Mike Lambert played with Eric Fonoimoana for the first time this season and the two made it through the first day of the Santa Barbara Invitational undefeated Saturday at West Beach, but the favorite for the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals most-valuable-player award said there was no doubt that he would be back together with Karch Kiraly next season.
"It's a no-brainer," Lambert said.
Lambert, the tour leader in blocks with 407 before Saturday, has fielded several phone calls inquiring about his plans for next season. But Lambert has no intention to play with anyone other than Kiraly, the AVP leader in career victories, even though Kiraly recently had season-ending shoulder surgery and turns 44 next month.
Together, Kiraly and Lambert won three times this season and finished second three other times. One of their victories and two of their runner-up finishes came after Kiraly dislocated his shoulder in July.
"How can you say no to a partnership that brought you such a great season?" Lambert said. "And it could have been even better. If Karch was healthy, we would have won even more."