Success at the World Championships last week appears to be a curse at the FIVB four-star this week in Gstaad, Switzerland.
On Thursday, with the women finishing up pool play and the men making it through one round of elimination, Worlds silver-medalists April Ross and Alix Klineman got swept by the No. 19 seed Elsa Baquerizo and Liliana Fernandez of Spain, fourth-place World Champs finishers Trevor Crabb and Tri Bourne failed to break pool, and men’s gold medalists Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy of Russia got knocked out in the first round of the elimination bracket by Saymon Barbosa and Gustavo “Guto” Carvalhaes of Brazil.
Start with Klineman and Ross.
The Spanish duo got past the No. 3-seeded Americans 21-15, 21-11 to win Pool C. Klineman and Ross finished pool play with a 1-1 record, good for second and a spot in the elimination bracket, where they’ll face No. 22-seeded Ekaterina Birlova and Evgeniya Ukolova of Russia in the first round on Friday.
“We played very well,” Liliana said. “We played [Klineman and Ross] here a year ago today and they defeated us in pool play. So, yes it was some revenge. But that was not on our mind. We just wanted to play good for the second straight day and we did.”
Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman took second place in Pool F with a 1-1 record to advance to the elimination rounds, despite losing to Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa of Brazil 23-21, 21-18 in a pool-play match on Thursday.
Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat continued their Gstaad win streak, defeating Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka of Latvia 21-19, 21-12 to finish first in Pool G with a 2-0 record. The seventh-seeded Americans earned a bye into the second round of elimination action and will play the winner of Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth Italy versus Talita Antunes and Taiana Lima of Brazil on Friday.
Just four days after celebrating their biggest payday of the year, both in dollars and points, Crabb and Bourne took 25th, their lowest finish of the season. The pair lost their first pool play match on Wednesday and then their Gstaad run ended on Thursday with a loss to Grant O’Gorman and Ben Saxton of Canada (21-23, 26-24, 15-8).
Casey Patterson and Chase Budinger also failed to break pool, losing to Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs of Latvia 25-23, 21-14 for their second loss of pool play.
Two American men’s teams remain in the hunt for a cowbell, however. Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb finished third in their pool but were one of the lucky losers to make the elimination bracket, where they avenged Trevor Crabb and Bourne’s loss to O’Gorman and Saxton.
As their reward, Gibb and Taylor Crabb play reigning World Championships bronze medalists and 2018 Gstaad champions Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway in the second round on Friday.
Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena earned a bye into the second round of elimination after winning their pool. They had Thursday off to rest and will face Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen and Netherlands, who advanced with a win over Brazil’s Loyola and Wanderley, on Friday.