It was a dismal Sunday for Americans in Mexico at the first of three FIVB four-star tournaments at the Cancun Hub. All seven remaining USA teams were eliminated and ended up in either ninth or 17th place.
With the women’s playoffs scheduled first, Walsh Jennings and Sweat lost to No. 16 Karla Borger and Julia Sude of Germany (21-18, 16-21, 15-11).The 17th-place finish is worth 320 points and will not enhance the Olympic points ranking for Walsh Jennings and Sweat, who are currently in second place behind Ross and Klineman.
Speaking of which, top-seeded Ross and Klineman lost to second-seeded Australians Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho. In case you’re wondering how the two top-seeded teams met in the second round, the FIVB randomly assigns playoff berths. Yup, randomly. The Australians’ serving was too much for the Americans in a 29-27, 21-15 victory.
The Olympic rankings points are a non-factor for Ross and Klineman, who have mathematically clinched one of the two USA Olympic berths. They have 9,080 points.
An hour later, Stockman and Kolinske fell to No. 6 Nadezda Makroguzova and Svetlana Kholomina of Russia (21-15, 21-16). Stockman and Kolinske had previously defeated No. 29 Chiyo Suzuki and Yurika Sakuguchi of Japan in the first round (21-17, 23-21).
Stockman and Kolinske will replace their 360-point finish with 400 points from their previous FIVB appearance in Doha to reach 6,360. They still trail Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes, who did not make it out of the qualifier, by 360 points.
The men began the playoff run with good reason to be optimistic. Dalhausser and Lucena defeated Brazil’s Alison Cerutti and Alvaro Filho (12-21, 21-16, 15-7) and Crabb and Gibb had defeated the Netherland’s Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen (21-19, 21-17). Bourne and Crabb had earned the bye in Saturday’s pool play.
But the Americans were matched up with two of the toughest teams in the draw. Dalhausser and Lucena draw top-seeded Christian Sorum and Anders Mol of Norway. Cancun is Mol’s first tournament back following a hip injury sustained last year.
Mol showed no signs of adversity, jump serving and blocking in fine form. The Norwegians defeated the Americans 21-15, 15-12, 15-12.
Dalhausser and Lucena will drop their 240-point Espinho Olympic result, adding 120 points. Their 160-point improvement brings them to 6,560, 440 points behind Ta. Crabb and Gibb and 140 points ahead of Tr. Crabb and Bourne.
At nearly the same time, Brazilian qualifiers Gustavo Carvalhaes and Arthur Da Silva eliminated fourth-seeded Taylor Crabb and Gibb 22-20, 21-9.
Gibb and Taylor Crabb add a mere 40 points, dropping their 360-point Sydney finish for the 400-point Cancun Hub 1. Their new point total is 7,040, 440 ahead of Dalhausser and Lucena and 620 ahead of Bourne and Tr. Crabb.
The last Americans to fall were Bourne and Trevor Crabb, who drew No. 9 Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner of the Czech Republic. Perusic and Schweiner are the hottest team of 2021, winning the four-star in Doha with tough serving and exemplary ball control. Bourne and Crabb fell 21-18, 21-12.
Crabb and Bourne will also make minor improvements in their Olympic rankings totals, dropping their 320 point Doha finish for the 400-point Cancun finish. Their new tally of 6,420 points leaves them in third in the Olympic race.
Eight women’s and eight men’s teams remain in medal contention Monday. The women’s matchups feature two intra-country matchups for Canada and Brazil:
No. 2 Clancy and Artacho of Australia vs. Chantal Laboureur and No. 20 Cinja Tillmann of Germany
No. 17 Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson of Canada vs. No. 4 Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan of Canada
No. 3 Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Duda Lisboa of Brazil vs. No. 6 Makroguzova and Kholomina of Russia
No. 9 Talita Antunes and Taiana Lima of Brazil vs. No. 10 Ana Patricia Silva and Rebecca Cavalcanti of Brazil
Monday’s men’s matchups includes two qualifier teams:
No. 1 Mol and Sorum of Norway vs. No. 28 Carvalhaes and Da Silva of Brazil
No. 10 Perusic and Schweiner of the Czech Republic vs. No. 16 Ilya Leshukov and Konstantin Semenov of Russia
No. 17 Cherif Samba and Ahmed Tijan of Qatar vs. No. 7 Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi of Italy
No. 23 Martin Ermacora and Moritz Pristauz-Telsnigg of Austria vs. No. 11 Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins of Latvia