We are currently in the heart of the 2017 season. The Porcec 5 Star FIVB tournament was last weekend, and the 5 Star Gstaad Major is under way. The four star Olsztyn FIVB tournament starts in two weeks and at the end of July the World Championships will be held in Vienna.
In the USA, the San Francisco AVP event will take place starting on July 6th and the Hermosa event will start on July 20th.
- Summer Ross and Brooke Sweat continue to do well. After a shaky performance in the finals in the NYC AVP final (AVP W NYC), losing to an amazing April Ross and Lauren Fendrick, they won in Seattle (AVP W Seattle), beating Betsi Flint and Kelley Larsen. Summer and Brooke are currently ranked #7 on the FIVB, the top American woman’s team. The pair finished 4th in Ft Lauderdale, 2nd in Moscow, 5th in The Hague and 17th in Porec. Summer and Brooke are currently competing in Gstaad.
- Stafford Slick and his partner Billy Allan won the Seattle open beating Sean Rosenthal and Trevor Crabb in the finals. (Re-watch it here: AVP M Seattle) It was Stafford’s first AVP win and Billy’s second. Billy is one of the hosts of the Podcasts “Coach your Brains Out.” Their latest episode was about Billy’s recent success: CYBO. Billy discusses how his learnings from the podcast have impacted his play. Also Billy has a new blog – you can check it out here: Billy-Allen-Blog
- Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes both won their first FIVB final. In Porcec they beat Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova from the Czech Republic in the finals (FIVB Porec W). With 1st, 2nd, 4th and 9th place finishes on the FIVB this year, Sarah and Melissa is showing to be a very strong contender. Sarah Pavan competed in the last quad with Heather Bansley – they finished 5th in the Rio Olympics. Also Melissa had been competing with Taylor Pischke. Their highest finish was a 5th.
- Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena finished 9th in Porec after winning in Moscow. I hope they bounce back in GSTAAD
- Ryan Doherty and John Hyden are having a disappointing year. Their highlight is a 2nd place finish in the Huntington AVP event. Other than that they have a 5th and 7th on the AVP, as well as a 4th, 5th and 33rd (DNQ) on the FIVB. I’m sure John Hyden is missing Tri Bourne who is out at least for the season fighting an auto-immune muscle disorder.
- Sean Rosenthal and Trevor Crabb are playing very consistently on the AVP with two 2nds, a 3rd and a 5th. Trevor’s brother Taylor along with Jake Gibb are doing better on the AVP with a win and two thirds. Neither team has done better than a 5th on the FIVB.
- Emily Day and Brittany Hochevar are doing well on the AVP, with a 1st and 3rd place finish. Their highest finish on the FIVB is 5th in China.
- Betsi Flint and Kelly Larsen have made two AVP finals this year and have lost both. They competed in a 1 Star FIVB event in China and won.
- April Ross is back from her toe injury and will be playing on Gstaad with Lauren Fendrick. Lauren and April finished in 9th in Moscow.
- Sarah Hughes and Kelly Claes best finish on the AVP is a disappointing 7th place however they have two 5ths on the FIVB, one in Porec and one in Rio. It is unusual for a team do be doing better in 3/4/5 Star FIVB events than AVP events.
GSTAAD 5 STAR
The $300K per gender GSTAAD 5 STAR FIVB event is under way, one of three remaining very large purse events in 2017. Every match will be streamed live and available via replay here: GSTAAD.
The GSTAAD major consists of round-robin pool play (8 pools of 4 teams each) followed by a 24 team single elimination bracket. Therefore each team will play a minimum of 3 matches.
This will be Walsh-Jennings/Branagh’s first main draw event of the year; they were granted a wild card entry. (Kerri and Nicole did not qualify for the previous event, the Porec open because they lost the country qualifier to Emily Day and Brittany Hochevar.)
Note that each visiting country is allowed to have a maximum of 4 teams in a 5-Star FIVB main draw. Three can enter via entry points and a 4th through CQ and qualification matches. This maximum excludes wild cards. Therefore, the Walsh-Jennings/Branagh wild-card entry does not count against the maximum of 4 entries. The other USA woman’s teams in the main draw are Claes/Hughes, Fendrick/Ross, Summer/Sweat, and DiCello/Stockman (through qualification). Day/Hochevar lost a country qualifier to DiCello/Stockman and are traveling back to the USA to play in the AVP San Francisco event.
On the men’s side in Gstaad, Crabb/Rosenthal received a wild card entry, and Doherty/Hyden gained entry through the qualification brackets. Three other teams gained entry on points: Dalhausser/Lucena, Crabb/Gibb and Brunner/Patterson.
AVP San Francisco
Also this weekend will be the AVP San Francisco event, significantly weakened by the GSTAAD 5 star.
Below is the list of main draw entries:
Note that Ed Ratledge and Eric Zaun are back together. They played with other partners in Seattle (Ed with Reid Priddy – finishing 7th, and Eric with Marty Lorenz – finishing 13th) but prior to that they were able to achieve two 5ths and a 9th together. If Ed and Eric finish 5th or better in one more event, 2017 will have been Ed’s best season ever. This is amazing when considering that Ed started playing on the AVP in 2000, 17 years ago. This already is Eric Zaun’s best season as it is only his third year playing on the AVP, playing previously in 2013 and 2014. Eric spent the last few years focusing on the NVL.
Also Reid Priddy (39) has teamed up with Ricardo Santos (42). It will be interesting to see how this team, with an average age over, 40 performs.
The AVP will stream this event – check out AVP.com for times.
See you on the beach,