In case you haven’t noticed, New York City, you have a couple of summer storms brewing. One of these storms comes from the newly released Entry List for the Gold Series, NYC Open.
As we draw closer to next week’s 2019 Gold Series in New York City, many are asking who’s going to stop April Ross and Alix Klineman? In the AVP Huntington Beach Open, they defeated Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan in three sets to grab the championship, then went to Brazil and pulled off a similar result against Mel/Sarah.
In 16 months, they’ve won nine tournaments around the world.
In New York, they face a loaded field. The biggest news ahead of this tournament may be Brooke Sweat’s return to the AVP beach. She’s back for her first AVP tournament since 2017. The 2016 Olympian (who competed with Lauren Fendrick), will be digging shots behind Brandie Wilkerson. Maybe Sweat will win her fourth AVP title with a fourth different partner.
Sara Hughes and Summer Ross are also likely to bring their top game next week. They have won three tournaments together, demonstrating that they can win anywhere (New York, Hermosa Beach, Moscow).
Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman may sometimes slip under the radar but have become another force to be reckoned with. They have been proving themselves in international events and won four consecutive matches in Huntington Beach before they ran into Hughes and Ross.
Finally, you can’t overlook the most recent champs, Jace Pardon and Karissa Cook, who won their final five matches to capture the Austin title.
On the men’s side, there is a juggernaut team that could be described as the elephant in the room.
When Jake Gibb gets on a roll, it’s dangerous for opponents, and clearly explains why he’s called “The Big Nasty.”
Gibb and Taylor Crabb have delivered in their first two AVP tournaments of 2019 and now head to New York for the opening of the Gold Series with hopes of accomplishing the first three-tournament winning streak on the AVP Tour since 2016-17.
The last time a team won three consecutive AVP tournaments? Not surprisingly, it was done by Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, who won in Chicago to finish the 2016 season then opened 2017 by capturing Huntington Beach and Austin.
Gibb and Crabb, while showing their due respect to their Olympic foes, have defeated Dalhausser and Lucena four consecutive times. They’ve met twice this season with epic three-set matches and last year, Gibb and Crabb knocked off Dalhausser and Lucena on the international stage in Gstaad, Switzerland and Doha, Qatar.
Might be a rivalry there. Crabb, 27, is the young whippersnapper in the bunch with Dalhausser and Lucena (both 39) and Gibb (43). As the reigning MVP of the AVP, Crabb still looks up in awe at the level he has reached, matching Lucena shot-for-shot behind a big block.
“I’ve looked up to him for so long, such a great defender,” Crabb said of Lucena. “I’m the new kid who gets to play with his idols he watched growing up. It’s awesome for me, I’m embracing it. I’m having fun.”
All in all, the stage is set for a showdown that is not to be missed. New York– you have your drama, just the way you like it.