AVP Austin: Sunday to Feature an All-new Cast of Players
If nothing else can explain the overall meaninglessness of seeds, or favorites, or conventional wisdom of what “should happen” in sports, allow the women’s field of AVP Austin to do so.
In tomorrow’s semifinals and finals, eight players will be taking the court. None of them have won an AVP. None of them have even made a final. Only three have made a Sunday.
And yet there they are, eight players, the four, five, 10 and 14 seeds, in the semifinals. On a Sunday. One came out of a qualifier. The other will likely be right back in it in New York City in a few weeks.
Two new players will win.
And on the men’s side, the same could happen as well.
After qualifiers Gabe Ospina and Paul Lotman upset Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb in the first round, the bracket has been thrown sufficiently haywire. Down went Ian Satterfield and Mark Burik, Avery Drost and Eric Zaun, Chase Frishman and Piotr Marciniak, Sean Rosenthal and Ricardo Santos, victims all of the one seed being tossed into the first round of the contenders.
The result has been Troy Field and Tim Bomgren playing against Jeremy Casebeer and Chaim Schalk on one end – four players who have yet to win an AVP – and the second edition of Crabb-Gibb vs. Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, four players who are more familiar with winning AVPs than not.
“Crazy” is how Meghan Mannari and Taylor Nyquist, a pair of qualifiers who took fifth, described Austin on Friday. Crazy is how it has continued to be. In a way, at least. It’s been fun to see all of these different matchups to which fans aren’t typically treated. It’s been fun to see the qualifier underdogs pushing through. Just as it’s been fun to see new faces in new positions.
But the men’s side has somewhat evened out. Schalk competed in the 2016 Olympics and made the finals in Chicago just last September, alongside Bomgren, who’s in no unfamiliar position, either.
It was just last year that Bomgren was in the finals, alongside Crabb, subbing in for an injured Gibb. It’s Bomgren’s partner, though, Troy Field, who’s still in somewhat new territory, but territory that will be familiar soon enough. He made his first career Sunday in Huntington two weeks ago, and he’s made it two straight this week in Austin.
“So proud of our team,” he wrote on Instagram, “honored to be playing in another semi-final with Tim Bomgren. Let’s get you back in the finals big guy.”
One side is looking to return to the finals. Another, every single woman taking the court on Sunday, is looking to get there for the first time.
Crazy? Nah. This might just be the new normal.
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