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Brunner-Schalk lose in FIVB Beach Volleyball World semis, to play for bronze

The last Americans in the tournament, Theo Brunner and Chaim Schalk, ran into a Brazilian buzzsaw on Saturday at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Rome.

The 19th-seeded USA pair lost to 12th-seeded Vitor Felipe and Renato Lima 21-17, 21-19.

Theo Brunner fires a shot past Brazil’s Vitor Felipe/Volleyball World photo

But it won’t be an all-Brazilian final, because in the other semifinal eighth-seeded Olympic gold-medalists Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway beat fifth-seeded Brazilians Andre Loyola and George Wanderly 21-14, 21-18.

Accordingly, the Norwegians play Felipe and Lima for gold Sunday after Brunner and Schalk play Loyola and Wanderly for bronze. The American are trying to win the first USA men’s medal at Worlds since Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers got bronze in 2009.

The women’s final pits 20th-seeded Canadians Brandie Wilkerson and Sophie Bukovec against second-seeded Brazilians Duda Lisboa and Ana Patricia Silva.

Wilkerson, the 29-year Olympian who played in Tokyo last summer with the since retired Heather Bansley, and the 26-year old Bukovec, who played at Long Beach State and then was an NCAA-champion for USC, beat 16th-seeded Germans Svenja Muller 21-15, 15-21, 15-12.

In the other semifinal Lisboa and Silva rolled past Swiss Olympic bronze-medalists Anouk Verge-Depre and Joana Heidrich 21-19, 21-13.

Brandie Wilkerson puts on the brakes while chasing a ball that was going out/Volleyball World photo