Gibb heads field

The Times Union Center floor will see it all this week. Last weekend, it was dirt for pro bull ridin

ALBANY — The Times Union Center floor will see it all this week.

Last weekend, it was dirt for pro bull riding; Friday, it’ll be ice for the Albany River Rats; and Saturday, they’ll put down the hardwood for Siena basketball.

Tonight, it’s sand, as the beach comes back to Albany for the AVP Crocs Hot Winter Nights beach volleyball.

Last year, the AVP tour stopped in Albany as an exhibition, and a crowd of 3,470 turned out on a cold February night to watch some of the best volleyball players in the country.

This time, the Albany matches are part of the regular tour schedule, so there will be much more on the line for the four men and four women scheduled to compete.

The players on the men’s side will be Stein Metzger, Sean Scott, Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal, and women include Tyra Turner, Rachel Wacholder, Jen Boss and Barbara Fontana.

Gibb, who won at Albany last year, and Wacholder are the only players returning from the 2007 matches at the Times Union Center.

Metzger and Michael Lambert were the second-ranked duo on the AVP outdoor tour last year.

Metzger finished fifth with Dax Holdren at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and he is attempting to get a spot, with Lambert, on one of two U.S. teams that will compete at the 2008 Beijing Games.

He was the top-ranked individual on the AVP Tour in 2005 and 2006.

Scott, teamed with Todd Rogers, just missed qualifying for the 2004 Olympics.

They were the fourth-highest ranked team in the world among those not making the Olympics.

He and Holdren finished seventh in the AVP Tour standings in 2007.

Gibb and Rosenthal were third on the outdoor tour. The 6-foot-7 Gibb won two tournaments with Metzger in 2005, and won the season-opening tournament in 2006 with Rosenthal.

Rosenthal is one of three players to have been ranked in the top 10 in points in each of the last four seasons.

Wacholder, Turner and Fontana have each won at least one AVP Hot Winter Nights event this season.

Wacholder won at St. Louis and Kansas City, and was second at Oklahoma City earlier this month.

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