We’re almost halfway through the AVP 2022 season, and it just keeps getting better. Bigger draws, grander stadiums, and more money at the upcoming three-event Gold Series take everything to the next level. With Atlanta in just a few days, we figured we’d give a little rundown of how these events will look different.
Think of the Gold Series like Tennis Grand Slams or Golf Majors. The Gold Series comprises the most significant events of the year, the linchpins of the season. Prize money more than doubles, points increase, and the 32-team MBO Main Draw affords 64 more athletes the chance for glory.
Also – our beloved, full-blown wraparound Stadium Court is back, baby. At all three stops. This means plenty of seats all weekend long. Club AVP provides food, shade, and all-important drink tickets. Sponsor village will feature more vendors, meaning extra free stuff from old favorites and newly-discovered brands.
Basically, all that you know and love about the AVP in full force.
The 2022 AVP Championships raise the stakes even higher. The esteemed end-of-year event will take place in the Phoenix Suns arena at the end of September. Competition will be fierce, with only six teams per gender and a $100K prize purse. And inclusion all hinges on Gold Series performance.
Teams will be awarded Championship entry based on their best two of three Gold Series event finishes. The top four best finishes will automatically be entered; the other two spots are either awarded to AVP-designated Wild Cards or the next two top teams. Win a Gold Series event, and you’re almost guaranteed a shot at the 100K. Bomb one, and you better bounce back right quick for the next two.
Teams are showing up for the Gold Series, both figuratively and literally. Everyone will be on their A-Game, digging deep to make the Finals and secure their spot in Phoenix. And we mean everyone; almost every top AVP team will be at all three events. Your longtime favorites, the new athlete you’re excited about, and those you’ve never heard of who are about to change that. They’ll all be at the Gold Series – will you?
Of the three events – Atlanta, Manhattan, and Chicago – the Manhattan Beach Open remains the premier event. Christened the Wimbledon of Beach Volleyball (see, I told you these were like the Grand Slams), MBO is in a league its own.
The MBO is one of the longest-running beach volleyball tournaments in America. History runs deep, and the SoCal fans know their volleyball. We experienced a hint of what it will be like at the early-July Hermosa Beach Pro Series stop. Crowds 5-people deeps surrounding every court. An engaged and knowledgeable crew packing Stadium Court from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon. The energy was tangible and infectious. Cannot wait to get that tenfold in Manhattan.
Manhattan will also host the only on-site Qualifier of the year. While Atlanta and Chicago have the now-typical Tour Series feeder events (in Atlantic City, NJ and Seaside, OR, respectively), the deep sands of Manhattan Beach will be riddled with Qualifier hopefuls. Which for we fans means an extra day of high-level volleyball on Thursday. Yay!
But before we get to Manhattan Beach, we have the hot, hot, hot Atlanta Open kicking everything off. We’re in the same location at the same time of year; if you remember how much fun we had last year, then I’d start hydrating now. For a myriad of reasons.
Just like last year, we’re running night sessions to keep the players cool and the party going. With temperatures hovering around 100 degrees – increased electrolytes, smart snacking, ice baths, and extra long water breaks will prove key. The athletes have been preparing with sauna training and practicing in the middle of the day (South Bay mornings are quite crisp, even in the summer, due to our perpetual morning marine layer). Fort Lauderdale was comparable to what Atlanta will be like, and we saw the heat take a toll on many. A handful of athletes are staying over in Florida or went straight to Atlanta to continue heat training; we’ll see how the temperature affects the results of Atlanta.
I’m so looking forward to seeing who steps up in this first of the Gold Series. As recent champs Tina Graudina and Hailey Harward won’t be in attendance, our other three 2022 Champs will be duking out for the elusive second title. Those who haven’t won one are likely hungrier for glory. I’m sure Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss are chomping at the bit for the chance to relive their first AVP win. Last summer, the young duo shocked us when they won their debut event together through the Qualifier. Maybe there’s something about Atlanta that just works for them.
Chase Budinger and Casey Patterson took the title last year, but of course, they’re playing with different people in 2022. Patterson and Dalhausser are looking for a second team win, while Budinger and his partner Troy Field and hungry for their first. Hermosa Champs Chaim Schalk and Theo Brunner are coming in as the #1 seed, with Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb right on their heels. And I’m sure Taylor Crabb and Sander, after two Finals appearances in a row and then a third in Ft. Lauderdale, will bring the heat in ATL. Of course, Trevor Crabb guaranteed a win, and we all know what happens when he does that. He’s 3 for 3 so far, but every other Men’s team is gunning to stop the run.
It’s a full field, and everyone’s ready to grind for their spot in the Phoenix Champs. We kick off the Atlanta Gold Series THIS WEEKEND! Secure your spot from General Admission to Club AVP here!
See you out there, likely with a big straw hat and Liquid IV.