Well, the first tournament of the 2023 AVP season has concluded! Before we reveal who the winners were, let's talk about some of the highlights throughout the weekend.
On Friday, there was an interesting play that happened in set three between Skjodt/Urango and Larissa/Lili. On match point in the third set, Urango made a dig, as she's waiting for the set from Skjodt, a ball from another court rolls onto the court causing a replay. Now we're not saying Urango would of put the ball down to win the match on the play, but, it might have been a likely scenario. The replay led to Larissa/Lili siding out and ultimately winning the match. The other story on the women's side is the partnership of Wilkerson/Humana-Paredes. Last weekend, the King of the Court event also took place in Miami, FL and you'll never guess who the winners were! Okay, maybe you guessed it, Wilkerson/Humana-Paredes won on the women's side.
On the men's side, there were a couple stories that stood out. The first one being the partnership of Caldwell/Frishman. Cody Caldwell has been chipping away at progress the last couple of seasons. In fact, Cody and David Lee won a Tour Series event last summer in Atlantic City. This weekend, Cody and Chase teamed up and made a lot of noise all weekend. They lost to Dalhausser/Field, but made their way back through the Contender's Bracket and matched up with Sanders/Crabb in the semi-finals and gave the number one seed all they could handle. A few long rallys in the third set went the way of Sanders/Crabb and helped them make it to the finals.
The second highlight of the weekend on the men's side was the upset match between Satterfield/Urrutia taking down the seasoned pair of Andy Benesh and Billy Allen. Satterfield has been around the beach for awhile but Urrutia new to the "Main Draw Scene", came to play! Their match also included one of the more comical plays of the weekend. Urrutia ran down a ball and dug it straight up in the air, he must of assumed there was a touch on the block as he appeared to have given up on the play, but as Satterfield dug the second touch, Urrutia turned around and dove, making a play on the ball to get it over and eventually siding out later in the rally to win the point. Other usual suspects were steady all weekend like Friend/Brewster, Budinger/Evans, and Dalhausser/Field.
Now on to the results!
The men's finals consisted of Sanders/Crabb and Budinger/Evans. The first set was somewhat lopsided with a final score of 21-14 going to Sanders/Crabb. There was a clear good side and bad side, dictated by the wind. Sanders was able to unleash some heat with his serve into the wind making it hard for Budinger/Evans to pass and stay in system. The second set is where it got interesting as Budinger/Evans were up big, with a 14-7 lead at the technical timeout. Slowly, point by point, Sanders/Crabb climbed back into the set, eventually winning 21-19. Congrats to Taylor Sanders and Taylor Crabb.
For the women's, the finals match was a contest between Betsi Flint and Julia Scoles versus Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson. Melissa and Brandie brought some momentum into this weekend's tournament after winning the King of the Court. They did lose a match against Larissa/Lili on Saturday but climbed their way back through the contender's bracket, making it all the way to the finals. Flint/Scoles also lost a match to Cannon/Sponcil, forcing them to also climb back through the contender's bracket. It was a great match, lots of wind and a huge crowd to play in front of. Humana-Paredes/Wilkerson controlled most of the first set while set two was more of a back and forth battle which went into overtime. On match point, Wilkerson tossed up the ball for a jump serve and let it rip. It dropped just as it flew over the net, hitting the sand just a few inches in front of Julia Scoles' out reached hand. Congrats to the Canadian pair of Brandie Wilkerson and Melissa Human-Paredes and one heck of back-to-back weekend performance!