Ross paired with Lane Carico as the No. 2-seeded team to defeat Jennifer Fopma and Brittany Hochevar, the fifth-seeded team, in straight sets 21-17, 21-17.
ISSAQUAH — She spent only one season, the fall of 2011, playing indoor volleyball at Washington, but Summer Ross still loves coming to Seattle.
“I’ll be back here every year for the AVP,” Ross said Sunday after pairing with Lane Carico to win the women’s championship of the Seattle Open at Lake Sammamish State Park, the fourth stop of the eight-city Association of Volleyball Professionals beach tour.
Ross, 23, has two wins on the AVP circuit and both have come in Seattle. Last year, when the AVP made its first Seattle visit since 1990, she and Jen Fopma teamed for the win.
Sunday, Ross paired with Lane Carico as the No. 2-seeded team to defeat Fopma and Brittany Hochevar, the fifth-seeded team, in straight sets 21-17, 21-17.
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On the sun-baked main court in 90-degree heat, Ross and Carico, who have been playing partners for nearly a year, did not get pushed to a third set. “We brought the hustle, because it’s hot out here,” she said.
In the men’s bracket, the fourth-seeded team of Theo Brunner and Billy Allen topped the second-seeded brothers duo of Trevor and Taylor Crabb, 21-19, 19-21, 15-12. The top-seeded team of two-time Olympian Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson withdrew due to a bout of food poisoning that Gibb had been battling since Thursday night.
Ross, 6-foot-1, recorded 11 kills, four digs, three blocks and three aces while hitting 38 percent. Carico, 5-10, had 15 kills (hitting 41 percent) and 20 digs.
Despite conceding a few inches to Fopma (6-3) and Hochevar (6-0), Ross and Carico were more nimble in their split-second adjustments and impressively cagy with their off-speed attacks that often landed softly in unoccupied zones on their opponent’s court.
“I’m the blocker and Lane just digs everything,” Ross said.
Ross and Carico, who will share $15,000 for the win, rank as the fourth-highest U.S. pair on what is known as the Olympic provisional list.
Kerri Walsh Jennings and new teammate April Ross rank third on that global list and are certain to be one of two female American duos headed to the Olympics when U.S. teams are announced June 13. Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat are likely to be the second team.
Ross, USA Volleyball’s Beach Player of the Year in 2010 at age 17, says she and Carico have ambitions of being one of those teams in 2020.
“We’re going to crawl up the rankings,” she said. “This partnership is going all the way.”
The two teamed up after Carico sent Ross an email out of the blue. “It was the sweetest email ever,” Ross said.
Said Carico: “We used to play against each other and we played co-ed against each other, and we had respect for each other and thought we’d be a really good team. We’re both super-positive, and that really helps our chemistry and carries us far.”
“We’re on the right path if we keep working really, really hard and getting as much experience as we can,” said Carico, 26.
“Just doing the grind teaches you how to pull out what you need when it’s game time.”
• Ross says former UW coach Jim McLaughlin had plans to introduce sand volleyball as a varsity sport when she was recruited. When other Pac-12 schools would not yet commit to the sport, those plans were delayed.
“It just wasn’t ready, so I had to get out and go play beach volleyball because I love it,” Ross said. After the fall 2011 season, she transferred to Pepperdine and played college sand volleyball in spring 2012, then left college and turned pro.
“I loved UW,” she said.
“I kind of wish I had two lives so I could have played four years there. I really appreciate playing at UW. They taught me a lot about blocking, hitting, everything. I’d probably be way worse if I hadn’t gone to UW.”