Seven of the nine USA teams earned playoff berths Wednesday at the FIVB five-star event in Gstaad, Switzerland.
Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb sewed up a bye in elimination playoffs, while Chase Budinger and Sean Rosenthal, Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, Nicole Branagh and Kerri Walsh Jennings, Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman, Sara Hughes and Summer Ross, and Alix Klineman and April Ross guaranteed themselves at least a first-round berth in playoffs.
Theo Brunner and John Hyden and Emily Day and Lauren Fendrick will need to win their last pool-play match Thursday to make playoffs.
Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb, seeded 21st, defeated two of the most highly regarded teams in the world, Olympic silver medalists and 12th-seeded Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai of Italy (15-21, 21-17, 15-12) and then fifth-seeded fellow Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena (22-24, 21-17, 15-13).
No. 32 Budinger and Rosenthal upset top-seeded Vitor Felipe and Evandro Goncalves of Brazil (21-19, 22-20), but were unable to follow through, losing to No. 17 Michal Bryl and Grzegorz Fijalek of Poland (21-16, 21-18).
No. 14 Brunner and Hyden fell to No. 19 Jasper Bouter and Christiaan Varenhorst of the Netherlands in a tough three-setter (16-12, 23-21, 15-10). Thursday they will face No. 30 Gabriel Kissling and Michiel Zandbergen of Switzerland at 3 a.m. Eastern with a playoff berth at stake.
No. 14 Day and Fendrick lost to No. 30 Miki Ishii and Megumi Murakami of Japan (23-25, 21-19, 15-12). That sets up a match against No. 30 Megumi Murakami and Miki Ishii of Japan at 6 a.m. Eastern, with the winner earning a playoff berth.
No. 21 Branagh and Walsh Jennings defeated No. 12 Karla Borger and Margareta Kozuch of Germany (24-22, 21-19). Their Thursday opponents will be a tough fifth seed in Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic at 8 a.m. Eastern, with the winner earning a first-round elimination bye.
No. 26 Larsen and Stockman defeated No. 7 Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude of Germany (21-19, 21-19).
Also in pool G, No. 10 Hughes and Ross defeated No. 23 Katarzyna Kociolek and Kinga Kolosinskka of Poland (21-19, 23-21). That sets up a match against compatriots Larson and Stockman at 2 a.m. Eastern, with the winner earning a bye.
No. 9 Klineman and Ross defeated No. 24 Elsa Baquerizo and Liliana Fernandez of Spain (20-22, 23-21, 15-7). Tomorrow Klineman and Ross will face No. 8 Joana Heidrich and Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland at 1 p.m. Eastern, with the winner receiving a bye.
Matches are archived and can be seen on the FIVB’s Youtube channel.