The AVP Cincinnati Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio, is a lot of verbiage for an MC to spit out, but AVP announcer Dusty Avol handled it well all weekend long as the AVP played host to another successful Midwest event. Being that Dusty wasn't able to attend last year's Cincinnati event and the night session (a signature of the Cinci stop, since the tennis center has lights) got canceled due to weather, I was really excited to return to Ohio and handle our unfinished business.
As I told Dusty and AVP owner Donald Sun prior to the event, things can get a little weird during night sessions.
When I said weird, I didn't mean things would get uncomfortable or awkward, just that certain things might be said on the microphone and the music might start leaning towards humorous and potentially inappropriate in a way that wouldn’t normally happen during daylight hours. It all seems to work under the lights when the adult beverages are flowing—responsibly, of course.
The rain held off during the day but attempted to once again ruin my musical plans for the night session. Since there was no thunder or lightening, players played through it and the rain finally let up during the second match of the night. Fans were not deterred. They showed up with their ponchos and umbrellas, packed the stands, enjoyed the three matches, and rocked out, singing along to "Livin' On A Prayer" by Bon Jovi and, of course, "Hang On Sloopy" by The McCoys. If you've ever been to an Ohio State football game or watched one on TV, you'll understand why the latter is a must in Ohio. The guessing game of "is the DJ about to play ‘Under Pressure’ by David Bowie or ‘Ice Ice Baby’ by Vanilla Ice?" is always fun too. For the record, it was “Ice Ice Baby.” Not a song I would normally play, but I was finding my song selections amusing at the time and someone suggested I play Vanilla Ice, so of course I did. Speaking of fun, everyone in the DJ booth was having a lot of it, from the AVP staff to a few players, so I suspect our energy flowed over to the crowd as well. As a DJ, having a crowd that engages with you and your music is always a great feeling.
For the fifth time this year, we had the same women's finals match up, along with the same result. Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat put up a tough fight, but with Brooke continuing to battle a back injury and Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross playing in top form, Kerri and April went on to win their fifth AVP event this season, 21-14, 21-15.
On the men's side, Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson returned to their winning ways after placing seventh in Manhattan Beach by beating Nick Lucena and Ryan Doherty in two: 21-13, 23-21.
Cincinnati also got to see a lot of players match or break their career best finishes on the AVP tour. Lane Carico and her partner Kim DiCello took third, Lane's fourth and Kim's second this season. Brittany Hochevar helped her partner Ali Daley McColloch to a career-best finish as they also lost in the semis to take third. On the men's side, Derek Olson and his partner Avery Drost took a fifth—Avery's first and Derek's second fifth of their careers. Jeremy Casebeer, a name you should remember, earned a career-best third, making it to the semifinals with his veteran partner Casey Jennings. Casey, at 39, is still one of the best defenders on tour, and I'm sure Jeremy is absorbing as much knowledge from Casey as he can.
Expect more excitement as all of these players to strive to top their Cincinnati finishes this weekend as the AVP rolls into Atlantic City.