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.
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.
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.
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 BVBinfo.com.