PHOTO COURTESY AVP
There weren’t any fans surrounding the large constructed beach volleyball courts in the Long Beach Convention Center parking lot over the weekend, but Long Beach State represented itself very well during the first AVP Champions Cup series since the COVID-19 shutdown.
NBC started its national broadcast on Saturday afternoon with a Monster Hydro Cup knockout match that featured LBSU men’s volleyball alum Trevor Crabb. He and teammate Tri Bourne beat Chase Budinger and Chaim Schalk, who were taking their instruction from LBSU beach volleyball Mike Campbell. The university, its volleyball program and Campbell’s “BEACH Volleyball” hat got multiple mentions during the broadcast.
Crabb and Bourne lost to eventual men’s champions Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena in the semifinal. His brother and fellow LBSU alum Taylor Crabb was beaten by the top-seeded Dalhausser and Lucena in the final on Sunday alongside teammate Jake Gibb.
The Crabb brothers played each other on Saturday as part of round robin action for the top teams invited, and Crabb/Gibb won 21-19, 21-18.
“We know each other so well, so it’s a different chess match every time,” Taylor Crabb said of playing his brother on the live feed provided by Amazon Prime.
Crabb said before the tournament that shaking off the rust of the layoff would be the hardest part.
“We didn’t play our best and we could’ve scored a lot more in transition,” Crabb said. “We stayed together and we gutted it out. That’s what that game was all about.”
Crabb, 28, was an All-American at LBSU and the 2013 National Player of the Year. He started his AVP career with Trevor as his partner, and is currently ranked the No. 1 USA duo alongside Gibb after winning four of the six AVP events last year.
Last week, Crabb said he knew that players would need to bring their own energy without any fan support, and his brother Trevor got the announcers’ attention by doing exactly that in the first match on Saturday.
“Obviously it sucks (without fans) but everyone is just eager to play,” Trevor Crabb said in the post match interview on NBC. “That competitive juice is going to be there no matter what. We’ve had nothing to do for the last four months.”
There wasn’t any LBSU representation on the courts for the women’s competition, but Olympic legend and LBSU Hall Of Famer Misty May-Treanor was in the commentator’s booth to call some of the action. In the final, top-seeded April Ross and Alix Klineman edged Sara Hughes and Brandie Wilkerson 24-22, 21-19.
The AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) will be back in Long Beach this weekend for the second of three events being hosted downtown. The Wilson Cup will also feature the Crabb brothers and their fight for Olympic qualification with Dalhausser and Lucena.