Patterson eyes five in a row

Casey Patterson rode his bike down to the Huntington Beach Pier Tuesday morning to get in a workout.

It's a luxury the 33-year-old has, now that he's at home and has the opportunity to put in final preparations for the final Assn. of Volleyball Professionals pro beach volleyball tournament of the season.

Patterson is gearing up for the smart AVP Championships at Huntington Beach. The four-day tournament, the last of seven stops on the 2013 AVP Tour, starts Thursday and concludes with women's and men's championship finals Sunday at the south side of the pier.

The tournament begins with an open qualifier Thursday and is followed by main draw action both Friday and Saturday.

Among the top athletes contending for Huntington Beach titles are three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings, and 2012 Olympic silver medalists April Ross and Jen Kessy on the women's side, and Olympic gold medalists Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers, and two-time Olympians Sean Rosenthal, on the men's side.

The AVP and smart USA announced Monday the agreement for title sponsorship of the AVP's season-ending championship tournament.

Patterson, a resident of Huntington Beach for the past seven years, returned home earlier this week after competing last week at a World Tour stop in Brazil.

"It's great to be back home, and getting ready for our final tournament," Patterson, 33, said. "We're so fired up for this tournament."

Patterson is partnered for the first time this year with two-time U.S. Olympian Jake Gibb (Costa Mesa), and the duo has been outstanding on the current tour. They started the tour with consecutive third-place finishes at Salt Lake City and Manhattan Beach. Since then, the two have won four-straight men's titles conquering the Cincinnati Open at Cincinnati, Ohio, DO AC Invitational at Atlantic City, N.J., St. Petersburg Open at St. Petersburg, Fla., and the Santa Barbara Open late last month.

Patterson and Gibb, currently the top-ranked men's team in the AVP, are coming off a fifth-place finish at the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Sao Paulo Grand Slam in Brazil.

"I think we're playing well coming into the Huntington tournament," Patterson said.

The 6-foot-6 Patterson prepped at Newbury Park High and played collegiate indoor volleyball at BYU — he served on a Mormon mission between 1999-2001 at Little Rock, Ark. In the previous three years on the tour, Patterson partnered with Ryan Doherty (2012), Brad Keenan (2011, Fountain Valley High), and Kevin Wong (2010).

Gibb teamed last year with Rosenthal, a season that ended with the pair topping both the AVP and FIVB men's rankings.

"Jake [Gibb] called me to see if I'd be interested in forming a team," Patterson said. "Our chemistry has been really good. We're very similar players. We're both tall and good blockers. At 6-7, he's one of the top blockers in the world."

Patterson has competed in past AVP tournaments in Huntington Beach. He said last year's third-place finish with Doherty, was his best placement at the pier.

He knows what's at stake this weekend.

"This is a huge weekend for us," he said. "Jake and I can win five [tournaments] in a row, and I've never been in a scenario like this before. I'd never been in a scenario where I won two in a row, with a chance to win three. Then three in a row, with a chance to win four. Now, we can make it five."

Patterson, married and the father of two, will get to finish out the tour playing in front of family and friends.

"This feels like we're preparing for any other tournament, but it's different in that this one is at home which makes it special," he added. "We hope to have the positive energy and vibe of the crowd in our attempt to close out the tour with a big win."

AVP Schedule of Events

Thursday: Open Qualifier, all day.

Friday: Main Draw, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Saturday: Main Draw, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Sunday: Main Draw, noon; Men's final, 3 p.m.; Women's final, 4 p.m.

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