Beach volleyball: Crowd favorites Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson reach semifinals
Salt Lake City • Jake Gibb suffered from the hometown chills, but there were no signs of it by his stellar performance as he advances to the final four at the AVP tournament. He said there is a lot more pressure playing in front of childhood friends, church members and family.
"That's weird for me," said Gibb, the two-time Olympian and Bountiful native. He said he is used to playing in front of fans in different countries.
"All of sudden I hear voices that I recognize, and that's strange," said the former golfer and basketball player for the University of Utah. He is one of the few AVP players who did not play volleyball in college (Utah doesn't have a men's program).
Liberty Park was buzzing with a thrilled crowd as Gibb and teammate Casey Patterson, a Brigham Young University alumnus, attempt to capture their first AVP championship this season.
In the morning match, the two swept the No. 7 seed, Casey Jennings, also a former BYU standout, and Jeremy Casebeer, 21-16 and 21-16.
"That was a great win," said Gibb. "It's good to get some good momentum in these early rounds."
As the clear-cut crowd favorites, the pair defeated No. 3 seed Brad Keenan and John Mayer, 21-18 and 28-26, in their second match of the afternoon.
"It was a good comeback," said Patterson, the 2013 AVP Offensive Player of the Year. He added that he took some risky attacks that paid off. "You have to be able to make big plays â¦ to win matches. You learn over time that they will pay off more than they will not."
Gibb and Patterson beat Keenan and Mayer for the first time and qualified for the final four. They will take on the winner of No. 1 seed Tri Bourne and John Hyden and No. 12 seed Billy Allen and Trevor Crabb, who play Sunday at 9:50 a.m. on Court 1.
The final four matchups are scheduled for noon and Gibb and Patterson play on Court 1.
"That's my life," said Gibb. "You lose, you go home."
Even with the sluggish season start, the team remains positive in their chances this weekend. In the season opener in St. Petersburg, Florida, they finished second, and in Milwaukee they finished third.
The team is coming back from a successful year, being named AVP Team of the Year after winning seven AVP tournaments, including four straight.
Gibb and Patterson are a tight team, despite attending rival colleges.
"[Patterson] just made the mistake of going to BYU; I'm not going to hold that against him," said Gibb.
The cohorts are focused on the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, and together they are confident.
"[Patterson] has all the energy in the world," said Gibb, who has won 22 tournaments, domestic and international. "He has a very special volleyball mind."
Patterson added, "[Gibb] has been on every stage in the world," he said. "It lets me be wild and free and play my game, because I know he is going to be steady and consistent and do his job."
Jake Gibb file
• Hometown, Bountiful
• Attended Bountiful High and the University of Utah
Beach Volleyball partner • Casey Patterson
• Two-Time Olympian finished fifth in Beijing (2008) and London (2012) with partner Sean Rosenthal
• One of few AVP players who did not play volleyball in college
• AVP MVP 2005 and 2013
• AVP Team of the Year 2005 (with Stein Metzger) and 2013 (with Casey Patterson).
Gibb and Patterson will play in the final four on Sunday at noon. They will face the winner of Tri Bourne John Hyden and Billy Allen and Trevor Cabb, who play at 9:50 a.m.