The good news for USA Volleyball is that both American women’s teams advanced to Saturday’s quarterfinals at the FIVB World Tour Finals in Cagliari, Italy.
The bad news is they play each other.
While Russians Svetlana Kholomina and Nadezda Makroguzova are already into the semifinals and await the winner of the USA’s April Ross and Alix Klineman, the Tokyo Olympics gold medalists, and Olympians Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil, who went 0-2 Friday.
In the other semifinal, Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes take on the winner of the match between Germans Karla Borger and Julia Side and Brazilians Agatha Bednarczuk and Duda Lisboa.
On the men’s side, the final six does not include American’s Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb, meaning Gibb’s long and illustrious pro beach career has ended. He previously announced his retirement at the conclusion of this tournament.
The two semifinalists are Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner of the Czech Republic and Norway’s Anders Mol and Christian Sorum, the Olympic gold medalists.
Perusic-Schweiner await the winner of the Italy’s Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai vs. Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands. Mol-Sorum get the winner of Steven van de Velde and Christiaan Varenhorst of the Netherlands vs. Olympic bronze-medalists Cherif Samba and Ahmed Tijan of Qatar.
While Ross-Klineman and Gibb-Crabb had already finished pool play, Claes and Sponcil lost twice Friday. First they lost to Bednarczuk and Lisboa 21-23, 21-16, 15-13. Then they fell to Pavan and Humana-Paredes 13-21, 21-14, 15-11 to finish pool play 2-2.
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