Day One of the Wilson Cup Main Draw saw four new qualifying teams. On the ladies’ side, Emily Day and Lauren Fendrick got back where they belong in the Main Draw, and they won their first match against last weekend’s Finalists Sara Hughes and Brandie Wilkerson. Day had a solid match with 20 kills and 3 errors, 12 digs, and 2 aces. Fendrick blocked well with 4 terminal blocks and 3 controlled blocks. She also had 4 aces, 2 of which were the last 2 points that sealed the first set for them 27-25.
The other lady qualifiers, Team Whiggle – Corrine Quiggle and Allie Wheeler, had a strong showing even with two losses. They took the A-Team to three sets in their first match; in their second, they closed an 11-17 lead to a 19-21 finishing score.
On the men’s side, Ricardo Santos and Miles Evans gelled as a team on Friday but struggled offensively in their first match, notching 13 kills with 10 errors as a team. Ricardo made up for it with 8 terminal blocks in his next match and a comeback in the freeze, but they couldn’t close it out against Hyden and Casebeer. We’ll see this explosive team in next week’s Qualifier as the Q1 seed.
And you can’t forget the unlikely yet charming duo in Ty Loomis and Miles Partain. Separated by no less than 23 years of age, Loomis and Partain fought through the Friday Qualifier against some big teams. They took down last weeks’ Qualifiers Ed Ratledge and Skylar Del Sol in their second round, and then the favorites Tim Bomgren and Troy Field in the Game to Get In. They struggled in the Main Draw against top big teams, but we’ll see them in next week’s Porsche Cup Qualifier fresh and ready to go.
April Ross and Alix Klineman dug deep for their first-round win against Qualifiers Corinne Quiggle and Allie Wheeler. The A-Team took the first set easily 21-11. In the second, Team Whiggle came on strong and got a 16-12 lead. Klineman took a long medical timeout, during which she was stretching, squatting, and jumping (looked like a back or knee injury). They then lost the second and started the third set slowly, getting down 3-6. It was then that Ross turned it on and took over the match. They went on a 4-0 run that and the momentum shift was palpable. Ross’ energy infected Klineman also; she looked much stronger at the end of the match and they won easily 15-10. Ross had 22 kills with 3 errors and 17 digs.
Chase Budinger and Chaim Schalk – Team ChaCha – beat John Hyden and Jeremy Casebeer in the first round of play, but not without a fight. They won the first 23-21 after having been down 20-21. They then took a commanding lead in the second and froze the score at 20-11. Hyden and Casebeer didn’t back down though; they earned 5 real points in the 21 serve freeze. In the end, Budinger sealed the deal with a controlled block and kill for the win. Budinger played lights out, notching 13 kills with no errors, 9 digs, 4 terminal blocks, and 6 controlled blocks.
In the second round of the Winner’s Bracket, April Ross and Alix Klineman had another brilliant recovery against Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes to make it to Sunday’s Semifinal. They lost the first 12-21, and Sponcil and Claes looked in charge hitting .611 and owning on defense – Sponcil had 7 digs while Claes had 4 terminal blocks. But then Ross took over in the second notching 13 kills with 2 errors and 10 digs. In set 3, the A-Team hit .571 and limited Sponcil and Claes to only 3 digs and no blocks. This is the second match for the A-Team today that they’ve gone to three and saved the match with an outstanding performance from Ross.
Phil Dalhuasser and Nick Lucena looked strong in their second match against Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb. The Olympians were in control the whole match until the contentious freeze. Crabb and Bourne scored 4 real points in the 14-serve freeze and inspired some trash talk from Lucena. But Bourne’s 10 hitting and 4 service errors added up; they couldn’t pull out the win in the end. To be fair, part of the error problem was Dalhausser’s block – he had 5 terminal blocks and 6 controlled. Phil and Nick’s Bromance is next level this year, and I’m here for it.
John Hyden and Jeremy Casebeer closed out the day with their 2-set victory over Ricardo Santos and Miles Evans. It got a little dicey there in the freeze; Ricardo and Evans scored 2 points in the freeze to make it 19-20. But Casebeer and Hyden closed it down 21-19 to make it to Sunday. Casebeer was kill and error heavy, with 25 kills and 12 errors in 42 attempts. That means only 5 of his attempts didn’t result in a point, either for his team or his opponents. But 8 of his errors were from the wall, who notched 8 terminal blocks and 2 controlled blocks.