2018-05-25T20:57:46Z 2018-05-25T20:57:46Z

AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour - Crowns Defending Champions in Challenging Weather Conditions in Austin, Texas

AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour
Sarah Sponcil at the 2018 AVP Austin Open - Photo credit Ralph Arvesen

The first stop of the 2018 AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour: Austin Open concluded fours days of fierce competition. Stakes were high as the remaining teams battled for the title and prize money. Enthusiastic fans braved through tough weather conditions and rain delays to support their favorite athletes as each fought a hard-earned, muddy victory to the finish.

The day belonged to back-to-back champions, Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena on the men’s side, and April Ross who defended her title with new partner Alix Klineman in their AVP debut as a team on the women’s side.

Austin has become a favorite spot for No. 1 ranked Dalhausser and Lucena, where the duo first won as a team at the 2005 Austin Open at the inception of their career, and then took home the title last year in AVP’s return back to Austin for the first time since 2005. They sealed another victory today as they defeated No. 6 seeded Taylor Crabb and Tim Bomgren.
“We played well here and went against some tough teams. One of the best players was out of this tournament (Jake Gibbs) so we didn’t have to face him this tournament which is a bonus for us. Hats off to Tim and Taylor - they came out of the contender’s bracket and came all the way to the finals and beat some really good teams,” said Lucena. “There’s something about this stadium that’s pretty special to us because we won our first pro tournament here. We’ve got those good feelings and good mojo coming here and I think that’s a big reason why we’ve had success last year and this year.”
The Women’s Final featured the debut of No. 1 team Ross and Klineman against No. 7 ranked Ross’ former partner Lauren Fendrick and AVP up-and-coming star Sarah Sponcil. Ross and Klineman captured the win after two passionate sets in overtime: 24-22, 25-23 as they finished with an intense match point that had the crowd on their feet.
“I think getting this first win for us on the AVP is really huge,” said Ross. “The competition is really fierce and that's a really good team we played with Lauren and Sarah - I think right up there with top International teams and so to battle like that and get the win is huge for us. That's why we came - we wanted to win. Stoked that we did.”

Klineman added, “It feels incredible. I think about what it would feel like to win an AVP event and I've just been focused on trying to get here and get in this position. Luckily, now I have the best partner in the world so I like our chances. We work hard, we compete hard, and it was a tough match, but we pulled it off and I'm really proud of our team.”
The next stop on the 2018 AVP Pro Tour will be in New York from June 7-10 at Hudson River Park’s Pier 26/25 and onto additional stops in Seattle, San Francisco, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Chicago.

The Men’s and Women’s finals will air nationally on NBCSN tonight, Monday, May 21 at midnight, featuring veteran broadcaster and Olympic gold medalists Chris Marlowe and Dain Blanton (reporter), and Olympian Kevin Wong (analyst) calling the action.

For the 2018 season, fans can tune in live to Amazon Prime Video, which will stream all AVP Main Draw Matches and one to-be-determined final live. The other final will air nationally on NBCSN will also stream the Men’s and Women’s Finals to viewers outside of the U.S. In addition to live AVP coverage, Prime members will have on-demand access to completed matches, including all Finals, highlights and additional content.

About AVP
Established in 1983 and currently headquartered in Southern California, the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) is the world's premier beach volleyball organization. The AVP today is comprised of four divisions: AVP Academy, AVPNext, the AVP Pro Tour, and their non-profit 501(c)3 organization, AVPFirst. With a 35-year rich history in creating, staging, and marketing some of the most innovative and engaging sporting events in North America, the AVP has successfully developed an annual circuit that is not just a sporting event, but a lifestyle as well. The AVP has been the home of some of the most respected athletes in professional sports, including: gold medalists Karch Kiraly, Kent Steffes, Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh-Jennings, Todd Rogers, and Phil Dalhausser. (Source: AVP)

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