85 million sets of eyes caught amazing volleyball action in 2018. Were you there – either at the beach or watching from home? Well, if you missed a moment from the AVP 2018 season, we’re here to catch you up before the 2019 tour kicks off in May.
AVP Veterans, Youngblood Teammates
Sure, familiar names pulled championship titles, but what moved the AVP last summer was an infusion of new names pushing the veterans to their limit.
The teams of the year, as voted by the players, included both. April Ross, a winner of 33 AVP tournaments (as well as wearing silver and bronze from the Olympics) paired up with Alix Klineman to earn women’s Team of the Year honors in 2018. Klineman was a ninja at the net as she and Ross fought back all comers in the final three tournaments of the year. This season also brought Klineman’s AVP title count from zero to four.
Jake Gibb, 43, notched his 30th AVP win alongside his young partner, Taylor Crabb. The two now own four tournament wins since joining forces. Crabb, 27, provides Gibb with an infusion of youth, not to mention talent, in a unique partnership that earned the duo the men’s Team of the Year title.
The AVP 2018 Rookies of the Year
The breakthroughs came from Chase Budinger and Brittany Howard, the tour’s Rookies of the Year. Howard, the former Stanford star, teamed with the effervescent Kelly Reeves to capture a career best third-place finish and at 6-foot-3, she has proved to be a formidable obstacle on the block.
Budinger, the basketball demon from the University of Arizona spent seven seasons in the NBA before proving he belongs on the AVP Tour. Budinger and partner Sean Rosenthal picked up a team best second-place finish in the San Francisco Open. Throughout the season, Budinger ranked eighth in hitting percentage (.454) and remains one to watch in 2019.
AVP Fan Favorites of 2018
Dynamic teams and fiery rookies got attention, but the top draw continued to be Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena. The 2016 Olympians won four tournaments last year. For those keeping track at home, that bumps Dalhausser’s total to 56 AVP tournament victories, while Lucena has 13 to his name. Together, they’ve owned 11 AVP events.
The 2018 season also shot a red-hot spotlight on Geena Urango and Jeremy Casebeer as they blew away the serving awards. That’s huge because these two beat out Ross (who had dominated this category for the previous five seasons) and Dalhausser, two of the best servers on the world stage.
Sara Hughes and Taylor Crabb mesmerized followers of defensive play, grabbing the title of Defenders of the Year. Meanwhile, at the net Ross and Dalhausser secured Offensive Player of the Year for the 2018 season.
In the end, Ross captured MVP honors for the fifth consecutive season while Taylor Crabb was a first-time winner in the category.
The Big AVP Players for 2019?
Who will earn top honors for this new season? In case you haven’t already caught it, check out our 2019 Scouting Report for a good head’s up. We’ll learn soon enough, though.
The AVP 2019 season starts again on May 3rd in Huntington Beach, California. New heroes will emerge and more eyes will be on the prize as the 2019 season gets served up.