FIVB Porec: Three American men’s pairs remain in tournament

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Switzerland's Nina Betschart stretches for the ball in a 21-19, 22-20 win over the USA's Sara Hughes and Kelly Claes/FIVB photo

Three American pairs are still alive in FIVB Porec, but they’re all men, including Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, who won a set Friday by a 37-35 score.

The USA women were denied a semifinal berth at the five-star event in Croatia. Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes finished fifth after being edged by Nina Betschart and Tanja Hüberli of Switzerland in the quarterfinals 21-19, 22-20. Earlier Claes and Hughes won their round-of-16 match over Brazilians Taiana Lima and Elize Maia 21-19, 21-16.

The USA’s Kelly Claes focuses on the set. The young Americans finished fifth in Porec, their best finish in a five-star event/FIVB photo

“We had such a great experience this tournament,” Hughes said. “It was our first-ever pool play win and our best finish in a five-star tournament. We took fifth place but we’re always looking to improve. We definitely want to medal our first season out on the FIVB together.”

The USA’s Lauren Fendrick and Lane Carico finished ninth after losing to Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes 21-12, 21-15.

Brazil, Canada, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic all landed representatives in Saturday’s semifinals as Brazil’s Barbara Seixas and Fernanda Alves will face Pavan and Humana-Paredes at 4:20 p.m. Saturday (10:20 a.m. Eastern), followed by Betschart and Huberli versus the Czech Republic’s Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova.

Betschart and Hüberli has faced Hermannova and Slukova twice previously, first at Fort Lauderdale, where Hermannova and Slukova triumphed 21-19, 24-22. In Klagenfurt last year, Hermannova and Slukova retired due to injury after nine minutes.

Seixas and Alves and Pavan and Humana-Paredes have never met.

Seixas and Alves defeated countrywomen Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes 22-20, 18-21, 15-12 to reach their third semifinals of the year after a first in Xiamen and a fourth in Rio.

Pavan and Humana-Paredes advanced past Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich and Anouk Vergé-Depre 24-26, 21-15, 20-18. The Canadians have reached medal rounds twice previously this year, finishing second in Rio and fourth in the Hague.

Betschart and Hüberli’s  defeat of Claes and Hughes earn them their first semifinal appearance of 2017, although the duo finished third in Klagenfurt last year.

Hermannova and Slukova found themselves in the semifinals after a 15-12, 21-12, 15-10 win over compatriots Kristyna Kolocova and Michala Kvapilova. This is their second medal-round appearance of 2017, following their third-place finish at FIVB Rio.

Nick Lucena makes a dig in Friday elimination play/FIVB photo

The men’s draw completed pool play Friday and finished round-of-32 elimination play. Americans Theo Brunner, Brazilians Evandro Gonςalves and Andre Loyola and Pedro Solberg and Gustavo Carvalhaes, Austrians Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst,  Dutch Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen, Canadians Sam Pedlow and Sam Schachter, Italians Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo, and Spaniards Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira won their respective pools to earn coveted byes and advance to the second round of elimination playoffs.

Joining them are Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena and Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb of the USA, Mathias Berntsen and Anders Mol of Norway, Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Artem Yarzutkin of Russia, Maciej Rudol and Jakub Szalankiewicz of Poland,  Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins of Latvia, Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil, and Lombardo Ontiveros and Juan Virgen of Mexico, who won their first-round matches to advance to Saturday’s playoffs.

Normally reserved Phil Dalhausser and partner Nick Lucena are excited after closing a 37-35 win against Chileans Marco and Esteban Grimalt/FIVB photo

Dalhausser and Lucena overcame the troublesome Chilean team of Marco and Esteban Grimalt, winning 21-11, 37-35.

Taylor Crabb and Gibb defeated the tough Polish team of Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak 21-17, 19-21, 15-13.

Saturday’s men’s winners bracket
Match 57: Clemens Doppler / Alexander Horst Austria (18) vs. Mathias Berntsen / Anders Mol Norway (27, Q13)
Match 58: Pedro Solberg / Gustavo “Guto” Carvalhaes Brazil (9, Q1) vs. Phil Dalhausser / Nick Lucena United States (3)
Match 59: Alexander Brouwer / Robert Meeuwsen Netherlands (11) vs. Oleg Stoyanovskiy / Artem Yarzutkin Russia (15)
Match 60: Evandro Goncalves / Andre Loyola Brazil (4) vs. Maciej Rudol / Jakub Szalankiewicz Poland (25, Q11)
Match 61: Sam Pedlow / Sam Schachter Canada (19) vs. Taylor Crabb / Jake Gibb United States (17)
Match 62: Paolo Nicolai / Daniele Lupo Italy (12) vs. Aleksandrs Samoilovs / Janis Smedins Latvia (2)
Match 63: Pablo Herrera / Adrian Gavira Spain (10) vs. Alison Cerutti / Bruno Oscar Schmidt Brazil (5)
Match 64: Theo Brunner / Casey Patterson United States (16) vs. Lombardo Ontiveros / Juan Virgen Mexico (20)
Friday’s winners-bracket results
Match 49: Mathias Berntsen / Anders Mol Norway (27, Q13) def. Michal Bryl / Grzegorz Fijalek Poland (13) 15-21, 21-18, 15-12 (0:49)
Match 50: Phil Dalhausser / Nick Lucena United States (3) def. Esteban Grimalt / Marco Grimalt Chile (21) 21-11, 37-35 (0:50)
Match 51: Oleg Stoyanovskiy / Artem Yarzutkin Russia (15) def. Viacheslav Krasilnikov / Nikita Liamin Russia (7) 21-17, 21-13 (0:32)
Match 52: Maciej Rudol / Jakub Szalankiewicz Poland (25, Q11) def. Saymon Barbosa / Alvaro Filho Brazil (1) 22-20, 21-19 (0:40)
Match 53: Taylor Crabb / Jake Gibb United States (17) def. Piotr Kantor / Bartosz Losiak Poland (6) 21-17, 19-21, 15-13 (0:50)
Match 54: Aleksandrs Samoilovs / Janis Smedins Latvia (2) def. Lorenz Schumann / Julius Thole Germany (26, Q12) 21-15, 21-12 (0:31)
Match 55: Alison Cerutti / Bruno Oscar Schmidt Brazil (5) def. Robin Seidl / Tobias Winter Austria (30, Q19) 21-10, 21-14 (0:29)
Match 56: Lombardo Ontiveros / Juan Virgen Mexico (20) def. Christopher McHugh / Damien Schumann Australia (24, Q10) 17-21, 21-18, 20-18 (0:52)
Saturday’s women’s semifinals
Barbara Seixas / Fernanda Alves Brazil (7) vs. Sarah Pavan / Melissa Humana-Paredes Canada (6)
Nina Betschart / Tanja Huberli Switzerland (9) vs. Barbora Hermannova / Marketa Slukova Czech Republic (5)
Friday’s winners-bracket results
Round 2
Match 57: Larissa Franca / Talita Antunes Brazil (1) def. Louise Bawden / Taliqua Clancy Australia (10) 21-11, 21-16 (0:30)
Match 58: Barbara Seixas / Fernanda Alves Brazil (7) def. Chantal Laboureur / Julia Sude Germany (2) 22-20, 24-26, 15-12 (1:00)
Match 59: Sarah Pavan / Melissa Humana-Paredes Canada (6) def. Lauren Fendrick / Lane Carico United States (19) 21-12, 21-15 (0:31)
Match 60: Joana Heidrich / Anouk Verge-Depre Switzerland (12) def. Brandie Wilkerson / Heather Bansley Canada (13) 24-22, 21-15 (0:43)
Match 61: Kelly Claes / Sara Hughes United States (14) def. Taiana Lima / Elize Maia Brazil (22, Q2) 21-19, 21-16 (0:34)
Match 62: Nina Betschart / Tanja Huberli Switzerland (9) def. Victoria Bieneck / Isabel Schneider Germany (17) 18-21, 22-20, 17-15 (1:00)
Match 63: Barbora Hermannova / Marketa Slukova Czech Republic (5) def. Riikka Lehtonen / Taru Lahti Finland (15) 21-18, 21-19 (0:39)
Match 64: Kristyna Kolocova / Michala Kvapilova Czech Republic (18) def. Laura Ludwig / Margareta Kozuch Germany (16) 21-14, 21-15 (0:33)
Round 3
Match 65: Barbara Seixas / Fernanda Alves Brazil (7) def. Larissa Franca / Talita Antunes Brazil (1) 22-20, 18-21, 15-12 (0:48)
Match 66: Sarah Pavan / Melissa Humana-Paredes Canada (6) def. Joana Heidrich / Anouk Verge-Depre Switzerland (12) 24-26, 21-15, 20-18 (0:58)
Match 67: Nina Betschart / Tanja Huberli Switzerland (9) def. Kelly Claes / Sara Hughes United States (14) 21-19, 22-20 (0:35)
Match 68: Barbora Hermannova / Marketa Slukova Czech Republic (5) def. Kristyna Kolocova / Michala Kvapilova Czech Republic (18) 15-21, 21-12, 15-10 (0:42)

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