It’s finally Springtime again, which only means summer is just around the corner. Time to hit the beach, break out the sunscreen, and plan out your 2019 summer schedule. As the AVP pros begin warming up down in “Surf City,” now’s the perfect time for an early scouting report of the coming season.
THE AVP 2019 TOUR SCHEDULE
Everything kicks off the weekend of May 3rd with the AVP Huntington Beach Open.
The AVP is rocking an eight-city tour across the U.S.A this year:
- Huntington Beach, CA (May 3 – 5)
- Austin, Texas (May 17 – 19)
- New York City (June 7 – 9)
- Seattle (June 21 – 23)
- Hermosa Beach (July 26 – 28)
- Manhattan Beach (August 16 – 18)
- Chicago for the The Gold Series Championships (August 30 – September 1)
- …and the season sets with the Hawaii Open (September 20 – 22)
THE AVP 2019 TOUR TEAMS
Whether you’re pulling for an aspiring new team – or a team of veterans – here is our breakdown for the teams to watch on the men’s side.
Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena
These Florida natives have established themselves as one of the top AVP teams in the world and their dominant road to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics proved that. Just by stepping on the court, expect the six-nine Dalhausser (56 career AVP titles) to ruin many opponent’s day with the size of his block and his experience on the sand. Lucena’s defense, quick arm swing, creative shots at the net make the two of them a deadly combination. While they are certainly the team to beat on the court, these childhood buddies spend just as much time taunting each other’s alma mater off the court – it’s Dalhausser touting Central Florida, then Lucena (14 career wins) lashing back with the tomahawk of Florida State.
Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb
It’s safe to say that Gibb’s chase for a fourth appearance in the Olympics has been boosted by the youthful fire – and talent – of his 27-year-old teammate, Crabb. The former NCAA Player of the Year from Long Beach State brings explosive defense and creativity to the sand. Combine that with Gibb’s veteran savvy and you’ve got a team that is entertaining to watch and tough to beat. Gibb has 30 victories on the AVP and Crabb has four, all with Gibb.
Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb
These Hawaiian natives – and childhood friends from Waikiki – are ready to hit the 2019 season like a wave. While they are still a relatively new team on the tour, they have been siding out together since they were kids at the Outrigger Canoe Club. Both have their foundation as blockers, can play defense, possess power and finesse in their game. Bourne was an Olympic hopeful for the 2016 Rio games with John Hyden but was sidelined with an auto-immune disease 2 years ago. After a long journey and recovery, Bourne has bounced back and is ready to make his mark on the sand in 2019. He won three AVP crowns with John Hyden and Crabb, who has six international victories, is looking for his first on the AVP Tour.
Sean Rosenthal and Ricardo Santos
NEW TEAM ALERT: These Olympians have medals to back up their skills and showcase their experience. Rosie has made it to two Olympics in 2008 and 2012 with Gibb. His partner, Ricardo (44), has snagged gold, silver, and bronze jewelry from four Olympiads, representing Brazil. Rosenthal keeps the opposition on their toes, able to swing with either arm and dazzle with both. The equally-versatile Ricardo, at 6’7”, is known as a blocker yet he has played (and won) with partners who required him to play a strong defense. Ricardo became eligible to join the AVP when he established residency in Florida. This new team is one you need to have on your radar.
Ryan Doherty and John Hyden
46-year-old Hyden will take challengers to volleyball school on the sand. He’s the oldest player in history to win an international tournament (41 years, 8 months, 15 days) when he and Bourne captured gold in 2014 at the FIVB Berlin event. Two years later, he snagged bronze in the FIVB World Tour Finals in Toronto. This season he’s paired up with Doherty, a former baseball pitcher from Notre Dame who has the distinction of tying for the tallest player on the beach (7-1) with Wilt Chamberlain.
It’s a crucial year for American Women as the new guard battles to establish itself in the AVP – and we can’t wait to see how this season unfolds.
April Ross and Alix Klineman
Ross, a true competitor, already has silver and bronze on her Olympic resume. Not only is Ross one of the most talented players to hit the beach, she’s teamed up with the 6-4 Klineman, who gave up the indoor game to step back onto the sand of her native Manhattan Beach. The duo won four AVP tournaments in 2018, including the last three of the season. And they are on a roll – winning 15 matches in a row and 19 of their last 20.
Sara Hughes and Summer Ross
Hughes (24) and Ross (26) may be young, but they are a force to be reckoned with on the beach. They’ve won everything they entered, growing up. For instance, Ross won the Under-19 World Championship and the Under-21 World Championship – in the same calendar year. Hughes went 48-0 in her junior year at USC, easily being named one of the best college athletes in the nation. In the 2018 season, these two took home two AVP titles and appeared in four finals, frequently facing Ross/Klineman which has turned into an ongoing battle the fans are itching to see.
Emily Day and Betsi Flint
Day and Flint are both Loyola Marymount University grads. Even though they attended at different times – and never even really knew each other until the 2018 season – keep an eye out for these Lions. Day has captured the Manhattan Beach Open twice, going back-to-back in 2016 and 2017, proving she is a top player on tour. Combining Day’s strong presence at the net with Flint’s incredible knowledge of the game (Flint is also the Sand Volleyball coach at LMU), the duo won twice on the AVP tour last year and they’ve set their eyes on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Emily Stockman and Kelley Larsen
A new team formed in 2018, Stockman and Larsen bring veteran savvy into the 2019 season. They played four AVP events together last year and captured a season-high third place in the iconic Manhattan Beach Open. Although not the AVP finishes they were hoping for last season, don’t underestimate this team. They are further securing their partnership on the international level, having participated in 11 events with strong finishes throughout.