April Ross and Alix Klineman, the Olympic gold-medalists, kept their hopes alive with two victories Thursday at the FIVB World Tour Finals in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy, including a pro beach volleyball sweep of Swiss Olympic bronze-medalists Anouk Vérgé-Depre and Joana Heidrich.
Olympians Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil won their only match of the day and finish pool play Friday.
And Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb went 0-2, stand 1-3 after pool play, and can only hope things work out for them to advance and continue the career of the retiring Gibb.
Friday, Claes and Sponcil open action by playing Brazilians Agatha and Duda. After playing just once on Wednesday and Thursday, they finally get a second match when they face Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes.
They are the only American team still in pool play. There are six women’s matches Friday and six more men’s before the quarterfinals are set.
Claes and Sponcil beat Dutch Olympians Sanne Keizer and Madeleine Meppelink 21-16, 21-16 and are tied at 2-0 with Pavan and Humana-Paredes, who also play twice Friday.
Ross and Klineman bounced back from an 0-2 Wednesday when they won their first match Thursday, 21-17, 22-20 over Italians Marta Menegatti and Valentina Gottardi. Then in the evening, they defeated the Swiss Olympians Nina Betschart and Tanja Hüberli 21-18, 21-17.
Gibb and Crabb, 1-1 Wednesday, lost their first match Friday to Christiaan Varenhorst and Steve van de Velde of the the Netherlands 26-24, 21-10. Then they lost 11-21, 21-19, 15-13 to Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo.