The FIVB Vienna five-star beach volleyball tournament rolled on Wednesday, with the women getting through the first round of the elimination bracket and the men completing pool play.
For American teams of both genders, Wednesday’s results set up some intriguing matchups for Thursday.
Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman, seeded No. 14, got past Tina Graudina and Kravcenoka of Latvia 21-14, 21-19 in the first round and will take on fellow Americans Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil on Friday. Sponcil and Claes earned a bye into the second round.
Graudina, of course, was a member of the VolleyballMag.com national pair of the year this spring with USC teammate Abril Bustamante.
“We’re here to win and that’s what our mindset is going into this regardless of who’s on the other side of the net,” Larsen said to the FIVB. “We’re stoked to play and whether it’s American team, an international team, we’re ready.”
“I think that’s a part of what makes our team so good is that we’re not super emotional,” Stockman added. “When people are watching, maybe they don’t know if we’re winning or losing because we are pretty even-keeled and I think that has helped us.”
April Ross and Alix Klineman, the top seed in Vienna and winners of the silver medal, had a bye in the first round and will play the Czech Republic’s No. 22-seeded Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova on Friday. Ross and Klineman have beaten the Czech pair in their two previous meetings this season.
Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat finished their Vienna appearance with a 17th, losing in the first round in three sets by the slimmest of margins (21-15, 20-22, 17-15) to the No. 21 seed Joy Stubbe and Marleen Van Iersel of the Netherlands.
On the men’s side, three of the four USA men’s teams went 1-1 in pool play. Theo Brunner and Reid Priddy, however, went 0-2, leaving Vienna with a 25th.
The luck of the draw pitted the Crabb brothers against each other in Pool D, where Taylor and his partner Jake Gibb won the head-to-head meeting 21-19, 21-15, but then lost to Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands 21-15, 21-12. In Friday’s first round, Gibb and Crabb will line up across the net from Ilya Leshukov and Konstantin Semenov, the No. 2 Russian team on the FIVB World Tour and seeded 11th in Vienna.
Trevor Crabb and Tri Bourne rebounded from their pool-play loss to their fellow Americans with a three-set victory over Robin Seidl and Philipp Waller of Austria (22-20, 15-21, 16-14), and in Friday’s elimination play will face Nils Ehlers and Lars Fluggen. The No. 24-seeded German team is playing very well as of late, capped by winning a silver medal in Tokyo last week.
Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena opened with a loss to Cherif Samba and Ahmed Tijan (28-26, 21-18). They had beaten the Qataris in both their previous 2019 meetings.
A subsequent 21-17, 21-18 win over Nico Beeler and Marco Krattiger of Switzerland allowed Dalhausser and Lucena to advance, and they will take on Italians Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi in the first round of elimination action.