Beach volleyball: Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson win SLC event
Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson faced a tremendous deficit, down 14-11. Their opponents were one point away from sealing the championship victory.
Patterson, a former BYU volleyball player, said it felt like the match was over, but it wasn't. He rallied off four points for the come-from-behind win.
The 2013 AVP Team of the Year clinched their first AVP tournament victory this season against Ryan Doherty and Nick Lucena in three sets, 17-21, 21-17 and 17-15.
"That was a special moment for [Patterson]. â¦ He absolutely took over a match and won," said Gibb, a Bountiful native and an alumnus of the University of Utah.
As the duo fought back in the final set, the crowd rose to their feet and began chanting, "Utah!" repeatedly. It was memorable experience for the duo to compete in front of more than 80 of their friends and family members, plus everyone else who filled all three stands surrounding the main court.
"I have been in stadiums where they are chanting USA â¦ but this is more personal," said Gibb, the two-time Olympian. He added it's special to hear someone cheering your name and know exactly who that person is.
Patterson added, "I never had almost all of the stands on my side."
He said wining in Utah was paramount because it was the place where he fell in love with the sport.
Earlier that afternoon, Gibb and Patterson defeated the No. 1 seed Tri Bourne and John Hyden in the semifinals. They won in three sets: 21-19, 17-21, 15-13.
On the women's side, Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross claimed their third straight AVP championship. With the ace serve, Ross finished off Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat with a score of 21-16 and 21-15.
"We keep to our game plan," said Walsh Jennings, the three-time Gold medal Olympian and has won 69 AVP titles and 120 overall. She said they played sound volleyball, made few mistakes and improved defensively.
With the win, Walsh Jennings collected her first tournament win at Liberty Park. Ross has two titles in Salt Lake City; she won last year with then-partner Jen Kessy in the inaugural tour stop.
"We want to win every tournament," said Ross, who has won 19 total AVP championships. "I love wining in Salt Lake City. It's so much to play in front of these fans."
This partnership between Walsh Jennings and Ross is still fairly new, but they have been on a rip. So far, they have a 23-1 record with four AVP titles.
Going into the "granddaddy" of tour stop Manhattan Beach, the team knows others are gunning for them.
"It keeps us on our toes," said Walsh Jennings, referring to the pressure to keep winning. "The bigger the better as long as we are concerned."
Beach volleyball results
Women • Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross def. Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat, 21-16, 21-15
Men • Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson def. Ryan Doherty and Nick Lucena, 17-21, 21-17, 17-15.