FIVB: Patterson/Brunner pull off upset, Walsh Jennings and Ross win

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Casey Patterson (passing) and Theo Brunner made the most of pool play Wednesday, standing at 2-0 including a defeat of Brazilians Alison Cerutti/Bruno Schmidt/FIVB photo

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – With nothing to lose against the world’s best team, Casey Patterson and Theo Brunner refused to lose.

The newly minted team, hitting the sand for the first time as partners, opened center court play at the Fort Lauderdale Major by knocking off reigning Olympic champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt with a performance that surprised just about everybody but themselves.

“I know it’s still early in our partnership,” said Brunner, who led the way with 10 blocks, including two crucial ones at the end of the second set of a 21-14, 22-20 victory. “We feel like there’s a little variation in our game and if we’re playing well and I’m blocking well and if our ‘D’ is on, we can definitely beat anyone, so we’re not surprised.”

And both Americans warned themselves that they couldn’t rest on the milestone win and they rallied later in the day for an 18-21, 21-19, 17-15 win over German Olympians Markus Bockermann and Lars Fluggen. Patterson and Brunner had to rally from a 10-7 deficit in the third set and scratched their way to a triumph that should enable them to capture Pool C and avoid the first round of eliminations on Thursday.

They pulled off much the same act in the second set against Alison and Bruno, who held a 19-18 lead before consecutive blocks by Brunner turned things around.

“Great blocking by my partner. It doesn’t matter who you are, that’s a lot of blocks,” Patterson said. “It’s tough to play against somebody who’s on fire like that. It could have easily gone the other way with Alison, so we’re just glad that we could see a little bit of the potential that we can bring as a team.”

It was the highlight of a solid day by American men’s teams. Patterson’s Olympic partner, Jake Gibb, teamed with Taylor Crabb to score two wins and Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena also went unscathed in their two matches.

“It felt good to get out and compete with Taylor,” Gibb said. “We need to clean up a few things but it felt good overall.”

John Hyden/Ryan Doherty and Sean Rosenthal/Trevor Crabb split their matches and are in position to advance when pool play concludes Thursday.

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Kerri Walsh Jennings, left, and April Ross defeated Marleen Van Iersel and Manon Nummerdor-Flier of the Netherlands/FIVB photo

They had to wait all day, but Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross opened play under the lights at Fort Lauderdale Park Beach and scored a 21-18, 21-17 victory over new partners Marleen Van Iersel and Manon Nummerdor-Flier of the Netherlands.

And they unveiled a new look. For the first time, Walsh Jennings took the left side and Ross took the right and they couldn’t have been happier with the results.

“The reason was we want to see if we had any more higher potential with me on the right,” said Ross, who added it was the first time in her professional career she took over that side. “Kerri played for three years nonstop on the right and we improved a lot. I don’t think we necessarily hit a peak, but it was like what if we switched things up and see what we can do? Maybe we put ourselves out there for a little faster growth, try something we’ve never tried, so that’s what we’re doing.”

The duo will have two matches Thursday with one coming against another new team, Brazil’s Barbara Seixas and Fernanda Alves. Barbara captured silver in the 2016 Rio Olympics with longtime partner Agatha Bednarczuk.

“We’ve been training a lot against guys and against girls and we felt really comfortable out there,” Walsh Jennings said. “Our rhythm was really good, which is what this whole game is about, and honestly it felt like we’ve been doing this for awhile.

“I was telling April there are a lot of new teams out here and we need to capitalize on that.”

One new American team is Summer Ross and Olympian Brooke Sweat, who opened with a 21-15, 16-21, 15-12 victory over Canadians Kristina May and Taylor Pischke.

“It was nice to get out there and get a win this morning,” Sweat said. “We were really nervous and didn’t play our best, so we are really excited to play again tonight against Germany.”

Lauren Fendrick, Sweat’s Olympic partner, teamed with USC’s Sara Hughes to score a 21-15, 21-14 win over Australians Louise Bawden and Nicole Laird.

“It’s really fun playing with Lauren and I’m excited for our matches tomorrow,” Hughes said.

Patterson and Brunner admitted that their new partnership might have thrown Alison and Brunner off, and Patterson was playing on the right side of a pairing for the first time in five years.

“That’s kind of the high end of the spectrum,” Brunner said of his 10 blocks. “I got in a zone a little bit with the reads and maybe they came out a little slow because of the travel from Brazil, but whatever it was, I’ll take that any match.”

What most impressed Patterson and Brunner was that as a new team, they never folded in crunch time.

“That’s a huge part,” Patterson said of the second-set win over the Brazilians. “That’s better than 21-14 in the first one. It shows that our skin is thick and we’re a team that can deal with some adversity and that’s the biggest part. Anyone can win by a blowout if a team’s not playing well, giving you errors and giving you points, but if you can survive a storm and come out of it on top, that’s a lot of fun momentum to build on from here on out.”

Not only are the 2016 Olympic gold medalists, but Alison/Bruno are also the reigning world champions and two-time World Tour Finals champs. But they didn’t perform up to their lofty standards.

“We gave them a lot of free points. We didn’t put any pressure on so it’s easy when you play like this,” Bruno said. “We gave them a lot of mistakes. We can’t say much about their team because we gave them so many free points. On the World Tour we can’t be successful playing like that.

Eduarda Lisboadives for the Mikasa in their first round of pool play against the USA's Brittany Hochevar and Emily Day/Stephen Burns
Eduarda Lisboa dives for the Mikasa in their first round of pool play against the USA’s Brittany Hochevar and Emily Day/Stephen Burns photo

Brazil’s 18-year-old Eduarda Lisboa had a successful debut with silver medalist Agatha Bednarczuk, defeating the USA’s Brittany Hochevar and Emily Day 21-16, 21-10.

Wednesday’s Men’s Matches

Pool A — Round 1
Match 1: Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena United States (1) def. Harley Marques/Ricardo Santos Brazil (32) 21-17, 21-18 (0:36)
Match 2: Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst Austria (17) def. Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Artem Yarzutkin Russia (16) 21-14, 24-22 (0:35)
Round 2
Match 17: Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena United States (1) def. Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst Austria (17) 21-16, 21-19 (0:34)
Match 18: Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Artem Yarzutkin Russia (16) def. Harley Marques/Ricardo Santos Brazil (32) 14-21, 21-17, 15-12 (0:46)
Round 3
Match 33: Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena United States (1) vs. Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Artem Yarzutkin Russia (16)      
Match 34: Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst Austria (17) vs. Harley Marques/Ricardo Santos Brazil (32)     
Pool B — Round 1
Match 3: Trevor Crabb/Sean Rosenthal United States (31, Q12) def. Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins Latvia (2) 25-23, 25-23 (0:45)
Match 4: Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin Russia (15) def. Kacper Kujawiak/Mariusz Prudel Poland (18) 21-14, 21-16 (0:33)
Round 2
Match 19: Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins Latvia (2) def. Kacper Kujawiak/Mariusz Prudel Poland (18) 21-16, 18-21, 15-10 (0:47)
Match 20: Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin Russia (15) def. Trevor Crabb/Sean Rosenthal United States (31, Q12) 21-13, 19-21, 15-8 (0:45)
Round 3
Match 35: Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins Latvia (2) vs. Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin Russia (15)      
Match 36: Kacper Kujawiak/Mariusz Prudel Poland (18) vs. Trevor Crabb/Sean Rosenthal United States (31, Q12)     
Pool C — Round 1
Match 5: Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt Brazil (3) def. Bennet Poniewaz/David Poniewaz Germany (30, Q18) 21-14, 21-19 (0:36)
Match 6: Theo Brunner/Casey Patterson United States (14) def. Markus Bockermann/Lars Fluggen Germany (19) 18-21, 21-19, 17-15 (0:50)
Round 2
Match 21: Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt Brazil (3) vs. Markus Bockermann/Lars Fluggen Germany (19)      
Match 22: Theo Brunner/Casey Patterson United States (14) vs. Bennet Poniewaz/David Poniewaz Germany (30, Q18)     
Round 3
Match 37: Theo Brunner/Casey Patterson United States (14) def. Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt Brazil (3) 21-14, 22-20 (0:35)
Match 38: Markus Bockermann/Lars Fluggen Germany (19) def. Bennet Poniewaz/David Poniewaz Germany (30, Q18) 21-18, 21-17 (0:38)
Pool D — Round 1
Match 7: Gustavo Carvalhaes/Pedro Solberg Brazil (4) def. Nico Beeler/Marco Krattiger Switzerland (29, Q10) 21-19, 21-14 (0:37)
Match 8: Michal Bryl/Grzegorz Fijalek Poland (13) def. Martins Plavins/Haralds Regza Latvia (20) 21-18, 21-17 (0:39)
Round 2
Match 23: Gustavo Carvalhaes/Pedro Solberg Brazil (4) def. Martins Plavins/Haralds Regza Latvia (20) 21-16, 21-13 (0:28)
Match 24: Michal Bryl/Grzegorz Fijalek Poland (13) def. Nico Beeler/Marco Krattiger Switzerland (29, Q10) 21-15, 21-15 (0:36)
Round 3
Match 39: Gustavo Carvalhaes/Pedro Solberg Brazil (4) vs. Michal Bryl/Grzegorz Fijalek Poland (13)      
Match 40: Martins Plavins/Haralds Regza Latvia (20) vs. Nico Beeler/Marco Krattiger Switzerland (29, Q10)     
Pool E — Round 1
Match 9: Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak Poland (5) def. Robin Seidl/Tobias Winter Austria (28, Q8) 26-24, 21-17 (0:56)
Match 10: Sam Pedlow/Sam Schachter Canada (12) def. Grant O’Gorman/Michael Plantinga Canada (21) 21-16, 21-13 (0:35)
Round 2
Match 25: Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak Poland (5) def. Grant O’Gorman/Michael Plantinga Canada (21) 21-19, 21-15 (0:36)
Match 26: Sam Pedlow/Sam Schachter Canada (12) def. Robin Seidl/Tobias Winter Austria (28, Q8) 21-18, 22-20 (0:38)
Round 3
Match 41: Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak Poland (5) vs. Sam Pedlow/Sam Schachter Canada (12)      
Match 42: Grant O’Gorman/Michael Plantinga Canada (21) vs. Robin Seidl/Tobias Winter Austria (28, Q8)     
Pool F — Round 1
Match 11: Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera Spain (6) def. Maciej Rudol/Jakub Szalankiewicz Poland (27, Q6) 21-13, 27-25 (0:30)
Match 12: Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb United States (11) def. Marco Caminati/Alex Ranghieri Italy (22) 21-15, 21-15 (0:36)
Round 2
Match 27: Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera Spain (6) def. Marco Caminati/Alex Ranghieri Italy (22) 18-21, 21-10, 16-14 (0:35)
Match 28: Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb United States (11) def. Maciej Rudol/Jakub Szalankiewicz Poland (27, Q6) 21-14, 23-21 (0:35)
Round 3
Match 43: Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera Spain (6) vs. Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb United States (11)      
Match 44: Marco Caminati/Alex Ranghieri Italy (22) vs. Maciej Rudol/Jakub Szalankiewicz Poland (27, Q6)     
Pool G — Round 1
Match 13: Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk Canada (7) def. Kay Matysik/Alexander Walkenhorst Germany (26, Q4) 21-14, 21-17 (0:33)
Match 14: Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai Italy (10) def. Esteban Grimalt/Marco Grimalt Chile (23) 21-18, 21-17 (0:33)
Round 2
Match 29: Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk Canada (7) def. Esteban Grimalt/Marco Grimalt Chile (23) 21-14, 21-18 (0:31)
Match 30: Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai Italy (10) def. Kay Matysik/Alexander Walkenhorst Germany (26, Q4) 21-16, 19-21, 15-10 (0:47)
Round 3
Match 45: Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk Canada (7) vs. Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai Italy (10)      
Match 46: Esteban Grimalt/Marco Grimalt Chile (23) vs. Kay Matysik/Alexander Walkenhorst Germany (26, Q4)     
Pool H — Round 1
Match 15: Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola Brazil (8) def. Christoph Dressler/Thomas Kunert Austria (25, Q3) 22-20, 21-14 (0:34)
Match 16: Saymon Barbosa/Alvaro Filho Brazil (9, Q1) def. Ryan Doherty/John Hyden United States (24) 21-17, 21-19 (0:36)
Round 2
Match 31: Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola Brazil (8) vs. Ryan Doherty/John Hyden United States (24)      
Match 32: Saymon Barbosa/Alvaro Filho Brazil (9, Q1) vs. Christoph Dressler/Thomas Kunert Austria (25, Q3)     
Round 3
Match 47: Saymon Barbosa/Alvaro Filho Brazil (9, Q1) def. Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola Brazil (8) 21-18, 21-17 (0:40)
Match 48: Ryan Doherty/John Hyden United States (24) def. Christoph Dressler/Thomas Kunert Austria (25, Q3) 19-21, 21-15, 15-10 (0:44)

Wednesday’s Women’s Matches

Pool A — Round 1
Match 1: April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings United States (1) def. Manon Nummerdor-Flier/Marleen Van Iersel Netherlands (32, Q7) 21-18, 21-17 (0:32)
Match 2: Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas Brazil (16, Q2) def. Taru Lahti/Anniina Parkkinen Finland (17) 21-11, 21-15 (0:35)
Round 2
Match 17: April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings United States (1) vs. Taru Lahti/Anniina Parkkinen Finland (17)      
Match 18: Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas Brazil (16, Q2) vs. Manon Nummerdor-Flier/Marleen Van Iersel Netherlands (32, Q7)     
Round 3
Match 33: April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings United States (1) vs. Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas Brazil (16, Q2)      
Match 34: Taru Lahti/Anniina Parkkinen Finland (17) vs. Manon Nummerdor-Flier/Marleen Van Iersel Netherlands (32, Q7)     
Pool B — Round 1
Match 3: Jolien Sinnema/Joy Stubbe Netherlands (31, Q6) def. Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca Brazil (2) 21-18, 18-21, 15-12 (0:42)
Match 4: Lauren Fendrick/Sara Hughes United States (18) def. Louise Bawden/Nicole Laird Australia (15) 21-15, 21-14 (0:31)
Round 2
Match 19: Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca Brazil (2) vs. Lauren Fendrick/Sara Hughes United States (18)      
Match 20: Louise Bawden/Nicole Laird Australia (15) vs. Jolien Sinnema/Joy Stubbe Netherlands (31, Q6)     
Round 3
Match 35: Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca Brazil (2) vs. Louise Bawden/Nicole Laird Australia (15)      
Match 36: Lauren Fendrick/Sara Hughes United States (18) vs. Jolien Sinnema/Joy Stubbe Netherlands (31, Q6)     
Pool C — Round 1
Match 5: Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude Germany (3) def. Kelly Claes/Kelly Reeves United States (30, Q9) 21-12, 21-17 (0:30)
Match 6: Josemari Alves/Liliane Maestrini Brazil (14, Q1) def. Marta Menegatti/Rebecca Perry Italy (19) 21-14, 21-11 (0:30)
Round 2
Match 21: Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude Germany (3) vs. Marta Menegatti/Rebecca Perry Italy (19)      
Match 22: Josemari Alves/Liliane Maestrini Brazil (14, Q1) vs. Kelly Claes/Kelly Reeves United States (30, Q9)     
Round 3
Match 37: Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude Germany (3) vs. Josemari Alves/Liliane Maestrini Brazil (14, Q1)      
Match 38: Marta Menegatti/Rebecca Perry Italy (19) vs. Kelly Claes/Kelly Reeves United States (30, Q9)     
Pool D — Round 1
Match 7: Julia Grossner/Kira Walkenhorst Germany (4) def. Sandra Ittlinger/Teresa Mersmann Germany (29, Q5) 21-13, 21-12 (0:29)
Match 8: Summer Ross/Brooke Sweat United States (13) def. Kristina May/Taylor Pischke Canada (20) 21-16, 15-21, 15-12 (0:30)
Round 2
Match 23: Julia Grossner/Kira Walkenhorst Germany (4) def. Kristina May/Taylor Pischke Canada (20) 21-14, 15-21, 15-4 (0:40)
Match 24: Summer Ross/Brooke Sweat United States (13) def. Sandra Ittlinger/Teresa Mersmann Germany (29, Q5) 21-13, 21-12 (0:28)
Round 3
Match 39: Julia Grossner/Kira Walkenhorst Germany (4) vs. Summer Ross/Brooke Sweat United States (13)      
Match 40: Kristina May/Taylor Pischke Canada (20) vs. Sandra Ittlinger/Teresa Mersmann Germany (29, Q5)     
Pool E — Round 1
Match 9: Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda Lisboa Brazil (5) def. Emily Day/Brittany Hochevar United States (28, Q4) 21-16, 21-10 (0:29)
Match 10: Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider Germany (21) def. Madelein Meppelink/Sophie van Gestel Netherlands (12) 19-21, 21-19, 15-13 (0:44)
Round 2
Match 25: Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda Lisboa Brazil (5) vs. Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider Germany (21)      
Match 26: Madelein Meppelink/Sophie van Gestel Netherlands (12) vs. Emily Day/Brittany Hochevar United States (28, Q4)     
Round 3
Match 41: Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda Lisboa Brazil (5) vs. Madelein Meppelink/Sophie van Gestel Netherlands (12)      
Match 42: Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider Germany (21) vs. Emily Day/Brittany Hochevar United States (28, Q4)     
Pool F — Round 1
Match 11: Joana Heinrich/Anouk Verge-Depre Switzerland (6) def. Lane Carico/Irene Hester Pollock United States (27) 26-24, 21-9 (0:52)
Match 12: Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson Canada (11) def. Kristyna Kolocova/Michala Kvapilova Czech Republic (22) 20-22, 21-15, 15-12 (0:48)
Round 2
Match 27: Joana Heidrich/Anouk Verge-Depre Switzerland (6) vs. Kristyna Kolocova/Michala Kvapilova Czech Republic (22)      
Match 28: Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson Canada (11) vs. Lane Carico/Irene Hester Pollock United States (27)     
Round 3
Match 43: Joana Heidrich/Anouk Verge-Depre Switzerland (6) vs. Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson Canada (11)      
Match 44: Kristyna Kolocova/Michala Kvapilova Czech Republic (22) vs. Lane Carico/Irene Hester Pollock United States (27)     
Pool G — Round 1
Match 13: Ekaterina Birlova/Nadezda Makroguzova Russia (26, Q3) def. Taiana Lima/Elize Maia Brazil (7) 17-21, 21-17, 20-18 (0:54)
Match 14: Karla Borger/Margareta Kozuch Germany (23) def. Ana Gallay/Georgina Klug Argentina (10) 21-13, 22-20 (0:37)
Round 2
Match 29: Taiana Lima/Elize Maia Brazil (7) vs. Karla Borger/Margareta Kozuch Germany (23)      
Match 30: Ana Gallay/Georgina Klug Argentina (10) vs. Ekaterina Birlova/Nadezda Makroguzova Russia (26, Q3)     
Round 3
Match 45: Taiana Lima/Elize Maia Brazil (7) vs. Ana Gallay/Georgina Klug Argentina (10)      
Match 46: Karla Borger/Margareta Kozuch Germany (23) vs. Ekaterina Birlova/Nadezda Makroguzova Russia (26, Q3)     
Pool H — Round 1
Match 15: Katharina Schutzenhofer/Stefanie Schwaiger Austria (25) def. Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli Switzerland (8) 22-20, 28-26 (0:45)
Match 16: Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova Czech Republic (9) def. Anastasia Barsuk/Evgeniya Ukolova Russia (24) 21-16, 21-12 (0:32)
Round 2
Match 31: Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli Switzerland (8) vs. Anastasia Barsuk/Evgeniya Ukolova Russia (24)      
Match 32: Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova Czech Republic (9) vs. Katharina Schutzenhofer/Stefanie Schwaiger Austria (25)     
Round 3
Match 47: Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli Switzerland (8) vs. Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova Czech Republic (9)      
Match 48: Anastasia Barsuk/Evgeniya Ukolova Russia (24) vs. Katharina Schutzenhofer/Stefanie Schwaiger Austria (25)     

Thanks to BVBinfo.com and Beach Volleyball Database for results

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