Happy 41st for KWJ on strong day for USA contingent at FIVB Moscow

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Taylor Crabb digs a ball in his and Jake Gibbs' win over Germans Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler on Thursday/FIVB photo

Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat won both their pool-play matches Thursday and so did fellow Americans Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil and Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb in the four-star FIVB Moscow.

Walsh Jennings, celebrating her 41st birthday, and Sweat, seeded No. 10, first beat 23rd-seeded Germans Victoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider 21-17, 22-20. Then they knocked off fellow Americans Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman 21-19, 14-21, 15-10.

“I really love Moscow! I think it’s the most beautiful city in the whole world. I am so happy to be here playing on my birthday,” Walsh Jennings told the FIVB. “The only thing missing is my family. We had two wins today against two good teams, but my wish has not come true yet. I can’t tell you what it is. When I make it come true, I‘ll tell you.”

Earlier Larsen and Stockman, seeded seventh, beat 26th-seeded Russians Ksenia Dabizha and Daria Rudykh 21-15, 21-8.

“Brooke and I want to win it. We want to go to Tokyo, so winning in Moscow will help us do that. It felt great on the court today, especially playing another American team. They are so good, they are in the Tokyo fight as well and we respect them very much, so to win was very important,” Walsh Jennings said. “This morning we played a great German team as well, but every team on the tour is very good. Now we just have to focus on us and keep winning.”

Claes and Sponcil, seeded sixth, beat the 27th-seeded Russian pair of Mariia Bocharova and Maria Voronina 21-19, 21-16 before routing 22nd-seeded Germans Sandra Ittlinger and Chantal Labourer 21-12, 21-13.

Click here for the complete women’s results from BVBinfo.com.

Gibb and Crabb, seeded 11th, won a tough match over 22nd-seeded Austrians Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst 21-19, 25-23, and then bounced back to upset sixth-seeded Germans Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler 17-21, 21-18, 15-13.

The only other Americans in the field, 19th-seeded Billy Allen and Stafford Slick, lost their opening pool-play match to 14th-seeded Switzerland’s Mirco Gerson and Adrian Heinrich 21-11, 21-15.

Click here for the complete men’s results from BVBinfo.com.

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