Gibb and Patterson team up as AVP Tour rolls back into Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - The AVP beach volleyball tour rolls back into Salt Lake City this weekend, and if last year's inaugural stop at Liberty Park is any indication, big crowds are expected once again.

"They had the best turnout on the AVP outside of a California event here in Utah," said former Bountiful High and University of Utah grad Jake Gibb. "So, I think it will be here to stay for a long time. I think we beat that attendance mark just from my family alone."

"It was a great crowd that was really into volleyball, knowledgeable," said former BYU player Casey Patterson. "So I'm pretty sure it's going to be a mainstay on the tour."

After splitting with long-time partner Sean Rosenthal two years ago, Gibb, who has won 17 times on the AVP Tour, found a great match in Patterson, despite the rivalry between their alma maters.

"I had to weigh it out," said Gibb, a 2-time Olympian. "[Play with] a Cougar or make a living. I was teetering, but I finally went with the Cougar. So that's how I feel about it."

"They didn't have a volleyball team at Utah, so he has no chance," joked Patterson. "Football is different, but in volleyball, I've always got that."

Gibb and Patterson were teammates for just a few months when they lost in the semifinals of this event last year. Now, seeded second this time around, they feel have a great shot to win the title. 

"This lost last year was really tough for us. I took it really hard. The good thing was after that tournament, we won four in a row. So, you could tell Salt Lake was a big part of our summer. It really motivated us."

Having played in two Olympic Games already, the 38-year-old Gibb wasn't sure if he was ready for another. But teaming up with Patterson has rejuvenated him, and now he has his sights set on Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

"That's the number one goal is to go to Rio with Casey," Gibb said. "I'll be 40 years old going to Rio, so I've got to fight hard and keep in shape so these young bucks don't take me out."

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