The Los Angeles Angels won’t be the only professional athletes getting back to work in Long Beach this month.
The Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) is replacing its suspended regular season with three consecutive weekends of events in Long Beach. The AVP Champions Cup Series will be played July 18-Aug. 2 off Shoreline Drive.
Fans and media will not be allowed to attend the event, but some of the top matches will be broadcast by NBC, and all of the action will be streamed live on Amazon Prime.
The last professional beach volleyball event held in Long Beach was the 2017 World Series Of Beach Volleyball. The last time the AVP came to Long Beach was in 2010.
Taylor Crabb, and his brother Trevor, are Long Beach State men’s volleyball alums and two of the best beach volleyball players in the country. Crabb and partner Jake Gibb ended 2019 as the top-ranked United States pair and have their eyes set on a large chunk of the $700,000 prize pool spilt between the Monster Hydro Cup this weekend (July 18-19), Wilson Cup (July 25-26), and Third Cup (Aug. 1-2).
“We can’t wait,” Crabb said. “We’re very excited to hear the AVP is going to bring a couple events back and give us a chance to compete and at least stream it online for the fans.”
Crabb, 28, was the 2013 National Player of the Year at LBSU and started his AVP career the same year with Trevor as his partner. In 2016, they finished in the top-three of all seven AVP tournaments they entered. Taylor and Gibb teamed up in 2017, and Trevor is playing with Tri Bourne. Last year, Taylor and Gibb won four of the six AVP events.
“A big key (in Long Beach) will be feeling it out throughout the tournaments,” Crabb said of coming back after the long layoff. “We have an advantage because we’ve been a team for awhile. The first couple games might be a little rusty, but I think it will come back pretty quickly for us.”
It’s not rare for professional volleyball players to see sparse crowds at events in other countries, but Crabb said the construction of the AVP courts will be the strangest part of playing without fans in Long Beach.
“I’m not sure if there’s going to be any bleachers, so that’s going to be pretty weird,” Crabb said. “Everyone is going to have to create their own energy and bring it themselves instead of feeding off of the fans. We’ll see what happens.”
Crabb said he hopes that he can stay alive in all of the tournaments, but will make it down to Second Street if he has extra time on his hands.
“I’m very excited to be back in Long Beach,” Crabb said. “I give Long Beach State all the credit in the world. That university shaped me and helped me get to where I am. It’s like my second home.”