The first day of AVP beach volleyball in 2020 delivered. I hope you were able to follow along via our Live Scoring and Brackets, and with Mark on the @avpbeach Instagram. We saw intense matches, fun stories, and impressive upsets. Congratulations to Cook/Pardon, Reeves/Cannon, Ratledge/Del Sol, and Jones/Callahan for advancing to the Main Draw. Catch a few of the Week 1 Qualifier Highlights below.
Miles Partain and Ty Loomis had an impressive first match together. These two defenders had a rather unlikely and unexpected partnership. Both Partain and Loomis were waiting for Billy Kolinske to decide who he was playing the Series with. In the meantime, they connected with each other and realized they had potential as a team. “We just talk before and during the play, so there’s not a lot of miscommunication,” Ty says. “And the kid is just so good – so smooth.” Partain is by far the youngest athlete in the Champions Cup at just 18 and still in high school. Loomis, traditionally a defender, handled the net well, putting up 2 controlled blocks and a terminal block.
Of the 12 second and third-round matches, 7 of 12 matches went to three sets.
Underdogs Eric Beranek and Andy Benesh took down Ryan Doherty and Avery Drost in the first round. But they didn’t stop there; they kept rolling, this time through the Q4 powerhouse team TNT – Tim Bomgren and (Eric’s best friend) Troy Field. Benesh was a monster at the net with 5 controlled blocks and 1 terminal block. His dominant coverage also allowed Beranek to get 16 digs behind him.
Olympians Reid Priddy and David Lee eeked out a three-set win over Rosie and Bill Kolinske in the second round. In the first half of the match, Priddy and Lee had 9 hitting errors together; they faced a 17-20 match point in the second. But after a side out, Lee dominated the net getting a controlled block and terminal block to tie it 20-20. From that point on, Priddy and Lee only committed one hitting error as a team and found their rhythm. They won the second 27-25 and then kept the momentum going to easily win the third 15-10.
Top-seeded Karissa Cook and Jace Pardon won a tight three-set match against Sheila Shaw and Kenzie Ponnet. Cook and Pardon were down in the third 11-14, but with their undeniable chemistry and sharp skils, they pulled it out 17-15. Cook and Pardon posted big numbers on both offense and defense; Cook had 16 kills and 17 digs, and Pardon had 24 kills and 13 digs. The split-blockers also got two blocks apiece. Even though Shaw and Ponnet lost, they both had impressive games, as well. Shaw had 20 kills, 5 controlled blocks, and 1 stuff block while Ponnet netted 18 kills and 22 digs.
The last match of the day did not disappoint. Crissy Jones and Traci Callahan duly earned their spot in the Main Draw. In an earlier match, Callahan had 23 kills and only 1 error, while Crissy had 9 kills and no errors. In their final match, both players had 21 kills (insane!), and Callahan posted 20 digs. Their fire and desire to win must have been the X-factor because Reeves and Cannon both had standout games. Reeves accumulated 11 kills with no errors and 19 digs. Cannon also netted 21 kills, 5 stuff blocks, 5 controlled blocks, and 5 aces.
Kim’s Play of the Day
In the last match, Kelly Reeves made an insane dig on a cut shot from Traci Callahan. But her dig went over the net, and Crissy Jones HAMMERED the ball back, blasting Kelly in the shoulder while she was still on the ground. It was so powerful. I think the ground shook. And we were all glad to see Reeves survived.