’s bracket as No. 1 and No. 2 seeds for both genders proceeded to Saturday’s Elimination Rounds. For the men, No. 1 Phil Dalhausser & Nick Lucena made quick work of their two opponents in straight sets, while No. 2 Theo Brunner & John Hyden went to three sets to see their victory over Chase Budinger & Sean Rosenthal in an animated match as the crowd filled the stands of Stadium Court. On the women’s side, No. 2 Emily Day & Betsi Flint successfully claimed their spot in Saturday’s Elimination Rounds after a close bout with Karolina Marciniak & Kendra Van Zwieten before reeling off six straight points for the 16-14 win in the third set. “The setting for the AVP Seattle Open is ideal, right on the water and in the beautiful Lake Sammamish State Park,” said AVP CEO Donald Sun. “We look forward to another day of great action and tremendous support from the fans over the weekend in our fourth straight year here.”
With the weekend upon the horizon, Saturday’s competition attracted eager crowds to watch the toughest beach volleyball athletes battle it out in the Elimination Rounds. Under the long-awaited Seattle sunshine, spectators filled the site to support their favorite teams as bald eagles soared across the bright skies. On a high note from the women’s side, Amanda Dowdy and teammate Irene Pollock reached their well-deserved Semifinals match after winning four straight matches through the Contender’s bracket. For the men, Dalhausser and Lucena defeated two-time defending AVP Seattle Open champion, Billy Allen, and 7’1” partner Ryan Doherty in a nail-biting three set victory, 21-15, 19-21, 16-14.
The conclusion of the four-day 2018 AVP Seattle Open ended on a thrilling note with exuberant crowds and prolific action on Stadium Court. Day / Flint opened the morning battle with a win against Dowdy / Pollock, while Ross / Ledoux took out the No. 1 seed Claes / Hochevar. Dalhausser / Lucena secured their rightful spot in the finals for the third time this season, and found themselves in a AVP Gold Series // NYC Open Championship rematch against Taylor Crabb & Jake Gibb.
In the action-packed one hour and 17-minute women’s final, the teams traded numerous Championship point opportunities, with Day / Flint finally claiming their sweet victory on their 6th attempt of Championship point. Ross / Ledoux, pairing for the first time, also had six attempts to win on their serve. In all, an incredible 29 points were played after the score was “frozen,” meaning teams must serve the ball to score after one of the teams has reached match point (ie- match point switches to old-school, side-out scoring.) After winning the first set for the men’s finals, Crabb / Gibb collected five Championship points in the second set before seeing redemption from their loss at the 2018 AVP Gold Series // New York City Open. After a powerful serve from Gibb, Lucena’s pass attempt to Dalhausser went back over the net, giving Crabb / Gibb the perfect setup for the massive Gibb spike to seal the Championship win.
With the celebratory champagne spraying across the court and crowd on their feet, the 2018 AVP Seattle Open came to an end. The Pro Tour continues to its fourth stop at San Francisco from July 5th – 8th. See ya there!