Forfeit Gives Italians Men’s Gold
A young Italian team defied all odds to advance through two rounds of the qualifier and the entire main draw of the Lucerne Open to win gold over the weekend. Marco Caminati and Alex Ranghieri played more games than anyone else in the tournament and became the lowest-seeded qualifying team ever to win an FIVB gold, and only the eighth team since 2001 to win gold after entering the tournament through the qualifier.
Caminati and Ranghieri defeated Murat Giginoglu and Volkan Ggtepe of Turkey in the semifinals, and then won the final without serving a single ball. Fellow finalists, Robert Meeuwsen and Alexander Brouwer of the Netherlands, decided to forfeit the championship match due to an injury to Meeuwsen’s right knee. Meeuwsen said he would rather rest up and be in good shape for the first FIVB Grand Slam and the World Championships, of which he and Brouwer are defending champs, than risk aggravating the injury further by playing the gold-medal match.
Giginoglu and Ggtepe faced Nico Beeler and Alexei Strasser of Switzerland in the bronze-medal match. With the win in three, the Turks secured their country’s first-ever FIVB medal.
Germans Take Down Dutch for Women’s Title
Karla Borger and Britta Bthe of German won their first-ever gold medal at the Lucerne Open. The two-time silver medalists were finally able to take the championship-match win in the third final of their careers, defeating Madelein Meppelink and Marleen Van Iersel of the Netherlands in three close sets. So close, in fact, that the Germans trailed 4-8 in the third set before turning around and taking 11 of the next 15 points to win the set 15-13.
Jamie Broder and Kristina Valjas of Canada, gold medalists at the season-starting Fuzhou Open, took their second medal of the year in Lucerne, winning bronze over Barbara Hansel and Stefanie Schwaiger of Austria. The Canadians now lead the women’s tour in points with 900.
Americans Fall Flat
Only one women’s team from the U.S. made it to the main draw. Summer Ross and Jennifer Fopma went 1-2 in pool play and then lost in the first elimination round.
Irene Hester and Caitlin Ledoux, Brittany Hochevar and Heather McGuire, and Amanda Dowdy and Kendra Van Zwieten all lost in the qualifier, while Emily Stockman and Ali McColloch were eliminated in the country quota round with a loss to Dowdy and Van Zwieten.
On the men’s side, only Ryan Doherty and John Mayer managed to win a game in the main draw; however, their 1-2 pool play record wasnt enough to advance to the elimination rounds. The teams of Stafford Slick and Todd Rogers and Derek Olson and Hudson Bates each went 0-3 in pool play. Olson and Bates came through the country quota, where they eliminated Marty Lorenz and Kevin McColloch, and then the qualifier, in which they defeated an Austrian team and fellow Americans Avery Drost and Trevor Crabb.