Ross, Gibb are MVPs at AVP Awards

By BJ Evans | Nov. 19, 2014, 2:41 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 19, 2014) – U.S. beach volleyball players April Ross and Jake Gibb were named the Most Valuable Players at the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) awards ceremony on Tuesday in Costa Mesa.

April Ross
  April Ross celebrates at the AVP Manhattan Beach Open.

Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif. / Twitter / Instagram) and Kerri Walsh Jennings (Saratoga, Calif. / Twitter / Instagram) were named the AVP female Team of the Year. Ross and Walsh Jennings won all seven of the AVP tournaments held in 2014 and also took four gold medals at FIVB events during the season.

“Kerri and I were named team of the year by the AVP last night at the banquet,” Ross wrote in an Instagram post. “So grateful I get to play with and learn from such a legend.”

Ross was also named Best Server among the women, while her husband, Brad Keenan (Westminster, Calif. / Twitter / Instagram) took that title for the men.

Along with being named men’s MVP, Gibb (Bountiful, Utah / Twitter / Instagram) and partner Casey Patterson (Van Nuys, Calif. / Twitter / Instagram) were named the men’s Team of the Year. The pair won four 2014 AVP events and also took one silver and one bronze. They also took one FIVB bronze medal in 2014.

“AVP team of the year,” Patterson said in an Instagram post. “What an honor and blessing. We had a really rough start to the season, but managed to keep grinding and find our stride.”

Walsh Jennings was also named female Offensive Player of the Year. Tri Bourne (Aiea, Hawaii / Twitter / Instagram) won the title for the men.

Jake Gibb
  Jake Gibb celebrates at a 2013 FIVB tournament.

Among other awards handed out on Tuesday, Lauren Fendrick (Carlsbad, Calif. / Twitter / Instagram) was named women’s Best Blocker and Theo Brunner (Ridgefield, Conn. / Twitter / Instagram) won for the men. Floridians Nick Lucena (Fort Lauderdale) was Brooke Sweat (Fort Myers / Twitter / Instagram) won the Best Defender titles.

Kim DiCello (San Diego, Calif. / Twitter / Instagram) was named the women’s Most Improved Player and Jeremy Casebeer (Santa Barbara, Calif. / Twitter / Instagram) won for the men. Amanda Dowdy (Austin, Texas / Twitter) and Trevor Crabb (Honolulu, Hawaii / Twitter / Instagram) were named Newcomers of the Year.

According to the AVP web site, the year-end honors were awarded based on statistics, player votes and points earned during the 2014 tour schedule. Ten players were nominated in the categories of best defensive player, best blocker and best server, based on statistics (blocks, digs and aces recorded per set, with a minimum of 30 sets played to qualify for the category), with the winner being chosen by votes cast by active AVP players. Similarly, the top 10 offensive players were nominated based on hitting percentage (with a minimum of 600 attacks to qualify), with the winner also being selected by AVP players. Five men’s players and nine women’s players were nominated for newcomer of the year honors, based on the criteria that they must have been ranked among the top 32 players in their gender at the end of the 2014 season and must have played in less than half of the previous season’s man draws.

Winners in the categories of most valuable player and most improved player were selected by AVP athletes through a write-in ballot. Teams were nominated in the category of team of the year based on tournament wins and overall points earned in 2014, with the winner being selected in a vote cast by the AVP players.

2014 AVP Awards

Female Best Server: April Ross
Male Best Server: Brad Keenan
Female Best Blocker: Lauren Fendrick
Male Best Blocker: Theo Brunner
Female Best Defender: Brooke Sweat
Male Best Defender: Nick Lucena
Female Best Offensive Player: Kerri Walsh Jennings
Male Best Offensive Player: Tri Bourne
Female Most Improved: Kim DiCello
Male Most Improved: Jeremy Casebeer
Female Newcomer of the Year: Amanda Dowdy
Male Newcomer of the Year: Trevor Crabb
Female Team of the Year: April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings
Male Team of the Year: Casey Patterson and Jake Gibb
Female Most Valuable Player: April Ross
Male Most Valuable Player: Jake Gibb