Two-time Olympic medalist April Ross has powered up a strong combination with Alix Klineman, with whom she began competing earlier this year.
For the second tournament in a row, they won an AVP women’s beach volleyball title by defeating Sara Hughes and Summer Ross. This time, in the final of the AVP Hawaii Invitational on Sunday, April Ross and Klineman, seeded third, defeated the second-seeded Hughes and Summer Ross 18-21, 21-19, 15-10. Hughes/Summer Ross had taken down No. 1 seed Agatha/Duda from Brazil to reach the final. Agatha Bednarczuk is a 2015 world champion and 2016 Olympic silver medalist.
Two weeks ago, April Ross and Klineman won the AVP Championships in Chicago with the same title match setup. It was also the third straight AVP tournament title for the pair.
The Hawaii Invitational was the final stop of the 2018 AVP tour and marked the first AVP stop in Hawaii in 13 years.
Also winning Sunday in the men’s final at Waikiki Beach in Oahu was the team of three-time Olympian Phil Dalhausser and 2016 Olympian Nick Lucena. The second-seeded duo defeated fourth-seeded Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands 21-16, 27-25. They had also defeated the top seeded, Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway, 21-13, 21-19 on Saturday.
Dalhausser and Lucena have won four times on the AVP tour this season.
They were cruising to a victory in Sunday’s final when Brouwer and Meeuwsen rallied from six points down for a 20-20 tie in the second set. Extra time went on for more than 20 minutes until Lucena delivered the winning spike.
“I don’t know how we pulled it out, but we did,” an exhausted Dalhausser, who had seven aces in the title match, said on the broadcast.
Sunday’s victory in Hawaii was also the fourth AVP title of the season for April Ross and Klineman. Ross won an Olympic silver medal with Jennifer Kessy in 2012 and bronze with Kerri Walsh Jennings in 2016.
Sunday’s final also marked the second time in two days that the top two U.S. women’s teams played each other. April Ross/Klineman defeated Hughes/Summer Ross in the second round of the tournament on Saturday.
April Ross had 49 kills and nine aces overall at the Hawaii Invitational.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.