At the FIVB four-star in Rio de Janeiro on Friday, the action heated up as modified pool play concluded and the elimination rounds commenced. The 68-degree weather in Brazil was coupled with light rain, but it would take more than that to dampen the competition, especially as young Americans Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes, continued to get everyone’s attention.

Claes and Hughes, seeded 22nd, pulled the upset of the day on the women’s draw, eliminating a tough Brazilian squad in No. 9 Taiana Lima and Elize Maia 10-21, 21-18, 15-9.

The recently graduated USC pair continues to earn themselves a nice graduation present.

“It’s been really fun finally being able to compete as professionals,” Hughes said. “Kelly and I have had some tough matches but most importantly we have played for each other and we’re being aggressive every point. We are excited for what tomorrow brings.”

They play Brazilians Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa on Saturday.

Casey Patterson (passing) and partner Theo Brunner upset No. 7 seed Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera of Spain in Friday Rio action/FIVB photo

Americans Theo Brunner and Casey Patterson, the No. 13 seed, defeated No. 7 Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera of Spain 21-15, 23-21 in the second knockout round. They’ll play Dutchmen Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen on Saturday.

“We had fun hitting the cannonballs we had to play with (because it rained all day) against two really tough teams,” Brunner said. “Hoping for redemption against the Dutch tomorrow.

Also Friday, 16th-seeded Ryan Doherty and John Hyden upset No. 5 Gustavo Carvalhaes and Pedro Solberg of Brazil 21-16, 17-21, 23-21.

“That is a really tough team and the fans brought a lot of energy, but John and I were able to make some big plays down the stretch,” Doherty said. There were some great rallies late into the third that could have turned the game for either team, but we were able to win enough of those to advance to the quarterfinals.”

Pool Play: The debut of modified pool play in Rio is over. Oleg Stoyaniovskiy and Artem Yarzutkin of Russia, Sean Faiga and Ariel Hilman of Israel, Grzegorz Fijalek and Michal Bryl of Poland, Grant O’Gorman and Michael Plantinga of Canada, Tobias Winter and Robin Seidl of Austria, Markus Bockermann and Lars Fluggen of Germany, and Esteban and Marco Grimalt of Chile were eliminated with 0-2 match records.

In the women’s draw, Elsa Baquerizo and Angela Lobato of Spain, Alexandra Jupiter and Ophelie Losson of France, Lena Plesiutschnig and Teresa Strauss of Austria, Manon Nummerdor-Flier and Marleen van Iersel of the Netherlands, Brittany Hochevar and Emily Day of the United States, Kinga Kolosinska and Jagoda Gruszczynska of Poland, Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug of Argentina, and Nadja Glenzke and Julia Grossner of Germany suffered a corresponding fate.

John Hyden of the USA turns his spike down the line as the Americans upset No. 5 Guto Carvalhaes and Pedro Solberg of Brazil/FIVB photo

Knockout round 1: The first of the knockout rounds went precisely according to seed, with the higher seed winning all 16 first-round matches on both sides. 

The USA fared well in round 1, as Doherty and Hyden dispatched No. 29 Oscar Brandao and Hevaldo Moreira of Brazil 21-19, 25-23. Brunner and Patterson defeated No. 17 Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Artem Yarzutkin of Russia 22-20, 21-19. Transplanted Floridian No. 18 Adrian Carambula and Alex Ranghieri of Italy took out No. 23 Nivaldo Diaz and Sergio Gonzalez of Cuba.

Claes and Hughes defeated No. 23 Marta Menegatti and Rebecca Perry of Italy 21-17, 21-12. No. 16 Lane Carico and Lauren Fendrick were eliminated by No. 13 Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson of Canada in a tough three set match 21-18, 11-21, 17-15.

Men’s knockout round 2: The top eight seeds were back in action, most of whom received byes through the first round. Of the eight men’s matches in round 2, the higher seed won six of eight. The USA was featured prominently in both of those upsets, as Doherty and Hyden upset Carvalhaes and Solberg. In the second upset of round 2, Brunner and Patterson beat Gavira and Herrara.

The only other top-eight team to exit was the result of a remarkably unlucky draw, as No. 1 Saymon Barbosa and Alvaro Filho of Brazil defeated their countrymen and third-seeded Evandro Goncalves and Andre Loyola 21-18, 21-18. One might posit that a match of this quality this early in the tournament is the result of modified pool play, as otherwise, Goncalves and Loyola would have had another opportunity to win a second match and finish second in pool rather than third, delaying a confrontation with a top seed.

Olympic gold-medalists Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmitt of Brazil, the No. 1 seed, swept No. 21 Kacper Kujawiak and Mariusz Prudel of Poland 21-11, 21-18. Silver-medalists and No. 9-seeded Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai of Italy advanced to round 3 after dropping the first set against No. 12 Sam Pedlow and Sam Schachter of Canada 14-21, 21-14, 15-12. No. 4-seeded bronze-medalists Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands took out the fiery No. 15 Lombardo Ontiveros and Juan Virgen of Mexico 21-14, 21-18.

Round 2 USA results included No. 11 Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb defeating No. 18 Adrian Carambula and Alex Ranghieri of Italy 21-17, 25-23.

Women’s knockout round 2: Seven of the eight higher seeded teams won out in the women’s round 2. Amongst the top eight, the only two losses were the top eight cannabilizing each other, as No. 8 Nina Betschart and Tanja Huberli Switzerland were knocked out by No. 4 Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Lisboa of Brazil 21-16, 18-21, 15-12, and No. 6 Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy of Australia being swept by top seeds Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca of Brazil 21-17, 21-16. Olympic gold medalists and No. 2-seeded Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany vanquished No. 19 Valentyna Davidova and Ievgeniia Shchypkova of the Ukraine 21-13, 21-17.

Men’s winners bracket
Round 1
Match 33: Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola Brazil (3) def. Mathias Berntsen/Christian Sorum Norway (25, Q3) 21-14, 18-21, 19-17 (0:49)
Match 34: Sam Pedlow/Sam Schachter Canada (12) def. Maarten Van Garderen/Christiaan Varenhorst Netherlands (27, Q8) 15-21, 25-23, 15-11 (0:45)
Match 35: Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak Poland (6) def. Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin Russia (10) 18-21, 28-26, 15-13 (0:51)
Match 36: Ryan Doherty/John Hyden United States (16) def. Oscar Brandao/Hevaldo Moreira Brazil (29, Q16) 21-19, 25-23 (0:34)
Match 37: Lombardo Ontiveros/Juan Virgen Mexico (15) def. Julian Horl/Alexander Huber Austria (30, Q11) 21-16, 21-18 (0:34)
Match 38: Theo Brunner/Casey Patterson United States (13) def. Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Artem Yarzutkin Russia (17) 22-20, 21-19 (0:32)
Match 39: Adrian Carambula/Alex Ranghieri Italy (18) def. Nivaldo Diaz/Sergio Gonzalez Cuba (23) 21-16, 23-21 (0:37)
Match 40: Kacper Kujawiak/Mariusz Prudel Poland (21) def. Maciej Rudol/Jakub Szalankiewicz Poland (24, Q2) 21-16, 19-21, 15-13 (0:47)
Round 2
Match 41: Saymon Barbosa/Alvaro Filho Brazil (1) def. Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola Brazil (3) 21-18, 21-18 (0:39)
Match 42: Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai Italy (9) def. Sam Pedlow/Sam Schachter Canada (12) 14-21, 21-14, 15-12 (0:40)
Match 43: Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak Poland (6) def. Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst Austria (19) 21-17, 21-12 (0:30)
Match 44: Ryan Doherty/John Hyden United States (16) def. Gustavo “Guto” Carvalhaes/Pedro Solberg Brazil (5) 21-16, 17-21, 23-21 (0:51)
Match 45: Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen Netherlands (4) def. Lombardo Ontiveros/Juan Virgen Mexico (15) 21-14, 21-18 (0:32)
Match 46: Theo Brunner/Casey Patterson United States (13) def. Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera Spain (7) 21-15, 23-21 (0:36)
Match 47: Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb United States (11) def. Adrian Carambula/Alex Ranghieri Italy (18) 21-17, 25-23 (0:42)
Match 48: Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt Brazil (2) def. Kacper Kujawiak/Mariusz Prudel Poland (21) 21-11, 21-18 (0:33)
Round 3, Saturday
Match 49: Saymon Barbosa/Alvaro Filho Brazil (1) vs. Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai Italy (9)
Match 50: Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak Poland (6) vs. Ryan Doherty/John Hyden United States (16)
Match 51: Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen Netherlands (4) vs. Theo Brunner/Casey Patterson United States (13)
Match 52: Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb United States (11) vs. Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt Brazil (2)     
Women’s winners bracket
Round 1
Match 33: Valentyna Davidova/Ievgeniia Shchypkova Ukraine (19) def. Anastasia Barsuk/Evgeniya Ukolova Russia (21) 21-12, 26-24 (0:41)
Match 34: Juliana Felisberta/Carolina Salgado Brazil (18, Q2) def. Miki Ishii/Megumi Murakami Japan (32, Q11) 21-16, 16-21, 15-12 (0:47)
Match 35: Madelein Meppelink/Sophie van Gestel Netherlands (12) def. Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider Germany (20) 21-18, 21-18 (0:33)
Match 36: Josemari Alves/Liliane Maestrini Brazil (14, Q1) def. Ekaterina Birlova/Nadezda Makroguzova Russia (25) 21-15, 21-16 (0:
Match 37: Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli Switzerland (8) def. Jolien Sinnema/Joy Stubbe Netherlands (26, Q4) 21-17, 10-21, 15-6 (0:37)
Match 38: Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes United States (22) def. Marta Menegatti/Rebecca Perry Italy (23) 21-17, 21-12 (0:29)
Match 39: Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson Canada (13) def. Lane Carico/Lauren Fendrick United States (16) 21-18, 22-20 (0:38)
Match 40: Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy Australia (6) def. Joana Heidrich/Anouk Verge-Depre Switzerland (15) 21-19, 21-18 (0:33)
Round 2
Match 41: Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst Germany (2) def. Valentyna Davidova/Ievgeniia Shchypkova Ukraine (19) 21-13, 21-17 (0:29)
Match 42: Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan Canada (11) def. Juliana Felisberta/Carolina Salgado Brazil (18, Q2) 22-20, 21-13 (0:34)
Match 43: Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude Germany (3) def. Madelein Meppelink/Sophie van Gestel Netherlands (12) 25-23, 21-17 (0:37)
Match 44: Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova Czech Republic (7) def. Josemari Alves/Liliane Maestrini Brazil (14, Q1) 21-17, 21-17 (0:37)
Match 45: Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa Brazil (4) def. Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli Switzerland (8) 21-16, 18-21, 15-12 (0:50)
Match 46: Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes United States (22) def. Taiana Lima/Elize Maia Brazil (9) 10-21, 21-18, 15-9 (0:41)
Match 47: Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas Brazil (5) def. Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson Canada (13) 21-18, 11-21, 17-15 (0:53)
Match 48: Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca Brazil (1) def. Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy Australia (6) 21-17, 21-16 (0:30)
Round 3, Saturday
Match 49: Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst Germany (2) vs. Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan Canada (11)
Match 50: Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude Germany (3) vs. Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova Czech Republic (7)
Match 51: Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa Brazil (4) vs. Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes United States (22)
Match 52: Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas Brazil (5) vs. Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca Brazil (1)    



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