Costa Mesa resident Jake Gibb hopes to close out a dominant season on the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals tour, while Costa Mesa resident and Newport Harbor High product April Ross aims to strengthen a foothold on next season in the AVP Championships, Thursday through Sunday near the Huntington Beach Pier.
Gibb, a two-time Olympian who along with first-year partner Casey Patterson of Huntington Beach has won the last four AVP tournaments, is looking for a fifth title in seven AVP events this season. Gibb and Patterson are coming off a fifth-place finish in the Federation International de Volleyball tournament in San Paulo, Brazil last weekend.
Ross, who along with Jennifer Kessy won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics in London, is bidding for her fourth AVP crown this season. Ross, however, has played with both Kessy and three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings in 2013.
Barry Faulkner Signature
Ross and Kessy posted AVP wins in Salt Lake City and Atlantic City and were set to compete in the final at St. Petersburg, Fla., when weather forced cancellation and a split of the first-place prize money and points.
Ross and Walsh Jennings earned their first AVP crown at the Santa Barbara Open, then won the FIVB event in Brazil on Sunday.
Ross and Kessy shared third place at the AVP Cincinnati event.
Walsh Jennings, who won all three Olympic gold medals with legendary Newport Harbor High graduate Misty May-Treanor, first expressed interest in teaming with Ross just moments after Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor defeated Ross and Kessy in the final in London.
But Ross elected to play some events with Kessy, before focusing on a late-season run with Walsh Jennings.
Ross told Jim Rome on the television host's talk show on Tuesday that her plan was to parlay her late-season partnership with Walsh Jennings into an off-season preparing for an exclusive partnership for the 2014 campaign.
Any rough spots Ross and Walsh Jennings may have had in aligning their games, however, seem to have evaporated with their recent wins in Santa Barbara and Brazil.
Gibb and Patterson had third-place finishes in the first two AVP events this season in Salt Lake City and Manhattan Beach, respectively.
The open qualifier will be contested Thursday, with the men's and women's main draw set for Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The men's and women's event continues on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with further main draw action in both events beginning Sunday at noon.
The men's final is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday with the women's final set to follow at 4 p.m.
— Barry Faulkner