Claes and Sponcil, the No. 14 seeds who earlier swept both their pool-play matches, on Friday opened with a 21-15, 21-18 win over 12th-seeded Americans Emily Stockman and Kelley Kolinske. Stockman and Kolinske, fourth in the USA Olympic race, earlier Friday knocked out fourth-seeded Brazilians Taiana Lima and Talita Antunes 21-18, 21-16.
That set up an All-American quarterfinal match in which Claes and Sponcil dominated in the third set and beat Ross and Klineman 21-18, 19-21, 15-7.
What does it mean? VolleyballMag.com’s Tom Feuer, who wrote extensively about the Olympic race last week, explained:
By making the semifinals, Claes and Sponcil have positioned themselves well to get the USA’s second Olympic berth. Worst-case scenario is that a fourth puts them 80 points behind Walsh Jennings and Sweat with one tournament remaining. A bronze-medal finish in Sochi would even things up, although Walsh Jennings and Sweat own the tiebreaker by virtue of playing in more Olympic qualifying tournaments.
A silver or gold by Claes and Sponcil would vault them over KWJ and Sweat. Walsh Jennings and Sweat would need to finish fourth or better in Ostrava (the final FIVB World Tour four-star Olympic qualifier in the Czech Republic) next week to put them back in position to retake second.
Kholomina and Makroguzova advanced by beating third-seeded Brazilians Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Lisboa 21-19, 21-19.
The other women’s semifinal pits 10th-seeded Latvians Anastasjia Kravcenoka and Tina Graudina, the USC star and NCAA champion, against 15th-seeded Nina Betschart and Tanja Huberli of Switzerland.
Dalhausser and Lucena, seeded No. 12, knocked out 19th-seeded Chileans Marco Grimalt and Esteban Grimalt 21-12, 26-24. They previously beat Carambula and Rossi in the April Cancun Hub 21-19, 21-15.
Bourne and Crabb, the 16th seeds, beat 15th-seeded Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands 21-17, 21-18. They were eliminated in Cancun by Semenov and Leshukov 21-16, 21-17.
Sixth-seeded Gibb and Crabb lost to fourth-seeded Cherif Samba and Ahmed Tijan of Qatar 21-19, 25-23.
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