Dream Scenarios for the 2022 AVP Season

I have too much free time on my hands these days. I mostly split it between watching Jeopardy/Wheel of Fortune and thinking about next season – imagining new partnerships and rematches and players returning from retirement. In light of that, I thought I’d share some of My Dream Scenarios for the 2022 AVP Season. 

The Crabb brothers get back together. 

It’s been reported and is now widely known on the beach that Taylor Crabb has picked up indoor Olympian Taylor Sander. What’s unknown is if their team name will be TayTay, Taylor Squared, or SandCrabb. Will keep you posted. But what I really want is for Taylor and Trevor to give it another go. They’re friends again (after weeks of playing video games during quarantine; love), and both are playing excellent volleyball. Taylor’s fiery play and calm demeanor, plus Trevor’s villain energy and never-quit mentality, make for a phenomenal team. However much I adore Hawaiian besties Trevor and Tri together, and I’m excited to see Sander’s potential, I still want to see Crabb/Crabb back on the sand together. 

The A-Team vs. The Eh-Team MBO Rematch

April and Alix vs. Canadians Sarah and Melissa in the Manhattan Beach Open Final in 2019 was EPIC. After an hour and 18 minutes of a knock-down, drag-out fight, the Canadians claimed the title with a 28-26, 16-21, 16-14 victory. April and Alix then, of course, re-won the title in 2021. But the Canadians weren’t at the 2021 tournament. I need a rematch – two of the most dominant teams in the world battling it out in our backyard. The Gold Medalists vs. The World Champs. Too good. 

Sean Rosenthal gets Jake Gibb out of retirement for MBO 2022 

Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb after Gibb’s final match in Chicago. (Photo by Mpu Dinani)

I never got to see Jake and Rosie play in person. They’re one of the most dominant teams in USA history, and they’re both still so good. Rosie has been battling injury for a couple of seasons; he doesn’t have a set partner (yet). I just hope whoever he gets would be chill with Rosie dumping him for a tournament to pick up his ole Olympic partner. Of course, Jake has to be willing to forgo retirement in his very first season off the sand. And while that’s unlikely, a girl can dream. 

Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena pick up a ton of new partners.

The decades-long friends and partners announced that they won’t be playing together or internationally. But they both seem to be interested in the AVP. Rumor has it Phil has a new partner, a situation I’m much looking forward to. But who will Nick pick? His last-minute partnership with TJ DeFalco in MBO 2021 was absolutely delightful to follow. They were both having so much fun and are just absolutely dynamite athletes. What if Nick picked up someone new for every tourney —just playing a little Round Robin with everyone until he got it right? Seeing as how much fun he and TJ were, I’m here for that.

Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes play against each other. A lot. 

Sponcil and Claes at the Atlanta Gold Series 2021 (Photo by Robert Beck)

I always love when former partners play each other, but this one hits harder. After their most successful season ever – two FIVB victories, qualifying for the Olympics in the 11th hour, and earning 9th place in the Games – Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes called it quits. From the outside, it’s hard to tell why these two young athletes wouldn’t play together anymore. They’re both so young and talented, though, so they now have the world of new partners open to them. With NCAA athletes improving at lightning speed and a stellar crop of current AVP pros, I foresee both parts of Team Slaes (RIP that perfect team name) finding excellent replacements. And then I want to see them match up against each other to see who got the better end of the breakup. 

April Ross and Sarah Pavan play an event together. 

Okay, this is probably my most far-fetched wishlist item of all. But how awesome would this be? April and Sarah are two of the best in the world in their roles. They’re also two of the most dedicated and intense beach volleyball players I’ve ever seen. You should see these two women in practice. They’re hardcore. In competition, their game faces are unmatched. Not that Alix and Melissa don’t have a certain level of ruthlessness, but there’s something more die-hard about April and Sarah to me. They’ve been rivals for so long, to see them on the same side of the net would be so satisfying. Putting my bid in for that one-time partner switch-up.