AVP Seattle Day Two

AVP Seattle: Crabb, Gibb Finding Creative Ways to Bounce Into Sunday

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It has been, surprise, surprise, a tad damp at Lake Sammamish this weekend. Not rainy, no. The weather has been quite idyllic, to tell you the truth. But the conditions haven’t made for the bounciest of sand, making it difficult to get a good highlight reel out of a hard swing.

So Taylor Crabb just found another way to bounce.

In the first set of a quarterfinal against Chase Budinger and Casey Patterson, a rematch of the Huntington Beach finals, Crabb swung straight through Budinger’s spread block and hit him clear in the head, sending the ball well out of the stadium.

“Got him in the head pretty good,” Crabb said after an eventual 21-19, 21-19 win over Budinger and Patterson.

Budinger got his revenge, in a way. Crabb went for the noggin again but the 2018 Rookie of the Year sealed it off.

“He finally said something through the net about it,” Crabb said. “I’m not the only one who can stare people down.”

Nor is Crabb the only one who can talk. The next play, Budinger blocked Gibb, “and it kind of ricocheted off my head and he was like ‘Jake you ok? Taylor, you see how I do that? I checked on him to see if he was ok.’” Gibb said. “He was chirping. It was a good time.”

Indeed it was. Saturday was an excellent time to be a beach volleyball fan. All who made it to Sammamish early were treated to a 22-24, 21-13, 16-14 win from Troy Field and Tim Bomgren, the fan favorite new team of the year, over Ian Satterfield and Mark Burik. Then they were treated to one more, a 22-20, 21-19 win over John Hyden and Ryan Doherty, which preceded yet another hour-plus match against Budinger and Patterson. It was Budinger and Patterson – Chase’s head is just fine – who prevailed, 21-16, 27-25, getting back to the semifinals, where they’ll meet one of the most consistent teams on tour in Jeremy Casebeer and Chaim Schalk, who have won three matches by a combined 37 points en route to their second Sunday of the season.

It’s a tad different of a path followed by Billy Allen and Stafford Slick, who lost their first three sets of the tournament before rebounding to win the next eight.

No matter the path, or style, a semifinal is a semifinal. Some make it by bouncing balls off of heads.

Some just, as Karissa Cook loves saying so dearly, “boop” their way to Sunday. For the second time this season, they find themselves in the increasingly familiar position of an AVP semifinal.

Boop, of course, in the lexicon of Cook, is a high angle kill or, well, any kind of unconventional kill, which come by the drove.

They are, it should be noted, quite good at swinging and doing normal, fundamental volleyball things as well. They pulled out every swing and shot they had in a three-set win over Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes, earning their second Sunday of the season.

Tomorrow will also mark the second Sunday for the team they’ll play in Betsi Flint and Emily Day, who recovered from a three-set quarterfinal loss to Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman with a win a three-set win over qualifiers Molly Turner and Brittany Tiegs.

And so it is that after two days of upsets and boops and swings off of heads, Lake Sammamish has been site of an almost total chalk walk. Seeds one through four remain on the women’s side, while seeds one, three, four and seven made it through for the men, though the seven – Allen and Slick – is a bit of a land mine, considering Allen is always a favorite here, having won two of the last three.

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