AVP New York City

AVP New York City: Another Qualifier Gone Wild Shows Growth of Domestic Game

Manhattan skyline during twilight - New York City.

There is one rule to any AVP qualifier. Just one.

Never try to make sense of an AVP qualifier.

Don’t try to do it before. Don’t try to do it after. To attempt to glean any legitimate understanding, to analyze the whys and the hows of results is futile, meaningless. To look at a bracket of a qualifier, the remains of the hollowed out, picked clean, trashed skeleton of a bracket, requires a Buddhist-type of equanimity: Do not attempt to make sense of it, just accept it for what it is.

There is no other reasonable way to do it. Every team is good. And when every team, from seed one through seed 48, is good, every team can win. All it takes is 42 points. And 42 points is what a slew of teams beat other, higher-seeded teams in what are traditionally described as upsets.

That descriptor, though, is such a misnomer at this point that it should be removed from the qualifier lexicon entirely.

Yes, a 13-seed, Tory Paranagua and Taylor Nyquist, qualified, beating the four and the five in the process. On paper, they’re both upsets.

In reality? It’s just one excellent team beating two other excellent teams who just happened to have more points at this moment in time and thus were seeded higher. Tough losses shouldn’t be looked down upon for those higher seeded teams. People shouldn’t really question “what happened?”, rather tip their cap to the mighty accomplishment it was for those who made it in.

Yes, a 15-seed — Teegan Van Gunst and Annika Rowland — played a 26 — Delaney Clesen and Jessica Jendryk — in the round to get in, though it’s really quite normal by now. Together, they ousted the two, the seven and the 10 in the process, and it was Van Gunst and Rowland, the 15, to emerge after eight sets.

Upsets? No. Not really.

America has just gotten really, really good at volleyball, in the sense that there are more teams, as evidenced in Austin, when two qualifier teams made the quarterfinals and one made the finals, who can play at the highest level.

As for that one team who made the finals? Oh, yes, Kim Hildreth and Sarah Schermerhorn were back in the qualifier, showing no signs of the post-qualifying hangover that impacts so many teams. They wrestled through a difficult bracket that included Delaney Knudsen and Emily Hartong and Kerri Schuh and Janelle Allen, making their second main draw in a row.

The guys was no different. Miles and Marcus Partain came in seeded No. 24 and ball-controlled their way to the finals, where they fell to No. 1 Chase Frishman and Piotr Marciniak. The one, in fact, was the only team to hold its seed in both the men’s and women’s qualifiers, as Corinne Quiggle and Amanda Dowdy didn’t even drop a set on the women’s end. Mike Brunsting and Ty Loomis, at three, were the only other to hold their seed, and even then, it took three sets to do it in the finals, against the 11 in Lev Priima and Jake Landel.

Everywhere else? The usual: On-paper upsets everywhere.

Down went the five, Skyler del Sol and Bruno Amorim, as well as the four, Madison and Riley McKibbin. Down went the two, Ian Satterfield and Mark Burik, in a first-round knockout to Kris Johnson and Chris Austin, who have put in more reps this off-season than potentially any team in the qualifier.

Two brackets up, meanwhile, made that one look quite normal. Par for the qualifier course. There, the 20, Pete Connole and Steve Roschitz, met the 12, Brad Conners and Kyle Radde, in the final round, and it was the 20 to make it in.

Connole’s first main draw in what is without a doubt the most difficult qualifier to date.

Such is the nature of these things. Everyone is good. Everyone can qualify.

No upsets.

Just run of the mill, anarchist qualifier volleyball.

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