FIVB Rio: Debut of modified pool play, but few surprises Thursday

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Top-seeded Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil won both matches Thursday, earning a bye in the knockout round/FIVB photo

Main-draw action begins Friday at the FIVB four-star event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and with it, a new modified pool-play structure.

And you’d best pay attention:

Instead of the more typical six match, round-robin pool play structure, where each team plays three times, pool-play winners and losers are determined in four matches, two per team: No. 1 versus No. 4, No. 2 versus No. 3, the winner of No. 1 versus No. 4 plays the winner of No. 2 versus No. 3, and the loser of No. 1 versus No. 4 plays the loser of No. 2 versus No. 3.

The winners of the winners earn a bye into the second round of single-elimination playoffs, the loser of the loser’s match will not advance, and the loser of the winner’s match and the winner of the loser’s match will advance to the first round of elimination playoffs.

By reducing the number of matches in pool play (compared to a five-star event), the FIVB and promoters are able to reduce the number of games by 16 in order to reduce operational costs.

On the other hand, modified pool play gives teams fewer chances to show their quality and break pool. Nevertheless, a remarkable 13 out of 16 top seeds finished at the top of their pools, as only No. 3 Evandro Goncalves and Andre Loyola of Brazil, No. 6 Bartosz Losiak and Piotr Kantor of Poland,  and No. 8 Ben Saxton and Chaim Schalk of Canada failed to top their pools. Goncalves and Loyola must win against No. 14 Michal Bryl and Grzegorz Fijalek of Poland Friday to advance. Kantor and Losiak will face No. 22 Markus Bockermann and Lars Fluggen of Germany, and Saxton and Schalk must win against No. 24 Maciej Rudol and Jakub Szalankiewicz of Poland.

Top seed Larissa Franca of Brazil is widely regarded as the best setter in the game/FIVB photo

Women’s pool play

Top-seeded Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes of Brazil earned a bye with wins Thursday over Miki Ishii and Megumi Murakami of Japan (21-7, 21-14) and Lane Carico and Lauren Fendrick of the USA (21-16, 21-12). Carico and Fendrick advance to the playoffs by virtue of their 18-21, 21-18, 16-14 win over Elsa Baquerizo and Angela Lobato of Spain, while Ishii and Murakami and Baquerizo and Lobato will battle Friday.

Olympic gold-medalists Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany also earned a first-round-bye via narrow wins over USC product Alex Jupiter and Ophelie Lusson of France (22-20, 21-19) and Juliana Felisberta and Carolina Salgado of Brazil (14-21, 21-19, 21-18). Felisberta and Salgado advance to the playoffs, along with the winner of tomorrow’s match between Anouk Verge-Depre and Joana Heidrich versus Lusson and Jupiter.

Pool C top seed Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude of Germany earnest a respite from the first-round playoffs with straight set wins over Lena Plesiutschnig and Teresa Strauss of Austria (25-23, 21-11) and Josemari Alves and Liliane Maestrini of Brazil (21-10, 21-14). Alves and Maestrini advance, while Plesiutschnig and Strauss will battle the Ukraine’s Valentyna Davidova and Ievgenia Shchypkova to stay in the tournament.

Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Duda of Brazil upheld the top seed in Pool D, with wins over Manon Flier and Marleen van Iersel of the Netherlands (21-15, 21-16) and Victoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider of Germany (21-19, 19-21, 15-10)

Pool E’s Barbara Seixas and Fernanda Alves justified their wild card with wins over Americans Emily Day and Brittany Hochevar (21-12, 21-18) and Evgenia Ukolova and Anastasia Barsuk of Russia (21-15, 21-19). Ukolova and Barsuk advance to playoffs, while Day Hochevar will face Marleen Meppelink and Sophie van Gestel of the Netherlands Friday to stay in.

Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes dropped a match to Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes of Canada and must win tomorrow to advance to the knock-out round/FIVB photo

Canada’s Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes have a first-round-bye via defeats of Americans Sara Hughes and Kelly Claes (21-12, 25-23) and Australians Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy (21-11, 19-21, 16-14). Bawden and Clancy advance to the first round of playoffs, while Americans Claes/Hughes will face Poland’s Kinga Kolosinska and Jagoda Gruszynska at 5:50 Friday to get into elimination playoffs.

Pool G’s top seeds Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic  defeated both Joy Stubbe and Jolien Sinnema of the Netherlands (21-18, 21-19) and Marta Menegatti and Rebecca Perry of Italy (21-11, 22-20) to earn the pool’s bye into Friday playoffs. Menegatti and Perry will advance to playoffs, while Sinnema and Stubbe will face Argentinians Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug to stay alive.

Brazil’s Elize Maia and Taiana Lima held court in Pool H to earn their bye with wins over Julia Grossner and Nadja Glenzke of Germany (21-15, 21-13) and Tanja Huberli and Nina Betschart of Switzerland (12-21, 21-17, 15-10).

Men’s pool play 

Top-seeded Alvaro Filho and Saymon Barbosa of Brazil earned their pool’s bye with wins over Youssef Krou and Quincy Aye of France (21-18, 18-21, 15-12) and Americans Ryan Doherty and John Hyden (21-13, 21-13). Doherty/Hyden advance to the first round of their playoffs with their 21-19, 19-21, 15-12 win over Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Artem Yarzutkin of Russia, who will play Krou and Aye Friday to advance to playoffs.

Former Floridian Adrian Carambula and Italian teammate Alex Ranghieri advanced past Juan Virgen and Lombardo Ontiveros of Mexico in a straight set 21-16, 21-15 victory, but were swept by Olympic gold medalists Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil. Cerutti and Schmidt have earned a first-round bye while Carambula and Ranghieri will play in the first round. Virgen and Ontiveros will meet Sean Faiga and Ariel Hilman of Israel to stay in the tournament.

Austrians Alexander Huber and Julian Horl celebrate the biggest upset in Thursday pool play/FIVB photo

In Pool C, Brazil’s Evandro Goncalves and Andre Loyola were upset by Austrian qualifiers Julian Horl and Alexander Huber 21-14, 21-15. Horl and Huber subsequently lost to countrymen Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst 21-11, 21-17, while Goncalves and Loyola will battle to get into playoffs against Grzegorz Fijalek and Michal Bryl of Poland.

Americans Theo Brunner and Casey Patterson started off with a straight set win over Canadians Michael Plantinga and Grant O’Gorman 24-22, 21-15. Brunner and Patterson subsequently  lost a tight three set battle to bronze medalists Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands, 21-18, 14-21, 15-13. Brouwer and Meeuwsen earned the first round bye, while Brunner/Patterson are in the elimination playoffs. Plantinga and O’Gorman face Brandao Oscar and Moreira Hevaldo for the right to advance.

Pool E’s Pedro Solberg and Gustavo Carvalhaes of Brazil earned their bye handily with wins over Robin Seidl and Tobias Winter of Austria (21-17, 21-17) and Mariusz Prudel and Kacper Kujawiak (21-14, 21-14). Prudel and Kujawiak will enter playoffs after their 16-21, 21-19, 15-13 win over Canada’s Sam Pedlow and Sam Schachter, who will face Seidl and Winter to survive.

Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb of the USA have earned a bye with a 21-17, 21-14 win over Germany’s Markus Bockermann and Lars Fluggen and a 21-18, 21-14 win over the Netherlands’ Christiaan Varenhorst and Maarten Van Garderen. Varenhorst and Van Garderen advance to the playoffs with their 12-21, 27-25, 15-11 win over Bartosz Losiak and Piotr Kantor of Poland, who will play Bockermann and Fluggen.

Pool G’s Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavia of Spain won matches against Marco and Esteban Grimalt of Chile (21-18, 14-21, 15-12) and Nikita Liamin and Viacheslav Krasilnikov of Russia (21-13, 21-13). Krasilnikov and Liamin’s win against Sergio Gonzalez and Nivaldo Diaz of Cuba puts them into playoffs, while Gonzalez and Diaz will face the Grimalt brothers Friday.

Olympic silver-medalists Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo of Italy upheld their top seeds with wins over Maciej Rudol and Jakub Szalankiewicz of Poland (21-13, 21-15) and Norway’s Christian Sorum and Mathias Berntsen (22-24, 21-16, 15-10). Sorum and Bertsen defeated Canada’s Ben Saxton and Chaim Schalk to guarantee themselves a playoff berth, while Saxton and Schalk will play Rudol and Scalankiewicz Friday in the hopes of staying alive.

Men’s qualifier bracket (Wednesday)
Round 1
Match 1: Oscar Brandao/Hevaldo Moreira Brazil (29, Q16) def. Christopher McHugh/Damien Schumann Australia (Q1) 21-19, 21-17 (0:32)
Match 2: Maarten Van Garderen/Christiaan Varenhorst Netherlands (27, Q8) def. Vitor Felipe/Fernando Magalhaes Brazil (Q9) 21-16, 21-16 (0:33)
Match 3: Sean Faiga/Ariel Hilman Israel (31, Q12) def. Christoph Dressler/Thomas Kunert Austria (Q5) 21-13, 21-19 (0:34)
Match 4: Esteban Grimalt/Marco Grimalt Chile (26, Q4) def. Romain Di Giantommaso/Maxime Thiercy France (Q13) 21-15, 21-10 (0:29)
Match 5: Mathias Berntsen/Christian Sorum Norway (25, Q3) def. Chris Gregory/Jake Sheaf England (Q14) 21-15, 21-8 (0:28)
Match 6: Julian Horl/Alexander Huber Austria (30, Q11) def. Nico Beeler/Marco Krattiger Switzerland (Q6) 21-19, 21-18 (0:32)
Match 7: Robin Seidl/Tobias Winter Austria (28, Q10) def. Armin Dollinger/Jonathan Erdmann Germany (Q7) 21-18, 21-15 (0:34)
Match 8: Maciej Rudol/Jakub Szalankiewicz Poland (24, Q2) def. Bennet Poniewaz/David Poniewaz Germany (Q15) 21-11, 15-21, 15-12 (0:48)
Pool A
Round 1

Match 1: Saymon Barbosa/Alvaro Filho Brazil (1) def. Quincy Aye/Youssef Krou France (32) 21-18, 18-21, 15-12 (0:56)
Match 2: Ryan Doherty/John Hyden United States (16) def. Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Artem Yarzutkin Russia (17) 21-19, 19-21, 15-12 (0:36)
Round 2
Match 17: Saymon Barbosa/Alvaro Filho Brazil (1) def. Ryan Doherty/John Hyden United States (16) 21-13, 21-13 (0:30)
Match 18: Quincy Aye/Youssef Krou France (32) vs. Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Artem Yarzutkin Russia (17)
Pool B
Round 1

Match 3: Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt Brazil (2) def. Sean Faiga/Ariel Hilman Israel (31, Q12) 21-17, 21-19 (0:37)
Match 4: Adrian Carambula/Alex Ranghieri Italy (18) def. Lombardo Ontiveros/Juan Virgen Mexico (15) 21-16, 21-15 (0:38)
Round 2
Match 19: Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt Brazil (2) def. Adrian Carambula/Alex Ranghieri Italy (18) 21-16, 21-18 (0:35)
Match 20: Sean Faiga/Ariel Hilman Israel (31, Q12) vs. Lombardo Ontiveros/Juan Virgen Mexico (15)
Pool C
Round 1

Match 5: Julian Horl/Alexander Huber Austria (30, Q11) def. Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola Brazil (3) 21-14, 21-15 (0:34)
Match 6: Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst Austria (19) def. Michal Bryl/Grzegorz Fijalek Poland (14) 21-13, 17-21, 15-11 (0:44)
Round 2
Match 21: Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst Austria (19) def. Julian Horl/Alexander Huber Austria (30, Q11) 21-11, 21-17 (0:30)
Match 22: Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola Brazil (3) vs. Michal Bryl/Grzegorz Fijalek Poland (14)
Pool D
Round 1

Match 7: Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen Netherlands (4) def. Oscar Brandao/Hevaldo Moreira Brazil (29, Q16) 21-13, 19-21, 15-13 (0:44)
Match 8: Theo Brunner/Casey Patterson United States (13) def. Grant O’Gorman/Michael Plantinga Canada (20) 24-22, 21-15 (0:21)
Round 2
Match 23: Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen Netherlands (4) def. Theo Brunner/Casey Patterson United States (13) 21-18, 14-21, 15-13 (0:43)
Match 24: Oscar Brandao/Hevaldo Moreira Brazil (29, Q16) vs. Grant O’Gorman/Michael Plantinga Canada (20)
Pool E
Round 1

Match 9: Gustavo “Guto” Carvalhaes/Pedro Solberg Brazil (5) def. Robin Seidl/Tobias Winter Austria (28, Q10) 21-17, 21-17 (0:35)
Match 10: Kacper Kujawiak/Mariusz Prudel Poland (21) def. Sam Pedlow/Sam Schachter Canada (12) 16-21, 21-19, 15-13 (0:47)
Round 2
Match 25: Gustavo “Guto” Carvalhaes/Pedro Solberg Brazil (5) def. Kacper Kujawiak/Mariusz Prudel Poland (21) 21-14, 21-14 (0:31)
Match 26: Robin Seidl/Tobias Winter Austria (28, Q10) vs. Sam Pedlow/Sam Schachter Canada (12)
Pool F
Round 1

Match 11: Maarten Van Garderen/Christiaan Varenhorst Netherlands (27, Q8) def. Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak Poland (6) 12-21, 27-25, 15-11 (0:48)
Match 12: Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb United States (11) def. Markus Bockermann/Lars Fluggen Germany (22) 21-17, 21-14 (0:32)
Round 2
Match 27: Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb United States (11) def. Maarten Van Garderen/Christiaan Varenhorst Netherlands (27, Q8) 21-18, 21-14 (0:32)
Match 28: Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak Poland (6) vs. Markus Bockermann/Lars Fluggen Germany (22)
Pool G
Round 1

Match 13: Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera Spain (7) def. Esteban Grimalt/Marco Grimalt Chile (26, Q4) 21-18, 14-21, 15-12 (0:46)
Match 14: Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin Russia (10) def. Nivaldo Diaz/Sergio Gonzalez Cuba (23) 17-21, 21-18, 15-7 (0:42)
Round 2
Match 29: Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera Spain (7) def. Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin Russia (10) 21-13, 21-13 (0:30)
Match 30: Nivaldo Diaz/Sergio Gonzalez Cuba (23) vs. Esteban Grimalt/Marco Grimalt Chile (26, Q4)
Pool H
Round 1

Match 15: Mathias Berntsen/Christian Sorum Norway (25, Q3) def. Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk Canada (8) 21-19, 21-19 (0:33)
Match 16: Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai Italy (9) def. Maciej Rudol/Jakub Szalankiewicz Poland (24, Q2) 21-13, 21-15 (0:29)
Round 2
Match 31: Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai Italy (9) def. Mathias Berntsen/Christian Sorum Norway (25, Q3) 22-24, 21-16, 15-10 (0:44)
Match 32: Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk Canada (8) vs. Maciej Rudol/Jakub Szalankiewicz Poland (24, Q2)     
Women’s qualifier bracket
Round 1

Match 1: Josemari Alves/Liliane Maestrini Brazil (14, Q1) def. Yulia Abalakina/Ksenia Dabizha Russia (Q16) 18-21, 21-19, 17-15 (0:49)
Match 2: Manon Nummerdor-Flier/Marleen Van Iersel Netherlands (29, Q8) def. Katharina Schutzenhofer/Stefanie Schwaiger Austria (Q9) 21-13, 21-13 (0:33)
Match 3: Jagoda Gruszczynska/Kinga Kolosinska Poland (27, Q5) def. Kim DiCello/Emily Stockman United States (Q12) 21-17, 21-15 (0:36)
Match 4: Jolien Sinnema/Joy Stubbe Netherlands (26, Q4) def. Victoria Kjolberg/Ane Tveit Hjortland Norway (Q13) 21-15, 18-21, 15-11 (0:46)
Match 5: Nadja Glenzke/Julia Grossner Germany (24, Q3) def. Nicole Eiholzer/Dunja Gerson Switzerland (Q14) 21-15, 21-17 (0:31)
Match 6: Miki Ishii/Megumi Murakami Japan (32, Q11) def. Phoebe Bell/Nicole Laird Australia (Q6) 21-15, 21-11 (0:30)
Match 7: Alexandra Jupiter/Ophelie Lusson France (31, Q10) def. Julie Gordon/Camille Saxton Canada (Q7) 21-17, 21-18 (0:35)
Match 8: Juliana Felisberta/Carolina Salgado Brazil (18, Q2) def. Pilar Mardones/Francisca Rivas Chile (Q15) 21-13, 21-11 (0:30)
Pool A
Round 1

Match 1: Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca Brazil (1) def. Miki Ishii/Megumi Murakami Japan (32, Q11) 21-7, 21-14 (0:30)
Match 2: Lane Carico/Lauren Fendrick United States (16) def. Elsa Baquerizo/Angela Lobato Spain (17) 18-21, 21-18, 16-14 (0:52)
Round 2
Match 17: Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca Brazil (1) def. Lane Carico/Lauren Fendrick United States (16) 21-16, 21-12 (0:28)
Match 18: Elsa Baquerizo/Angela Lobato Spain (17) vs. Elsa Baquerizo/Angela Lobato Spain (17)
Pool B
Round 1

Match 3: Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst Germany (2) def. Alexandra Jupiter/Ophelie Lusson France (31, Q10) 22-20, 21-19 (0:37)
Match 4: Juliana Felisberta/Carolina Salgado Brazil (18, Q2) def. Joana Heidrich/Anouk Verge-Depre Switzerland (15) 21-17, 21-18 (0:37)
Round 2
Match 19: Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst Germany (2) def. Juliana Felisberta/Carolina Salgado Brazil (18, Q2) 14-21, 21-19, 20-18 (0:52)
Match 20: Alexandra Jupiter/Ophelie Lusson France (31, Q10) vs. Joana Heidrich/Anouk Verge-Depre Switzerland (15)
Pool C
Round 1

Match 5: Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude Germany (3) def. Lena Plesiutschnig/Teresa Strauss Austria (30) 25-23, 21-11 (0:37)
Match 6: Josemari Alves/Liliane Maestrini Brazil (14, Q1) def. Valentyna Davidova/Ievgeniia Shchypkova Ukraine (19) 21-17, 21-17 (0:35)
Round 2
Match 21: Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude Germany (3) def. Josemari Alves/Liliane Maestrini Brazil (14, Q1) 21-10, 21-14 (0:29)
Match 22: Lena Plesiutschnig/Teresa Strauss Austria (30) vs. Valentyna Davidova/Ievgeniia Shchypkova Ukraine (19)
Pool D
Round 1
Match 7: Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa Brazil (4) def. Manon Nummerdor-Flier/Marleen Van Iersel Netherlands (29, Q8) 21-15, 21-16 (0:33)
Match 8: Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider Germany (20) def. Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson Canada (13) 21-17, 17-21, 15-9 (0:45)
Round 2
Match 23: Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa Brazil (4) def. Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider Germany (20) 21-19, 19-21, 15-10 (0:46)
Match 24: Manon Nummerdor-Flier/Marleen Van Iersel Netherlands (29, Q8) vs. Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson Canada (13)
Pool E
Round 1
Match 9: Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas Brazil (5) def. Emily Day/Brittany Hochevar United States (28) 21-12, 21-18 (0:40)
Match 10: Anastasia Barsuk/Evgeniya Ukolova Russia (21) def. Madelein Meppelink/Sophie van Gestel Netherlands (12) 18-21, 21-17, 15-11 (0:46)
Round 2
Match 25: Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas Brazil (5) def. Anastasia Barsuk/Evgeniya Ukolova Russia (21) 21-15, 21-19 (0:34)
Match 26: Emily Day/Brittany Hochevar United States (28) vs. Madelein Meppelink/Sophie van Gestel Netherlands (12)
Pool F
Round 1
Match 11: Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy Australia (6) def. Jagoda Gruszczynska/Kinga Kolosinska Poland (27, Q5) 19-21, 21-15, 16-14 (0:50)
Match 12: Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan Canada (11) def. Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes United States (22) 21-12, 25-23 (0:36)
Round 2
Match 27: Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan Canada (11) def. Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy Australia (6) 21-11, 19-21, 16-14 (0:42)
Match 28: Jagoda Gruszczynska/Kinga Kolosinska Poland (27, Q5) vs. Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes United States (22)
Pool G
Round 1

Match 13: Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova Czech Republic (7) def. Jolien Sinnema/Joy Stubbe Netherlands (26, Q4) 21-18, 21-19 (0:35)
Match 14: Marta Menegatti/Rebecca Perry Italy (23) def. Ana Gallay/Georgina Klug Argentina (10) 18-21, 21-17, 15-12 (0:52)
Round 2
Match 29: Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova Czech Republic (7) def. Marta Menegatti/Rebecca Perry Italy (23) 21-11, 22-20 (0:34)
Match 30: Jolien Sinnema/Joy Stubbe Netherlands (26, Q4) vs. Ana Gallay/Georgina Klug Argentina (10)
Pool H
Round 1

Match 15: Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli Switzerland (8) def. Ekaterina Birlova/Nadezda Makroguzova Russia (25) 21-17, 21-14 (0:31)
Match 16: Taiana Lima/Elize Maia Brazil (9) def. Nadja Glenzke/Julia Grossner Germany (24, Q3) 21-15, 21-13 (0:33)
Round 2
Match 31: Taiana Lima/Elize Maia Brazil (9) def. Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli Switzerland (8) 12-21, 21-17, 15-10 (0:41)
Match 32: Ekaterina Birlova/Nadezda Makroguzova Russia (25) vs. Nadja Glenzke/Julia Grossner Germany (24, Q3)     

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