Alix Klineman of Manhattan Beach and Phil Dalhausser of Redondo Beach won women’s and men’s titles at the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour’s Gold Series New York City Open last Sunday.
It was the third victory of the year for Klineman and April Ross, their second AVP title. They were the No. 1 seeded team and have now won their last five AVP events that they have entered.
They defeated the No. 5 pair of Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil in two sets 21-19, 22-20. Claes is from Placentia and Sponcil from Phoenix.
"I didn't know what to expect; we want to be the best in the world,” Klineman said. “We're not consistently there yet, but I feel we can be the best in the world and it's a really exciting thing."
It was the biggest payday of Klineman’s career. Her share of the winnings was $15,000. It was her sixth overall AVP title and 10th as a professional.
“Recently, April’s seen a few more serves, and I’m getting comfortable in that new role, figuring out ways to help her,” Klineman said. “My setting hasn’t been as consistent as I want it to be recently, so that’s a constant focus, pulling is a constant focus, blocking, getting into their face, changing the game.”
Ross, who lives in Costa Mesa, played in her 100th career AVP event and came out a winner.
“Every tournament is just as hard as the last one,” Ross said. “The competition is getting harder and harder every year. I’m super excited to win at my 100th tournament and win the Gold Series here in New York City.”
Dalhausser and Nick Lucena of Tallahassee, Florida were seeded No. 2 and took the men’s title, which is their first overall in 2019.
Winning in the Big Apple is something special for the players.
“It's sweet. It's Gold Series, that means more money," Dalhausser said. “The fans are awesome in New York City and the Gansevoort Peninsula is a cool venue. We really enjoy playing here."
They defeated the No. 7 team of Tim Bomgren and Troy Field in two sets by a final score of 21-14, 21-16. Bomgren is from Woodbury, Minnesota and Field is from Laguna Beach.
“I want to give a shout out to Timmy and Troy for making the Finals, they had a good run,” Lucena said. “I think about what this win means, it’s hard to do and it means a lot. I don’t take it for granted.”
An estimated 40,000 fans enjoyed the four-day festival at the recently renovated Gansevoort Peninsula along the Hudson River, according to the AVP Tour.
Other locals who did well were Kelley Larsen of Redondo Beach and Emily Stockman of Hermosa Beach. The pair lost in the semifinals to Klineman/Ross in a very close match 22-20, 21-17, 15-13.
To get to the men’s finals, Dalhausser and Lucena had to take out the No. 1 seeded team of Jake Gibb of Huntington Beach and Taylor Crabb of Redondo Beach in the semifinals and prevailed in a close three-set match 25-23, 21-16, 16-18.
"They've been getting the better of us this year,” Dalhausser said. “You have to really prepare for a long match. They're not going to give you anything; they're not going to ever not play well. They don't make a ton of mistakes so you're going to have to earn some plays. It's really been a high-level volleyball-I enjoy it."
Crabb has been a good fit for Gibb. The two are always in contention to get to the finals.
Another local who made it to the final four was Sean Rosenthal of Redondo Beach. He played with Brazilian Ricardo Santos of Salvador, Brazil and they were seeded No. 12.
They eventually lost to Bomgren/Field 21-19, 21-19 in the semifinals.
The 2019 AVP Pro Tour continues with the Seattle Open from June 21-23 on the shores of Lake Sammamish.