The 58th Annual AVP Gold Series Manhattan Beach Open was a magnificent display of what California dreams are made of and more. Impeccably organized in a surreal setting with plenty of action, it was a capsule of summer fun. The players were tall, tanned and beautiful and so was the crowd. Beach volleyball live is nail-bitingly exciting and it is also where the beautiful people come to play. The crowd was there to tan, cheer and immerse themselves in the sunshine and the very best beach volleyball action in the world.
The Men’s Final showcased Phil Dalhausser (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Nick Lucena (Davie, Fla.) facing off against the recently unstoppable No. 4 Sean ‘Superman’ Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Trevor Crabb (Honolulu, Hawaii). A thrilling match that ultimately went to Dalhausser/Lucena in 25-23, 21-18 and 15-10. This marks their second Manhattan Beach Open team victory (first was in 2015) and Dalhausser’s sixth plaque on the Volleyball Walk of Fame.
As far as organization, this event gets an A+, there was something for everyone at this 4 day celebration of beach culture. Beach volleyball represents the best spectacle of beach athleticism, and what better place to showcase it than the home of beach volleyball, Manhattan Beach, California. Located in the South Bay of the greater Los Angeles area, Manhattan Beach is a jewel on the Southern California coast, and with the AVP in town it shone even brighter.
The Women’s Final featured Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and Brandie Wilkerson (Toronto, Canada) against the No. 2 team of 2016 Manhattan Beach Open winners Brittany Hochevar (Torrance, Calif.) and Emily Day (Torrance, Calif.). The home turf suited them perfectly because the Torrance locals held on to their title as reigning champions and won in two solid sets, 21-18, 21-18.
“Did that really just happen!?” said an elated Day. “Brittany played like a stud all weekend. Big shoutout to Em’s Entourage!”
Hochevar was grateful, “Thank you to the AVP family. This is about fighting and sticking together. This is all about family.”
Torrance, California is just south of Manhattan Beach and Nicole and Brittany are hometown heros once again in 2017.
The finals were televised on Sunday and captured the electric atmosphere and the palpable excitement in the air. The crowds at Manhattan Beach were very vocal and engaged. So much of the action on the field was a combination of skill, passion, sweat and dedication, and the crowds loved every minute of it.
The final results from Manhattan Beach:
1st Place – #2 Brittany Hochevar / Emily Day
2nd Place – #15 Nicole Branagh / Brandie Wilkerson
3rd Place (TIE) – #1 April Ross / Lauren Fendrick & #23 Kelly Claes / Sara Hughes
1st Place – #3 Phil Dalhausser / Nick Lucena
2nd Place – #4 Sean Rosenthal / Trevor Crabb
3rd Place (TIE) – #6 Theo Brunner / Casey Patterson & #9 Reid Priddy / Ricardo Santos
Gildshire‘s highlights from the AVP Manhattan Beach Open were the palm trees, sunshine, thrilling spikes, cheering crowds, the beach and ocean beyond. Well done AVP for capturing the spirit of summer! We already can’t wait for next year. It is events like this that make a summer memorable and with a turnout of over 65,000 over the course of 4 days, many memories were made, a testament to the growing popularity of beach volleyball.
The AVP 2017 Pro Tour will conclude in Chicago at the end of this month. The AVP Gold Series Chicago Championships is happening August 31st to September 3rd at Oak Street Beach, Chicago. Don’t miss this opportunity to see the best in action and get into the spirit of summer.