The Pro Series Austin Open kicked off the 16-event 2022 season.
"AVP is something that we watch regularly here in Austin," said Naveen Dsouca, a local player and fan. "I think it’s good that the COVID days are over and people can be themselves and have fun and enjoy Austin volleyball at its best."
The event even brought veteran Phil Dalhausser out of retirement to the delight of long-time beach fans.
"My favorite’s Tri Bourne…I got to see him play Dalhausser, what a dream match right?" said Tyson Rupp, also a local player and fan. "He’s pulling Tom Brady- retires, and then comes back three months later."
With temperatures at or above triple digits at times, fans and athletes had the heat and humidity to deal with.
But with the women’s championship match pitching Canadians Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan against Louisiana State University grads Kristen Nuss and Taryn Kloth, perhaps the weather gave them the advantage.
Along with enjoying the opportunity to play in their element, Kloth and Nuss were thrilled to start the 2022 AVP season off strong with a win against the top-seeded team.
"We’re just super excited," said Nuss. "Just got to get back to practice and keep getting better."
After a 2020 season sans fans, and a shortened 2021 season, fans and players were excited to be back, front and center.
"I mean just looking around you can feel the energy, especially in huge points, no matter if it’s their team or our team," said Kloth. "Everyone’s just cheering for good volleyball so that’s amazing."
In the men’s bracket, Dalhausser and partner Andy Benesh took home the title against Chase Budinger and Troy Field.
The next AVP Pro Series event will take place in New Orleans on May 27-29.