Latvia Three-Star

Latvia Three-Star: Casey Patterson, Chase Budinger Earn Much-deserved Bye in Elimination Rounds


Casey Patterson stared the 1,000-yard stare beach volleyball players know all too well: The one that looks directly into nothing, as the mind churns and churns and churns over all the plays that could have been, the plays he’d like back.

While Trevor Crabb and Reid Priddy celebrated winning their first Manhattan Beach Open, over Patterson and Chase Budinger, Patterson stared that stare. No words were really needed between the two partners. They had played a great tournament.

In two days, they’d cross the world to play another.

Patterson’s been in the business long enough to snap out of a post-loss funk, even if it did come in the finals of the biggest tournament in the world.

“That lasted about 30 seconds,” he wrote on Instagram the next day, “until each one of my children ran to me in the players box, gave me a hug and said they loved me. I was immediately flooded with feelings of love, gratitude and perspective. Winning is what I strive for but my family is what I live for.”

That perspective, combined with more than a decade of playing at the highest level in the game, has allowed Patterson to bounce back so quickly this week in Latvia for a Three-Star. He and Budinger opened up with a 21-14, 21-18 win over Norway’s Daniel Bergerud and Lars Retterholt and followed it up with a 21-17, 22-24, 15-11 win over Miles Evans and Billy Kolinske, the same blocker they met in the semifinals of Manhattan.

Kolinske, to his credit, rebounded from playing 11 matches in Manhattan and hopping on a flight and is playing as well as always. He and Evans defeated Mihails Samoilovs and Aleksandrs Solovejs, 21-14, 16-21, 15-17 to break pool.

Also breaking pool is Billy Allen and Stafford Slick, who beat Germany but fell to Belarus. In the morning, they’ll play Finland’s Jyrki Nurminen and Santeri Siren. Evans and Kolinske match up with Slovenia.

Patterson and Budinger, meanwhile, have earned a much-deserved bye, and some God-blessed rest.