After a qualifying competition punctuated by rain, the main draw is now set in Gstaad, Switzerland, the final FIVB pro beach international four-star event of the year.

With the Olympics looming in less than three weeks, a number of Tokyo hopefuls have opted to pass on Gstaad, a picturesque site nestled in the Swiss Alps. But that does not include USA women Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes. They kick off American pool play action Wednesday at 7 a.m. (all times Eastern.) against Switzerland’s Esmee Bobner and Zoe Verge-Depre. Emily Day and Sara Hughes follow at 8 a.m. against Brazil’s Talita Antunes and Maria Antonelli.

Two more USA squads play at 9, when Allie Wheeler and Corinne Quiggle face Anouk Verge-Depre and Joana Heidrich of Switzerland, and Emily Stockman and Kelley Kolinske play Chantal Laboureur and Cinja Tillman of Germany.

A match of interest follows for NCAA beach volleyball fans, with USC’s Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka of Latvia against UCLA and Canadian products Megan and Nicole McNamara at 10.

The USA contingent is led by Claes and Sponcil, perhaps the hottest team on the globe after a pair of four-star gold medals in Ostrava and Sochi. They are currently riding a 12-match win streak. Three other women’s teams are in the main draw: Kolinske and Stockman, Hughes and Day, and Quiggle and Wheeler.

Quiggle and Wheeler already have four wins in Gstaad, with a pair of country-quota wins over Delaney Knudsen and Brooke Sweat 21-19, 21-13 and Terese Cannon and Kelly Reeves 19-21, 21-19, 15-11, then qualifying with wins over Alina Dormann and Amanda Harnett (Canada) 21-14, 16-21, 15-6 and Maria Carro and Paula Soria (Spain) 17-21, 21-15, 15-9.

FIVB Gstaad 7/6/2021-Theo Brunner
Theo Brunner serves in the Gstaad rain/FIVB photo

Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb and Chaim Schalk and Theo Brunner represent the USA men. Schalk and Brunner defeated Sean Faiga and Netanel Ohana (Israel) 21-17, 18-21, 15-11 to make their third main draw of the year.

USA men Chase Budinger and Casey Patterson and Miles Evans and Billy Kolinske were eliminated in qualification after winning their first round. Budinger and Patterson defeated Mikolaj Miszczuk and Jakub Szalankiewicz (Poland) 21-19, 17-21, 15-12, but lost to Robin Seidl and Philipp Waller (Austria) 21-8, 21-17. Evans and Kolinske beat Jonathan Jordan and Immanuel Zurcher (Switzerland) 28-26, 21-19 before losing to Aliaksandr Dziadkou and Pavel Piatrushka (Belarus) 21-17, 19-21, 15-13.

Absent American Olympic teams include April Ross and Alix Klineman, Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, and Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb, who will prepare for Tokyo.

The other teams — there are eight per gender — joining the main draw are Carolina Salgado and Barbara Seixas (Brazil), Lexana Placette and Alexia Richard (France), Vasiliki Arvaniti and Penny Karagkouni (Greece), Kim Behrens and Sandra Ittlinger (Germany), Niina Ahtiainen and Riikka Lehtonen (Finland), Daniela Alvarez and Angela Lobato (Spain), and Raisa Schoon and Katja Stam (Netherlands).

For the men, Seidl and Waller (Austria), Nikita Liamin and Taras Myskiv (Russia), Kristoffer Abell and Nicolai Hovmann (Denmark), Mathias Berntsen and Hendrik Mol (Norway), Dziadkou and Piatrushka (Belarus), and Alexander Walkenhorst and Sven Winter (Germany) are the eight qualifiers joining Wednesday’s main draw play. Results follow courtesy of

Country Quota
Kim Behrens/Sandra Ittlinger Germany (22, Q3) def. Svenja Muller/Sarah Schneider Germany 20-22, 22-20, 21-19 (1:02)
Corinne Quiggle/Allie Wheeler USA (32, Q13) def. Terese Cannon/Kelly Reeves USA 19-21, 21-19, 15-11 (0:47)
Corinne Quiggle/Allie Wheeler USA (32, Q13) def. Delaney Knudsen/Brooke Sweat USA 21-19, 21-13 (0:30)
Qualifier Bracket
Round 1
Laura Caluori/Anna Lutz Switzerland (Q17) def. Leandra Savonije/Angjeny Tolentino Netherlands Antilles (Q16) 21-18, 21-12 (0:35)
Lezana Placette/Alexia Richard France (31, Q9) def. Menia Bentele/Shana Zobrist Switzerland (Q24) 19-21, 21-14, 15-9 (0:44)
Valentyna Davidova/Diana Lunina Ukraine (Q8) def. Marion Bernard/Maeva Guignan France (Q25) 21-12, 24-22 (0:36)
Inna Makhno/Iryna Makhno Ukraine (Q12) def. Mara Betschart/Melina Hubscher Switzerland (Q21) 23-21, 21-18 (0:36)
Corinne Quiggle/Allie Wheeler USA (32, Q13) def. Alina Dormann/Amanda Harnett Canada (Q20) 21-14, 16-21, 15-6 (0:41)
Emi van Driel/Mexime van Driel Netherlands (Q14) def. Daria Gusarova/Erika Nystrom Cyprus (Q19) 21-19, 21-17 (0:36)
Sunniva Helland-Hansen/Ane Tveit Hjortland Norway (Q11) def. Marta Ozolina/Luize Skrastina Latvia (Q22) 21-17, 21-18 (0:34)
Ingrid Lunde/Emilie Olimstad Norway (Q10) def. Jasmine Fiechter/Kim Huber Switzerland (Q23) 21-11, 21-13 (0:30)
Margherita Bianchin/Claudia Scampoli Italy (Q15) def. Francesca Kirwan/Olivia MacDonald New Zealand (Q18) 24-22, 21-17 (0:35)
Round 2
Carolina Salgado/Barbara Seixas Brazil (13, Q1) def. Laura Caluori/Anna Lutz Switzerland (Q17) 21-13, 21-11 (0:32)
Lezana Placette/Alexia Richard France (31, Q9) def. Valentyna Davidova/Diana Lunina Ukraine (Q8) 21-19, 21-18 (0:38)
Vasiliki Arvaniti/Penny Karagkouni Greece (26, Q5) def. Inna Makhno/Iryna Makhno Ukraine (Q12) 21-17, 21-16 (0:31)
Corinne Quiggle/Allie Wheeler USA (32, Q13) def. Maria Carro/Paula Soria Spain (Q4) 17-21, 21-15, 15-9 (0:45)
Kim Behrens/Sandra Ittlinger Germany (22, Q3) def. Emi van Driel/Mexime van Driel Netherlands (Q14) 21-19, 21-19 (0:38)
Niina Ahtiainen/Riikka Lehtonen Finland (27, Q6) def. Sunniva Helland-Hansen/Ane Tveit Hjortland Norway (Q11) 21-18, 18-21, 15-10 (0:47)
Daniela Alvarez/Angela Lobato Spain (28, Q7) def. Ingrid Lunde/Emilie Olimstad Norway (Q10) 19-21, 21-16, 15-10 (0:51)
Raisa Schoon/Katja Stam Netherlands (21, Q2) def. Margherita Bianchin/Claudia Scampoli Italy (Q15) 21-17, 21-13 (0:30)
Country Quota
Philipp Bergmann/Yannick Harms Germany (Q12) def. Lukas Pfretzschner/Robin Sowa Germany 14-21, 21-12, 15-9 (0:58)
Nikita Liamin/Taras Myskiv Russia (Q8) def. Anton Kislytsyn/Daniil Kuvichka Russia 21-18, 21-16 (0:36)
Qualifier Bracket
Round 1
Chase Budinger/Casey Patterson USA (Q16) def. Mikolaj Miszczuk/Jakub Szalankiewicz Poland (Q17) 21-19, 17-21, 15-12 (0:51)
Ben O’Dea/Sam O’Dea New Zealand (Q9) def. Nathan Broch/Flavio Sutterlin Switzerland (Q24) 21-9, 21-13 (0:29)
Nikita Liamin/Taras Myskiv Russia (Q8) def. Leo Dillier/Simon Hagenbuch Switzerland (Q25) 21-15, 21-18 (0:34)
Sean Faiga/Netanel Ohana Israel (Q21) def. Philipp Bergmann/Yannick Harms Germany (Q12) 13-21, 21-12, 20-18 (0:54)
Kristoffer Abell/Nicolai Hovmann Denmark (Q20) def. Alejandro Huerta/Cesar Menendez Spain (Q13) 16-21, 21-17, 15-11 (0:44)
Samuele Cottafava/Jakob Windisch Italy (Q14) def. Nils Ringoen/Svein Solhaug Norway (Q19) 18-21, 21-16, 15-8 (0:44)
Mathias Berntsen/Hendrik Mol Norway (Q11) def. Ross McKelvie/Callum Stewart Scotland (Q22) 21-13, 21-13 (0:31)
Miles Evans/Billy Kolinske USA (Q10) def. Jonathan Jordan/Immanuel Zurcher Switzerland (Q23) 28-26, 21-19 (0:44)
Julian Horl/Moritz Kindl Austria (Q18) def. Olivier Barthelemy/Youssef Krou France (Q15) 18-21, 21-17, 15-11 (0:49)
Round 2
Robin Seidl/Philipp Waller Austria (Q1) def. Chase Budinger/Casey Patterson USA (Q16) 21-8, 21-17 (0:31)
Nikita Liamin/Taras Myskiv Russia (Q8) def. Ben O’Dea/Sam O’Dea New Zealand (Q9) 21-14, 21-11 (0:30)
Theo Brunner/Chaim Schalk USA (Q5) def. Sean Faiga/Netanel Ohana Israel (Q21) 21-17, 18-21, 15-11 (0:44)
Kristoffer Abell/Nicolai Hovmann Denmark (Q20) vs. Ruslan Bykanov/Alexander Likholetov Russia (Q4)
Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst Austria (Q3) def. Samuele Cottafava/Jakob Windisch Italy (Q14) 18-21, 22-20, 15-12 (0:46)
Mathias Berntsen/Hendrik Mol Norway (Q11) def. Dries Koekelkoren/Tom van Walle Belgium (Q6) 23-21, 21-18 (0:40)
Aliaksandr Dziadkou/Pavel Piatrushka Belarus (Q7) def. Miles Evans/Billy Kolinske USA (Q10) 21-17, 19-21, 15-13 (1:13)
Alexander Walkenhorst/Sven Winter Germany (Q2) def. Julian Horl/Moritz Kindl Austria (Q18) by Forfeit


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