Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes started Championship Sunday off strong with an easy 2-set victory over Q7 Traci Callahan and Crissy Jones. They had 26 kills with only 4 errors as a team. Pavan also had 2 stuff blocks and 4 aces while Humana-Paredes accumulated 17 digs. Callahan and Jones had an impressive first tournament together, though; they won 3 matches to qualify and took down veterans Emily Day and Lauren Fendrick to make it to Sunday. Brandie Wilkerson and Sara Hughes moved onto the Semis after their 2-set victory over Kelly Kolinske and Emily Stockman. Brandi was a wall at the net with 6 stuff blocks and 1 controlled block; she also had 4 aces. Hughes played a tight game with 12 kills and only 1 error, 13 digs, and an ace.
Familiar foes #1 Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena were set to take on #2 Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb in the Monster Hydro Cup Men’s Final. In their semifinal, Dalhausser and Lucena started slow and got down 5-8. But then Phil got two aces and three blocks to get the lead 11-8. From there out, Phil absolutely dominated, netting 10 blocks touches – 7 terminal and 3 controlled. Gibb and Ta. Crabb also started slowly in their semifinal against Chaim Schalk and Chase Budinger and dropped the first set 19-21. The duo played a top-notch defensive game: Gibb had 7 terminal blocks and 5 controlled while Ta. Crabb had 25 digs. Gibb also had 18 kills with only 2 errors and 2 aces. Schalk and Budinger struggled at the service line with 8 errors as a team.
We had semifinal that may reflect the Tokyo 2020 (2021?) Gold Medal Match. AVP’s 2019 Team of the Year April Ross and Alix Klineman took down longtime rivals and 2019 World Champions Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes in the semifinals. It was all Canada in the first set and then all USA until the freeze in the third. The score froze at 14-8 with the A-Team up. But Pavan and Humana-Paredes fought back and scored 4 real points over 22 serves in the freeze. Ross and Klineman then sealed the deal with an impressive scoop and deliver from Ross. This is one of those matches where stats don’t tell the story – the Canadians finished better in nearly every category. But the A-Team’s fire burned stronger when it mattered, and they made it to their first 2020 Final.
Brandi Wilkerson and Sara Hughes made their first final together as a team with their 2-set victory over Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes. Brandi was unstoppable with 17 kills and just 2 errors. She also had 2 terminal blocks, 2 controlled blocks, and 4 aces.
Both #1 Seeds dominated the tournament, sailing through the Winners Bracket to take the Monster Hydro Cup, the first of three events in AVP’s 2020 Champions Cup Series.
Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena take the first Champions Cup weekend in their victory over Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb in the Monster Hydro Cup Men’s Final. The stats don’t tell the story, as Gibb and Crabb played a great match and prevailed in almost every category. But their 10 service errors to Dalhausser and Lucena’s 5 errors didn’t help, along with Dalhausser’s 10 block touches – 4 terminal and 6 controlled.
April Ross and Alix Klineman battled in a tough 2-set battle against Brandie Wilkerson and Sara Hughes. Ross had a monster match hitting .579 with 13 kills and 2 errors. She also had 10 digs and 5 aces. Her serves were on point all match though, including the almost ace that gave them the opportunity for a quick Championship point.
Kim’s Play of the Day
This one happened up in the DJ booth. After a day of small volleyball bets between DJ Roueche and Announcer Mark Schuermann, Mark was up $9. The last bet of the day was a 5 to 1 odds Mark would make an apple core into the small trashcan about 25 ft. away. Mark underhanded it about a foot to the left, but the core bounced off of the adjacent cooler into the bin. He’s now leading $14 over DJ Roueche into Week 2 of the Champions Cup Series.