FIVB Sochi: Team Slaes into semifinals; Dalhausser-Lucena, Bourne-Crabb advance

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FIVB Sochi 5/28/2021-Kelly Claes
Kelly Claes playing against April Ross and Alix Klineman/FIVB photo

The USA Volleyball Olympic-berth plot thickened Friday at the four-star FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour stop in Sochi, Russia.

That’s because Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil won twice, beating fellow Americans both times, and advanced to Saturday’s semifinals.

They are the only USA women’s team remaining and will play top-seeded Russians Svetlana Kholomina and Nadezda Makroguzova and the stakes are even higher. More on that to follow. 

On the men’s side, two American teams advanced to the round of 16. Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena face Italians Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi, while Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb face Russians Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov. Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb were ousted in the first round of the winners bracket.

Back to Claes and Sponcil — Team Slaes — who are in third place in the USA Olympic race, trying to catch Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat. 

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. 

Meanwhile, sixth-seeded April Ross and Alix Klineman, who have already secured the USA’s top Olympic spot, smacked down second-seeded Canadians Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan 21-13, 21-14.  

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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FIVB Sochi 5/28/2021-Nick Lucena
Nick Lucena digs against the Chileans/FIVB photo
Results courtesy of BVBinfo.com
WOMEN
Winners bracket
Round 1
Taina Silva/Victoria Lopes Brazil (31, Q11) def. Riikka Lehtonen/Niina Ahtiainen Finland (29, Q7) 21-19, 21-18 (0:39)
Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa Brazil (3) def. Kinga Wojtasik/Katarzyna Kociolek Poland (17) 21-15, 21-12 (0:32)
Alix Klineman/April Ross USA (6) def. Sarah Pavan/Melissa Humana-Paredes Canada (2) 21-13, 21-14 (0:36)
Emily Stockman/Kelley Kolinske USA (12) def. Taiana Lima/Talita Antunes Brazil (4) 21-18, 21-16 (0:38)
Megan McNamara/Nicole McNamara Canada (26, Q3) def. Marleen Van Iersel/Pleun Ypma Netherlands (24) 18-21, 21-12, 15-8 (0:46)
Anastasija Kravcenoka/Tina Graudina Latvia (10) def. Amaranta Navarro/Angela Lobato Spain (27, Q5) 21-16, 21-19 (0:39)
Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth Italy (19) def. Katharina Schutzenhofer/Lena Plesiutschnig Austria (16) 22-20, 21-17 (0:43)
Joana Heidrich/Anouk Verge-Depre Switzerland (5) def. Liliana Fernandez/Elsa Baquerizo Spain (9) 21-16, 24-22 (0:42)
Round 2
Svetlana Kholomina/Nadezda Makroguzova Russia (1) def. Taina Silva/Victoria Lopes Brazil (31, Q11) 22-24, 21-18, 15-13 (0:51)
Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa Brazil (3) def. Barbara Seixas/Carolina Salgado Brazil (11) 21-18, 15-21, 15-11 (0:53)
Alix Klineman/April Ross USA (6) def. Margareta Kozuch/Laura Ludwig Germany (7) 22-20, 21-13 (0:36)
Kelly Claes/Sarah Sponcil USA (14) def. Emily Stockman/Kelley Kolinske USA (12) 21-15, 21-18 (0:38)
Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson Canada (20) def. Megan McNamara/Nicole McNamara Canada (26, Q3) 21-19, 19-21, 15-10 (0:55)
Anastasija Kravcenoka/Tina Graudina Latvia (10) def. Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider Germany (21) 21-17, 21-16 (0:38)
Sanne Keizer/Madelein Meppelink Netherlands (8) def. Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth Italy (19) 21-12, 21-19 (0:36)
Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli Switzerland (15) def. Joana Heidrich/Anouk Verge-Depre Switzerland (5) 21-19, 21-14 (0:35)
Round 3
Svetlana Kholomina/Nadezda Makroguzova Russia (1) vs. Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa Brazil (3)
Kelly Claes/Sarah Sponcil USA (14) def. Alix Klineman/April Ross USA (6) 21-18, 19-21, 15-7 (0:48)
Anastasija Kravcenoka/Tina Graudina Latvia (10) def. Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson Canada (20) 16-21, 21-18, 15-11 (0:51)
Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli Switzerland (15) def. Sanne Keizer/Madelein Meppelink Netherlands (8) 21-14, 21-18 (0:32)
MEN
Pool A
Round 2
Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Oleg Stoyanovskiy Russia (1) def. Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb USA (16) 21-19, 18-21, 16-14 (0:55)
Julian Azaad/Nicolas Capogrosso Argentina (32, Q11) def. Nils Ehlers/Lars Fluggen Germany (17) 21-17, 17-21, 15-9 (0:55)
Pool B
Round 2
Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak Poland (18) def. Anders Mol/Christian Sorum Norway (2) 21-16, 21-18 (0:40)
Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen Netherlands (15) def. Alexey Gusev/Pavel Shustrov Russia (31) 21-17, 21-14 (0:32)
Pool C
Round 2
Steven van de Velde/Christiaan Varenhorst Netherlands (14) def. Anton Kislytsyn/Daniil Kuvichka Russia (30, Q19) 21-14, 21-19 (0:31)
Esteban Grimalt/Marco Grimalt Chile (19) def. Julius Thole/Clemens Wickler Germany (3) by Forfeit
Pool D
Round 2
Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai Italy (13) def. Cherif Samba/Ahmed Tijan Qatar (4) 18-21, 21-17, 15-12 (0:47)
Mathias Berntsen/Hendrik Mol Norway (29, Q8) def. Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera Spain (20) 22-20, 21-12 (0:37)
Pool E
Round 2
Ondrej Perusic/David Schweiner Czech Republic (5) def. Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena USA (12) 21-16, 25-23 (0:42)
Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins Latvia (21) def. Stefan Boermans/Yorick de Groot Netherlands (28, Q7) 21-18, 21-17 (0:34)
Pool F
Round 2
Adrian Carambula/Enrico Rossi Italy (11) def. Robin Seidl/Philipp Waller Austria (27, Q5) 20-22, 21-17, 15-13 (0:49)
Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb USA (6) def. Andre Loyola/George Wanderley Brazil (22) 18-21, 26-24, 15-12 (1:02)
Pool G
Round 2
Mirco Gerson/Adrian Heidrich Switzerland (23) def. Alison Cerutti/Alvaro Filho Brazil (7) 21-17, 21-19 (0:43)
Michal Bryl/Grzegorz Fijalek Poland (10) def. Nikita Liamin/Taras Myskiv Russia (26, Q1) 21-19, 21-12 (0:42)
Pool H
Round 2
Ilya Leshukov/Konstantin Semenov Russia (9) def. Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs Latvia (8) 21-7, 21-14 (0:30)
Florian Breer/Marco Krattiger Switzerland (25, Q4) def. Gustavo “Guto” Carvalhaes/Arthur da Silva Brazil (24, Q2) 21-18, 21-9 (0:34)
Winner’s Bracket
Round 1
Marco Krattiger/Florian Breer Switzerland (25, Q4) def. Daniil Kuvichka/Anton Kislytsyn Russia (30, Q19) 21-12, 21-15 (0:32)
Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins Latvia (21) def. Anders Mol/Christian Sorum Norway (2) 21-18, 14-21, 15-10 (0:46)
Nick Lucena/Phil Dalhausser USA (12) def. Marco Grimalt/Esteban Grimalt Chile (19) 21-12, 26-24 (0:42)
Robin Seidl/Philipp Waller Austria (27, Q5) def. Julian Azaad/Nicolas Capogrosso Argentina (32, Q11) 21-16, 26-24 (0:44)
Grzegorz Fijalek/Michal Bryl Poland (10) def. Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs Latvia (8) 21-16, 21-15 (0:41)
Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb USA (16) def. Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen Netherlands (15) 21-17, 21-18 (0:36)
Cherif Samba/Ahmed Tijan Qatar (4) def. Jake Gibb/Taylor Crabb USA (6) 21-19, 25-23 (0:39)
Alison Cerutti/Alvaro Filho Brazil (7) def. Hendrik Mol/Mathias Berntsen Norway (29, Q8) 21-10, 21-18 (0:32)

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