Things We Learned Thursday at the Four Star FIVB Huntington Beach Open
This Tournament is Massive
There are so many matches going on, that it is nearly impossible to watch all of the matches that you really want to see. By the time you have stopped and watched a bit of the interesting matches that are happening along the way to the match you really want to see, the match you wanted to see is over.
The Americans are Eliminating Each Other
Eight American women's teams were eliminated from the tournament on the first day. Five of them lost their elimination match to another American team. On the men's side nine American teams were eliminated the first day. Three of them were at the hands of other American teams. Because there are so many American teams who are in the tournament without FIVB points, they are facing tough international teams in their first matches and then playing each other to stay alive in the event.
There is a Ton of Parity in FIVB Beach Volleyball
Three of the four teams who competed in the Championship matches in Xiamen two weeks ago lost their first match in Huntington Beach. Both of the men's finalists lost as did American's Kelly Claes and Brittany Hochaver on the women's side. Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Parades are the only finalists that made it through the first day unscathed. Everyone else is starting day two knowing that they have a long road to another final going through the contender's bracket.
Chase Budinger and Sean Rosenthal Have a Ways to Go
There was a huge buzz about this team in the crowd at Huntington. They did not live up to expectations. They are just not ready for this level of competition. The high flying and hard hitting Dutch duo Brouwer and Meeuwsen dispatched them easily on stadium court in their first match. Brazillian legend Ricardo showed everyone why he is called the wall in their first set of Chase and Rosie's second loss. All the pieces are there for this to be a great team, but they have some work to do before Austin.
Trevor Crabb has Birthed a New Anti-Fanbase
It was a conscious decision for Trevor Crabb to joint the dark side. Beach volleyball needed a villain and he threw his name in the hat. Consequently, listening to the heckles from the #NeverTrevor crowd has become one of the highlights of the AVP experience. There is a growing collections of very special witty humans with not so cleverly disguised open containers working their best to have an influence on Trevor's play, or the ref, or each other. Whatever really. What were they all yelling about again? It's not always clear, but it is usually pretty funny.
It's going to be a gloriously long weekend.
There are roughly 62 matches in the books. And well over 100 left to play. It's going to be a gloriously long weekend. Call in sick Friday, head to Huntington or tune into the livestream at AVP.com. You will thank me.