Americans competing in FIVB beach events in Portugal and Canada

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FIVB Espinho July 19-Sarah Sponcil
Sarah Sponcil digs in Espinho pool play/George Davison photo

There’s FIVB beach volleyball on two continents this week with Americans playing in both the four-star in Espinho, Portugal, and the three-star in Edmonton, Canada.

Curiously, more teams chose the safety of the three-star main draw than the larger potential point haul of a four-star qualifier. As a result, no USA men or women participated in the Espinho qualifier, even without the threat of a country-quota match.

In Espinho, Brooke Sweat and Kerri Walsh Jennings, Emily Larsen and Emily Stockman, and Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil have made it through pool play to elimination playoffs.

Sweat and Walsh Jennings defeated both Suzuka Hashimoto and Sayaka Mizoe of Japan (21-15, 21-8) and Fan Wang and Xinyi Xia of China (21-16, 19-21, 15-8).

They earned a first-round elimination bye and Friday face the winner of Marta Menegatti  and Viktoria Orsi Toth of Italy against Sandra Ittlinger and Chantal Laboreur of Germany.

Larsen and Stockman won their pool with straight-set wins over Ana Gallay and Fernanda Pereyra of Argentina (21-17, 21-19) and Mariia Bocharova and Maria Voronina of Russia (21-16, 21-9).

Their second-round opponent will be either  Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic or Ksenia Dabizha and Daria Rudykh of Russia.

Claes and Sponcil split their pool matches, losing to Vasiliki Arvaniti and Penny Karagkouni of Greece (21-17, 13-21, 15-12) but bouncing back with a win over the Netherlands’ Joy Stubbe and Marleen Van Iersel (22-20, 19-21, 23-21).

The young Americans will face Natalia Dubovcova and Andrea Strbova of Slovakia in the first round.

FIVB Espinho July 19-Emily Stockman
The USA’s Emily Stockman jousts in the first round of pool play in Espinho, Portugal/George Davison photo

In the men’s draw, all three USA teams again ended up in the same pool.

Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb and Theo Brunner and Reid Priddy are in pool D with Russians Maxim Sivolap and Artem Yarzutkin.

Dalhausser and Lucena open pool play Friday against Sivolap and Yarzutkin, followed by Crabb and Gibb against Brunner and Priddy.

In Edmonton in the Canadian province of Alberta, three of four USA men’s teams won their first pool-play match.

Second-seeded Billy Allen and Stafford Slick, fourth-seeded Ryan Doherty and John Hyden and sixth-seeded Chase Budinger and Casey Patterson play for an elimination bye Friday. Seventh-seeded Miles Evans and Billy Kolinske were subsequently forced into one of the highest-ranked qualifiers in recent memory.

Allen and Slick defeated William Hoey and Jake MacNeil of Canada (21-19, 21-18) and will face Surin Jongklang and Adisorn Khaolumtam of Thailand for the bye.

Doherty and Hyden beat Felix Friedl and Maximilian Trummer of Austria (19-21, 21-16, 15-5), with their next opponent being Mathias Berntsen and Hendrik Mol of Norway.

Budinger and Patterson got past Sergiy Grabovskyy and Cameron Wheelan of Canada (21-16, 21-11), and will get  Iaroslav Gordieiev and Sergiy Popov of the Ukraine.

Evans and Kolinske lost to Lukas Kazdailis and Arnas Rumsevicius of Lithuania (21-19, 16-21, 18-16). Their first opponen Fridayt will be Aaron Nusbaum and Michael Plantinga of Canada for a first-round berth in elimination playoffs.

Evans and Kolinske defeated Masato Kurasaka and Kensuke Shoji of Japan (21-16, 21-14) to reach the main draw.

The USA women also went three for four in the first round of pool play. Kim DiCello and Kelly Reeves beat Gaia Traballi and Agata Zuccarelli of Italy (21-15, 21-19). 

Emily Day and Betsi Flint defeated Esmee Bobner and Zoe Verge-Depre (23-25, 21-17, 15-9) and face Sophie Bukovec and Taylor Pischke of Canada.

Terese Cannon and Irene Pollock defeated compatriots Amanda Dowdy and Corinne Quiggle (26-24, 21-19), and will play Julie Gordon and Shanice Marcelle of Canada for the bye, while Dowdy and Quiggle must defeat Lezana Placette and Alexia Richard of France to get into playoffs.

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