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MANHATTAN BEACH, CA — The team of Alix Klineman and April Ross delivered on their number 1 AVP Monster Hydro Cup ranking, taking the championship Sunday afternoon against Sara Hughes and Brandie Wilkerson. Klineman of Manhattan Beach and Ross of Costa Mesa won in 2 sets, 24-22 and 21-19 in the Association of Volleyball Professional's 2020 COVID-19 impacted tour.
The duo, which has won one Manhattan Beach Open and several AVP tourneys, is looking to qualify to play for the United States in the Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan, which have been moved to 2021 due to the global coronavirus outbreak this year. Ross is perhaps well remembered for her partnership with beach volleyball superstar Kerri Walsh Jennings, another Manhattan Beach resident, their partnership going undefeated in the 2015 AVP season. The pair then qualified for the Rio Olympics and secured the Bronze Medal for the US in 2016.
Klineman, a graduate of Mira Costa High School, has long taken a shine to volleyball, playing indoor vball from the age of 8 to 26. She played volleyball for Stanford, and competed professionally overseas for five seasons before making the switch to beach volleyball in 2017. In her first season of beach volleyball, she was voted the AVP Rookie of the Year. In 2018, she and April Ross formed a team and won four AVP events. Klineman, who is 6' 5", was named Best Blocker, and Most Improved, and she and Ross took home the Team of the Year title at the end of their breakout season. Last season, in 2019, the Klineman and Ross duo scored three more AVP titles and team of the Year. Klineman was named Best Blocker.
The next tourney in the AVP Champions Cup is the Wilson Cup, which begins Saturday, July 25 in Long Beach, with teams once again playing toward the clinching the Champions Cup. The virtual tournament does not allow for in-person spectators due to the coronavirus.