Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb take their first match against Casey Patterson and Theo Brunner to make it to the Semifinals of the Porsche Cup. It took them no time at all to warm up – they hit .550 as a team, Taylor had 8 digs, and Jake had 3 terminal blocks and 3 controlled blocks. They also had 6 aces as a team, 4 for Taylor and 2 for Jake.
Court 2 was lit all weekend, and the first match of Sunday fit right into that mold. Chase Budinger and Chaim Schalk led the whole first set and took it 21-19. The second was all Stafford and Billy. They secured a commanding lead early on and won the set 21-11. The third was the definition of a barnburner – neither team had more than a 1-point lead the entire time. Chaim and Chase froze the score 14-13 and ended the match on a scramble play with Chase patrolling the net and putting it away. All four players had a phenomenal showing – the match really could have gone either way. Billy Allen hit .703 with 27 kills and only 1 error; he also had 13 digs. Stafford had 12 kills, 5 digs, 2 terminal blocks, 6 controlled blocks, and 4 aces. Chase had 16 kills, 2 terminal blocks, 6 controlled blocks, and an ace. Chaim Schalk hit .618 with 22 kills and only 1 error.
Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes got their redemption against Sarah Hughes and Brandi Wilkerson. Every weekend of the Series, these two teams have matched up and battled it out. With Sara and Brandi taking the first two wins, Sarah and Kelly were determined to break the cycle. Kelly was absurd – 28 kills, 8 digs, 3 terminal blocks, and 5 controlled blocks. She played some of her best volleyball of the tournament, and Sarah gave her plenty of on-two opportunities with her 18 digs.
The legend of Court 2 lived on in the second match of the day. Emily Stockman and Kelley Kolinske staved off a third-set match point to win 16-14 against Q6 Kenzie Ponnet and Sheila Shaw. All four players again put up big numbers – Kenzie had 24 kills, 29 digs, and 3 aces. Sheila had 17 kills, 17 digs, 3 terminal blocks, and 4 controlled blocks. Kelley had 17 kills with no errors, 15 digs, 1 terminal block, and 10 controlled blocks. Emily had 23 kills and 28 digs.
Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena beat Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb once more, this time in the Semifinals. Dalhausser looked solid with 14 kills, 2 terminal blocks, 5 controlled blocks, and 3 aces. Nick was a beast in the backcourt notching 14 digs. Even their 10 service errors and Jake’s 5 blocks didn’t stop these two from punching their ticket to Final #3 in as many weekends. They looked as strong as ever heading into the last match of the year.
No one was surprised when Court 2 went to 3 sets again. Trevor Crabb and Tri Bourne won 15-12 after a potentially game-changing call. During a scramble play at 10-9 in the third, Chaim shanked a dig that Budinger ran after. Budinger’s set was super tight and heading across the net when Tri Bourne shoved it down. But the ref called over the plane of the net; Tri and Trevor lost their minds. I’m honestly surprised Tri didn’t get a red card. But I also don’t fault them for their reactions. After viewing ample replays, I wholeheartedly disagree with the call. They switched 10-10 and Tri and Trevor had two options – use it as fuel or fold like a card table. They chose the former. After a sideout, Trevor got a terminal block and Tri converted the next dig into a point to go up 13-10. From then on, they enjoyed a lead and rode it into the finals. Tri had 20 kills, 9 digs, 2 terminal blocks, 7 controlled blocks, and 2 aces.
April Ross and Alix Klineman head to another final with their win over Kelley Kolinske and Emily Stockman. The A-Team got down at the beginning of both sets, but they stayed steady and do what they do so often – chip away and all of a sudden they’re in the lead and then win the set. April did April things that set them over the edge, including her 15 kills, 12 digs, and 2 aces. Alix handled the net notching 4 terminal blocks and 3 controlled blocks, while also earning 14 kills.
Court 2 surprised us this time, providing a 2-set easy victory over the World Champs Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan for Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes. Team Slaes was in control from point 1, getting a 9-3 lead in the first set. They played so well. Sarah had 10 kills with no errors and 9 digs. Kelly had 17 kills, 9 digs, 3 terminal blocks (including to finish the match), and 4 controlled blocks.
Trevor Crabb guaranteed a win earlier this week on his Instagram. And he delivered. Trevor Crabb and Tri Bourne played an incredible match to take the last Cup of the Series against the defending Champs Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena. This is the first time Phil and Nick have lost a match the entire Series. I highly recommend watching this match on Amazon Prime or NBCSN – it’s hard to convey the energy and excitement. Anticipation was high; while Nick and Phil were looking for a 3-peat, Trevor had to follow through on his promise. He also needed his first tournament victory with Tri to bolster and solidify their partnership heading into next year. They did just that, and it wasn’t an easy road. On Saturday, they beat Trevor’s little brother Taylor for the first time in the Series to stay in the Winner’s Bracket. And defeating Phil and Nick is no small task; Tri and Trevor knew they had to be firing on all cylinders to pull this one out. Tri Bourne had a great match with 23 kills, 7 digs, 2 terminal blocks, and 4 controlled blocks. The best part of this is that Trevor publicly guaranteed a W, a seemingly impossible feat on Thursday. And he actually did it. That’s gotta feel good. This is also the first tournament Trevor has won that Taylor played in. Congrats to Tri and Trevor. Now they can talk trash for the next nine months until the next one.
Unbeatable. Undefeated. Unbelievable. April Ross and Alix Klimenan sweep the Champions Cup Series winning the Monster Hydro, Wilson, and Porsche Cups without losing a single match. This week, they took down Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes in 2 sets, 21-18, 21-17, and clinched the top Champions Cup Bonus Prize Purse, along with bragging rights until the next tourney. The A-Team looked so good, better than ever. Ross had 14 kills, 14 digs, and 3 aces. Klineman had 16 kills, a controlled block, and an ace. But their chemistry is what won the match. April and Alix are solid, and they duly earned this Champions Cup domination.