The dust had barely settled in Hamburg after the FIVB World Beach Championships as attention turned to the Swiss Alps, where country-quota matches were played Monday and qualification was completed Tuesday in Gstaad, Switzerland.
With the cancelation last February of the FIVB Fort Lauderdale, the FIVB Gstaad is one of only two five-star events this year, — the next is in Vienna July 30-August 4.
Eight men’s and eight women’s teams advanced to Wednesday’s main draw, including Americans Casey Patterson and Chase Budinger, who defeated both Italy’s Marco Caminati and Alex Ranghieri (27-25, 22-20) and Germany’s Philipp Bergmann and Yannick Harms (21-14, 16-21, 15-11).
The other qualifiers are Russia’s Nikita Liamin and Taras Myskiv, Canada’s Grant O’Gorman and Ben Saxton, Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins, Brazil’s Saymon Barbosa and Gustavo Carvalhaes, China’s Pen Gao and Yang Li and Latvia’s Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs.
Wednesday’s pool play features three other American men’s teams, Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb, Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb, and Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena.
The only American women’s team in the qualifier, top-seeded Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil, lost to Russia’s Ksenia Dabizha and Daria Rudykh (21-18, 26-24).
On Monday, Claes and Sponcil defeated Betsi Flint and Emily Day in a country quota match (17-21, 24-22, 15-11). Flint and Day had previously beaten Sara Hughes and Summer Ross in the first USA CQ match (17-21, 24-22, 15-11).
Joining Claes and Sponcil in pool play are fellow Americans Alix Klineman and April Ross, Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman, and Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat.
The other women’s qualifiers are Dabizha and Rudyk, Germany’s Victoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider, Brazil’s Talita Antunes and Taiana Lima, Latvia’s Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka, Russia’s Ekaterina Birlova and Evgeniya Ukolova, China’s Xinxin Wang and Chen Xue, Germany’s Margareta Kozuch and Laura Ludwig, and Brazil’s Maria Antonelli and Carolina Salgado.
Click here for BVBinfo.com’s full men’s report, including results and schedule, and here for the women’s results and schedule.