It’s hard to beat the MBO, but if any city is going to do it – it’s Chicago.
I love this event. Skyscrapers dominate your view on Stadium Court. Tons of foot traffic bring new fans to the game. Great restaurants, shopping, attractions, and coffee surround the event. It’s deliciously fun.
We can’t discuss the 2022 Chicago Open without mentioning what’s on the line. While every event brings the promised glory of hoisting the trophy on Sunday afternoon, most teams competing in Chicago are playing for something even bigger – a spot in the Phoenix Championships. Chicago is the last of the three Gold Series events that qualify teams for a place in the $100,000 event in a few weeks.
Just a reminder: teams qualify for the Phoenix Championships via their best 2 of 3 Gold Series finishes. The 3 Gold Series events are Atlanta, Manhattan Beach, and Chicago. Phoenix will be a 6-team event (per gender). Four teams will qualify based on their finishes and be the top 4 seeds. There are also 2 Wild Cards, which can go to any team (including those who finish in the 5 and 6 spots). We don’t know how those Wild Cards will be doled out. Therefore – only teams who finish in the top 4 are locked into Phoenix.
Before we get to it – you have to know something. AVP Announcer Mark Schuermann is a math wizard. Just when you thought he was all buttery voice and hot bod, you realize he has a brain to go with it.
Yes, I’m biased. We’re married, after all. But I genuinely needed to brag on him because Mark’s volleyball nerd/supercomputer brain is the crux of this piece. And of your enhanced Chicago experience. Mark worked out every single possible scenario for each viable team. It took a couple days of concentrated effort and a lot of formatting.
Of the 12 Men’s and 10 Women’s teams still in the running, only three have secured their ticket to the Championships. Chaim Schalk/Theo Brunner stand alone on the Men’s side. Sara Hughes/Kelley Kolinske are the only team who have guaranteed a top 2 seed in Phoenix, achieving a bye into the Semifinals. Sarah Sponcil and Terese Cannon are also into Phoenix, but they haven’t locked up a bye.
Some teams can secure their spot in Phoenix by their own hand; they control their destiny. Others need to both finish well in Chicago and also have other teams not do so well. But it’s so much more than that, so I’ll let you click on this link and Mark can take it from here…