There were a lot of firsts Sunday at the AVP Gold Series Atlanta Open.
Four first-time winners.
The first time, as best as we can tell, that teams were eliminated in 28-point single sets.
And almost a first, as 20-year-old Miles Partain became the second-oldest to win AVP gold.
Ultimately, the winners were seventh-seeded Geena Urango and Julie Scoles on the women’s side and sixth-seeded Paul Lotman and Partiain on the men’s.
They’d all been close, but none had ever won AVP titles before.
Urango, 33, is a former USC indoor player. She has six second-place AVP finishes on her resume. Scoles just completed her NCAA beach career with back-to-back titles at USC. They beat top-seeded Sarah Sponcil and another USC product, Terese Cannon, in the final 21-17, 12-21, 16-14. The week before they lost in the AVP Fort Lauderdale final to two other USC players, Tina Graudina and Hailey Harward, who sang the national anthem before Sunday’s matches.
Lotman, 36, was a 2012 USA men’s indoors Olympian. He’s finished third six times in his AVP career, four this season. Partain, who plays indoors for UCLA, became the second youngest player of either gender to win an AVP tournament, behind only Scott Ayakatubby, who won in 1984 at age 19. They beat top-seeded Theo Brunner and Chaim Schalk in the final 17-21, 21-14, 15-9.
The tournament dealt with lightning on Friday and Saturday, and Saturday night things got called off with four matches left on both sides to decide the semifinals. And, in what may have been a first, with more bad weather predicted for Sunday afternoon, those matches were played Sunday morning as one set to 28 points.
The AVP paid tribute to two-time Olympian Lucena on Sunday before the men’s final. Lucena announced his retirement from AVP play. Lucena played in his 152nd and final AVP tournament with five-time partner Andy Benesh. They tied for fifth.
Here are Sunday’s results: