Ross and Klineman claim third consecutive AVP victory

LONG BEACH, United States, August 2, 2020 – April Ross and Alix Klineman completed a successful three-week run at the 2020 AVP Champions Cup with their third title in as many events as the 2019 FIVB World Championship silver medallists won the final event of the series in Long Beach, California on Sunday.

Ross, a two-time Olympic medallist, and Klineman, a former indoor star, met a third different team in the final after their first two victories, but made sure the outcome was the same as they downed Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes in straight sets 2-0 (21-18, 21-17) to secure the title. 

Undefeated in all of the 12 matches they played during the last three weeks, the Americans finished the series on top and are pleased with the outcome. 

“We honestly didn’t know how these tournaments would go for us with so much going on,” the 30-year-old Klineman said. “We made sure we did all we could to be ready for it, but we knew every other team would be doing the same, so to get to win all three tournaments is incredible and it really feels like a reward for all our hard work. It was high-level volleyball for all three weeks and we had to raise our level accordingly.” 

Kelley Kolisnke/Emily Stockman and the gold medallists of the 2019 World Championships, Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, shared the third-place finish in Long Beach. 

Among the men, Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena aimed to accomplish a similar success after winning the first two events of the series, but their dreams fell short at the hands of Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb. 

The Hawaiians, who reached the semifinals of last year’s World Championships, bounced back from consecutive third-place finishes to hand Dalhausser and Lucena their only loss in the 12 matches of the series, a 2-1 (21-17, 15-21, 15-12) triumph that granted them the title in the last event of their national season.  

“We just trusted our game and the amount of work we’ve put on,” Bourne added. “We knew how much we trained and how much we prepared for these matches. Phil and Nick are one of the best teams in the world and playing against them can make you look bad at times, so we knew we had to be patient and to keep fighting. To be among the best we need to win these matches and I’m glad we did it this time.” 

The third-place spot in Long Beach was split between Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb and Chase Budinger/Chaim Schalk.