UPDATE at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, July 19: The number 1 team in the world right now is not Alix Klineman and April Ross as we reported in this article but the Canadian duo of Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, who were ranked second in the Monster Hydro Cup. Klineman and Ross were ranked number 1 for the Monster Hydro Cup. Paven and Humana-Paredes lost to Klineman and Ross earlier today. Ross and Klineman are competing for the championship against Sara Hughes and Brandie Wilkerson. The match is live now, with Ross and Klineman up 1-0.
MANHATTAN BEACH, CA — Manhattan Beach's Jace Pardon continues to dig beach volleyball. The former Mira Costa High School standout who went on to acclaim playing at Florida State [she is a former three-time AVCA All-American at Florida State in 2013, 2014, 2016)is now a professional player, making her mark in the Association of Volleyball Professionals.
She and partner Karissa Cook of Santa Cruz played in the AVP's Monster Hydro Cup in Long Beach yesterday and Friday, encountering some tough obstacles. "We won our matches in the qualifier yesterday (Friday) and then lost to the number 1 team [Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes] in the world in a heartbreaker this morning (Saturday) in 3 sets. We were up 12-8 and lost 15-12." Pardon and Cook went down in 3 sets: 19-21, 21-14, and 12-15. She and Cook played later in the afternoon yesterday and lost, so they are out of this weekend's tournament.
For Pardon and the rest of the AVP players in it, the tourney is unusual in many ways. Competition takes place on sand but there is no audience and just enough people to run the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And due to the coronavirus and constantly changing health orders, players have been cast into a bit of limbo, not knowing when or if they could play this year.
"The matches today were basically what would be a semifinal or even final in a normal tournament but because of the small draw every match is really intense and hard," Pardon told Manhattan Beach Patch. "The worst part was the downtime between matches we can’t go anywhere and try to stay away from other people as much as possible. We also can’t visit the medical tent for flushes after playing which is hard. It’s extremely hard physically to play volleyball at a high level after three months of quarantine and only three weeks to prepare."
Pardon and Cook had lots of success on the 2019 AVP Tour. The duo won their first AVP beach volleyball title at the Austin Open in May 2019 and then won the first Pan American Games gold medal in Lima, Peru in July 2019.
She is glad to be back playing beach volleyball now in 2020. "The best part of the tourney is being able to compete again even though it felt really difficult. I am super grateful AVP was able to crest this series!"
The original 2020 AVP Tour schedule included the classic Manhattan Beach Open in mid-August and a stop in Hermosa Beach in late July. It was to open in New York City (June 19-21) and after HB and MB stops was to hit Chicago (September 4-6) and Hawaii (September 18-20), before the season finale in Huntington Beach (October 2-4). COVID-19 put an end to that schedule.
Now the AVP Champions Cup Series is replacing the 2020 tour. It features three tournaments three weekends in a row; three teams per gender crowned champions, and only one team per gender will win the ultimate reward of the Champions Cup.
The AVP Championship Cup series schedule is
July 18-19: The Monster Hydro Cup
July 25-26: The Wilson Cup
August 1-2: The Porsche Cup
Pardon and Cook will compete in next weekend's tournament in Long Beach, The Wilson Cup.
Amazon Prime Video is livestreaming matches throughout the entire Champions Cup series. NBC is presenting the women’s final today (Sunday, July 19) from 1:30-3 p.m. NBC will be the only place to watch the inaugural Women's Final.
The Monster Hydro Cup AVP action can be seen on Amazon Prime Video, and includes on-court interviews, commentary and analysis from Kevin Barnett, Camryn Irwin and Dain Blanton, and exclusive athlete segments.
More information regarding the Champions Cup Series can be found online on the FAQ page.