Sun, surf, sand and volleyball— there is no better combination than that in Southern California, particularly in Huntington Beach, CA, where today the AVP professional beach season kicked into gear! From reading players’ Instagram, Twitter and Facebook posts there was no doubt this anticipation was going to result in high energy play with teams wanting to start off the 2019 right!
In the Men’s Bracket, all the top seeds did what they were supposed to do and there were no upsets, and all the teams that were expected to drop into the contender’s bracket did so. The largest upset happened in Match 25 where Webber/Honer, seeded 21st, took down Frishman/Marciniak, seeded #11, in 3 sets. The most energetic match of the day on the Men’s side happened in Stadium Court featuring Rafu (Roberto Rodriguez) and “The Rat” (Ed Ratledge), battling former NBA standout Chase Budinger and the electric Casey Patterson. Rafu was coming up with defensive saves that had the crowd in awe. Chase Budinger showed off his “Wrist On A Swivel” attack as he blasted a ball cross-court and bounced it within 5 feet of the other side of the net. After this jaw-dropping kill, Patterson made the gesture of dislocating his arm in funky positions that involved dislocating wrists, shoulders and elbows to emulate Budingers’ recent circus shot attack! Let’s just face it— Casey Patterson was born to entertain not only with his excellent level of play, but also for his vibrant personality!
In the Women’s Bracket, most of the top seeds also won as they were supposed to, except for the newly formed team of 21st seed Maria Clara Salgado and Traci Callahan who defeated #12-seed Allen/Schuh, then #5-seed Claes /Wilkerson, then finally dropped their 3rd Round Main Draw Bracket match to #4 Emily Day/Betsi Flint. Other than that, the twin youngsters from Newport Beach, Audrey and Nicole Nourse qualified for their 1st-ever main draw! They are just a mere couple of 16 year-olds. Ironically, the were eliminated by another set of 16 year olds who also qualified for their first main draw, Megan Kraft and Delayney Maple.! On a personal note, my favorite player to watch on Day 1 was Brandy Wilkerson who was either rejecting attackers or swatting balls for put-aways!
More to come on Day #2 of the AVP Huntington Beach! Check back in tomorrow!