We already knew which American teams would be playing in the FIVB World Championships later this month in Hamburg, Germany.
On Tuesday the FIVB announced the pools for the first opportunity to earn a berth in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics because the men’s and women’s winners bypass the 2019-2020 qualification process for the top 15 teams.
Here’s how the American teams fared for the tournament that starts June 28:
Fifth-seeded April Ross and Alix Klineman are in a pool with 19th-seeded Germans Karla Borger and Julia Sude, China’s No. 33 Fan Wang and Chen Xue and Nicaragua’s No. 42 Valeria Mendoza and Lolette Rodriguez.
Sara Hughes and Summer Ross are seeded No. 11 and are in with with 18th-seeded Ekaterina Makroguzova and Svetlana Kholomina of Russia, No. 36 Meimei Lin and Jinjin Zeng of China and Argentina’s Ana Gallay and Fernanda Perrera, seeded 37th.
Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat, who are on a roll of late, with a win in Jinjiang and a fourth in Ostrava, are seeded 13th and are in with No. 7 Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho of Australia, No. 28 Joy Stubbe and Marleen Van Iersel of the Netherlands, and the 47th-seed from the island of Mauritius, Maita Cousin and Letendrie Marie.
Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes are seeded 14th and will play ninth-seeded Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, Russia’s 27th-seeded Ekaterina Birlova and Evgeniya Ukolova and Diana Rios and Yuli Ayala, the 41st seed from Colombia.
The 15th seed went to Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman and they’re in with No. 10 Carolina Salgado and Maria Antonelli of Brazil, Germans Laura Ludwig and Margareta Kozuch, who are seeded 30th and Nigeria’s Tochukwu Nnoruga and Franco, seeded 45th.
Three NCAA alumnae are representing other countries. UCLA twins Nicole McNamara and Megan McNamara are seeded 34th in Pool A, and USC’s Tina Graudina, who is playing for Latvia with Anastasija Kravcenoka, is seeded 31st in Pool B.
On the men’s side, Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena are seeded No. 6 and are in with the Netherlands’ 20th-seeded Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen, 28th-seeded Grant O’Gorman and Ben Saxton of Canada and Argentina’s Nicolas Capogrosso and Julian Azaad, seeded 39th.
The seventh seed went to Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb and they play Poland’s No. 15 Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak, Russians Maksim Hudyakov and Igor Velichko, the 31st seed, and Uruguay’s Mauricio Vieyto and Marco Cairus, seeded 43rd.
Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb play 12th-seeded Germans Clemens Wickler and Julius Thole, Iran’s 36th-seeded Arash Vakili/Bahman Salemi and 46th-seeded Kavalo/Ntagengwa of Rwanda.
No. 29 Stafford Slick and Billy Allen will face Russia’s fifth-seeded Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Keshukov, 23rd-seeded Brazil’s Alison Cerutti and Alvaro Filho and Qatar’s Tamer Abdelrasoul and Assam Mahmoud, seeded 42nd.
The women’s final is July 6 and the men’s is the following day.
The World Championships are different from other FIVB tournaments in a number of ways.
There are 12 pools of four instead of eight. Each of the pools will feature round-robin pool play rather than the modified pool play system used in four-star events.
The World Championships is unique in that it makes an effort to be inclusive and represent the world, with 20 teams being entered from the Asian, African, European, South American, and NORCECA confederations.
As befits the FIVB’s only biennial event, there are a number of perks, including $1 million total prize money pool, 1,600 points to the winners, and video replay for officials.
The top 12 seeds head the pools, with Germany’s Sandra Ittlinger and Chantal Laboreur getting promoted to the No. 1 seed as the leaders from the host country. Draw 1 filled in the second slots in pools L-G, draw 2 filled in the second slots in pools F-A, draw 3 filled in the third slots in all pools, and draw 4 filled in the final pool slots.
Pool A: Ittlinger/Laboureur (GER), Menegatti/Orsi Toth (ITA), McNamara/McNamara (CAN), Michelle/Pati (PAR)
Pool B: Hermannová/Slukova (CZE), Wojtasik/Kociolek (POL), Kravcenoka/Graudina (LAT), Körtzinger/Schneider (GER)
Pool C: Bansley/Wilkerson (CAN), Behrens/Tillman (GER), Heidrich/Vergé-Dépré (SUI), Bausero/Rotti Giordano (URU)
Pool D: Rebecca/Ana Patricia (BRA), Liliana/Elsa (ESP), Bieneck/Schneider (GER), Nzayisenga/Hakizimana (RWA)
Pool E: Klineman/Ross (USA), Borger/Sude (GER), Wang/Xue (CHN), Mendoza/Lolette (NCA)
Pool F: Agatha/Duda (BRA), Wang/Xia (CHN), Ishii/Murakami (JPN), Mailen/Leila (CUB)
Pool G: Artacho/Clancy (AUS), Sweat/Walsh Jennings (USA), Stubbe/Van Iersel (NED), Maita/Letendrie (MRI)
Pool H: Meppelink/Keizer (NED), Hüberli/Betschart (SUI), Laird/Palmer (AUS), Randa/Doaa (EGY)
Pool I: Pavan/Humana-Paredes (CAN), Sponcil/Claes (USA), Birlova/Ukolova (RUS), Diana/Yuli (COL)
Pool J: Carol/Maria Antonelli (BRA), Larsen/Stockman (USA), Ludwig/Kozuch (GER), Nnoruga/Franco (NGR)
Pool K: Hughes/Ross (USA), Makroguzova/Kholomina (RUS), Lin/Zeng (CHN), Gallay/Pereyra (ARG)
Pool L: Barbara/Fernanda (BRA), Lahti/Parkkinen (FIN), Strbova/Dubovcova (SVK), Orellena/Revuelta (MEX)
Pool A: Mol/Sørum (NOR), Pedro Solberg/Vitor Felipe (BRA), Walkenhorst/Winter (GER), Gonzalez/Reyes (CUB)
Pool B: Fijalek/Bryl (POL), Plavins/Tocs (LAT), Bergmann/Harms (GER), Abica/Elgraoui (MAR)
, Krasilnikov/Stoyanovskiy (RUS), Doppler/Horst (AUT), Ranghieri/Caminati (ITA), Gottsu/Ageba (JPN)
Pool D: Tijan/Cherif (QAT), Koekelkoren/Van Walle (BEL), Perusic/Schweiner (CZE), Kamara/Bangura (SLE)
Pool E: Semenov/Leshukov (RUS), Alison/Álvaro Filho (BRA), Slick/Allen (USA), Tamer/Mahmoud (QAT)
Pool F: Lucena/Dalhausser (USA), Brouwer/Meeuwsen (NED), Saxton/O’Gorman (CAN), Azaad/Capogrosso (ARG)
Pool G: Gibb/Taylor Crabb (USA), Kantor/Losiak (POL), Hudyakov/Velichko (RUS), Vieyto/Cairus (URU)
Pool H: Lupo/Nicolai (ITA), André/George (BRA), Seidl/Waller (AUT), Soares/Nguvo (MOZ)
Pool I: Herrera/Gavira (ESP), Evandro/Bruno (BRA), Durant/Schumann (AUS), Charly/Tigrito (VEN)
Pool J: Grimalt/Grimalt (CHI), Liamin/Myskiv (RUS), Ontiveros/Virgen (MEX), Ehlers/Flüggen (GER)
Pool K: Samoilovs/Smedins (LAT), Pedlow/Schachter (CAN), Heidrich/Gerson (SUI), Zavala/Lammel (CHI)
Pool L: Thole/Wickler (GER), Bourne/Trevor Crabb (USA), Vakili/Salemi (IRI), Kavalo/Ntagengwa (RWA)