Saint Petersburg is Spike City

By on June 3, 2014

 

Brad Keenan with a monster en-route to the men's AVP win in St. Petersburg (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Brad Keenan (tank top) with a monster block en-route to the men’s AVP win in St. Petersburg (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

 Saint Petersburg, Fla.–  The AVP St. Petersburg Open returned for the second straight year and was held on May 29 through June 1, 2014.  The weekend brought hot, but otherwise beautiful Florida weather.  A welcomed breeze came in from the Bay on Sunday, bringing some relief to the players and fans.  Speaking of fans, the event brought suntanned and faithful fans from all over the State to Spa Beach Park in beautiful Saint Petersburg to watch beach volleyball’s finest.

 

The Association of Volleyball Professionals’ finals were televised live on CBS Sports Network, with the women’s final beginning at 1:00 p.m. and the men’s immediately thereafter.  The women’s final was between the teams of Kerri Walsh Jennings / April Ross and Lauren Fendrick / Brooke Sweat.  The men’s final was between Jake Gibb / Casey Patterson and Brad Keenan / John Mayer.

 

Lauren Fendrick gives a hand signal to partner brooke Sweat (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Lauren Fendrick gives a hand signal to partner Brooke Sweat as April Ross awaits Sweat’s serve. (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Saint Petersburg’s Mayor Rick Kriseman had the honor of delivering the final’s first serve and smiled for the cameras. I have had the pleasure of meeting Mayor Kriseman on several occasions, and approve of his support of all things sports-related (from the Rays to the Grand Prix) in Saint Petersburg.

 

Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross went three sets and won their match by the scores of 19-21, 21-15, 15-11. Three-time Olympic gold medalist, Kerri Walsh Jennings, set an AVP Tour women’s record Sunday with her 67th career victory on the professional beach volleyball circuit. After winning their championship, April Ross celebrated with the fans and shared some champagne.

Walsh Jennings (left) and Ross celebrate the victory (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Walsh Jennings (left) and Ross celebrate the victory (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

 

Brad Keenan and John Mayer went three sets in their match as well, with Brad Keenan and John Mayer winning 16-21, 21-19, 18-16.  Leading 17–16, John Mayer crushed a cross court serve for an ace and the win, as Brad Keenan, after coming in second nine times, gets the check and the champagne.  It was the second career AVP win for John Mayer, who has played in five tournament finals.

Brad Keenan (left) and John Mayer take the check (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

15K and drinks on the beach! Brad Keenan (left) and John Mayer take the check and the champagne. (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

 

Fan favorite, Casey Patterson, put on a show in defeat, but in the final set, a boom camera non-interference call in addition to a non-net hit by Keenan, seemed to swing the momentum in Keenan and Mayer’s favor. This, in addition to the great net play by Keenan cost Patterson and Gibb the championship. In any event, Sunday’s exciting matches were what are expected to be tour-long rivalries.

 

Casey Patterson (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Casey Patterson (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Casey Patterson (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Casey Patterson (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Brad Keenan and April Ross become the third husband and wife duo to win an AVP Tournament on the same weekend. When asked about him and Ross winning the tournament on the same weekend, Keenan stated with a smile, “She wins a lot…I’m glad I could finally join the club.”

 

Brad Keenan and April Ross (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Brad Keenan and April Ross (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Both the women’s and men’s matches included exciting rallies to end the match and after the post game ceremonies, both of the winning teams posed for pictures with the fans,  including Mayor Kriseman, and signed autographs.

 

Notable sponsors for the event included Outshine, Smart USA, Barefoot, HyperX, and Gatorade. Outshine provided free frozen fruit bars to the crowd, which, by the way, were delicious! Event staff were armed with mini-volleyballs and super-soakers and had fun aiming and firing at the crowd with ice-cold water.  The venue provided shaded VIP and Club seating along with affordable concessions.

The stands were packed with sun drenched fans. (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

The stands were packed with sun drenched fans. (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

St. Petersburg Mayor Kriseman serves the first ball (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

St. Petersburg Mayor Kriseman serves the first ball (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)


With thousands in attendance, AVP’s event was great for local businesses and the fans.  AVP’s next stop is in Milwaukee, WI on July 3 through 6, 2014.  More information is available at www.AVP.com

MORE TRAVIS FAILEY PHOTOS:

Keri Walsh Jennings and April Ross pop the cork...

Keri Walsh Jennings and April Ross pop the corks…

and share the spoils!

and share the spoils!

(photos Travis Failey / RSEN)

Beach, sun, pro volleyball and beer!!!

Beach, sun, bikinis, pro volleyball and beer!!!

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

April Ross serves (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

April Ross serves (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

The Walsh Jennings/Ross team place an ace between Brooke Sweat (foreground) and Lauren Fendrck

The Walsh Jennings/Ross team place an ace between Brooke Sweat (foreground) and Lauren Fendrick

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

John Mayer serves the game winner

John Mayer serves the game winner

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

The fans get to share in the victory celebration

The fans get to share in the victory celebration

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Fans03

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Travis gets the fans to pose (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Travis gets the fans to pose (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Casey Patterson (foreground) and Jake Gibb (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Casey Patterson (foreground) and Jake Gibb (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Casey Patterson (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Casey Patterson (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

PHOTOS FROM OTHER ROUND ACTION:

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

She’s going to need that little outdoor shower, you know the one that;s always freezing. (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Beach party! (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

 

 

 

 

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