Two USA pairs, Terese Cannon and Sarah Sponcil and Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb, made it through Wednesday’s qualifier at the Volleyball World Pro Beach Tour Elite 16 in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Cannon and Sponcil, who won both their matches, are seeded 15th and in a star-studded pool with second-seeded former USC star Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka of Latvia, seventh-seeded Duda Lisboa and Ana Patricia Silva of Brazil, and 10th-seeded Australians Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy, who they play on Thursday.
Sponcil was a USA Olympian last summer, the Latvians finished fourth in Tokyo, and the Australians got silver. Artacho and Clancy lost to Americans Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss last weekend in the Volleyball World event in Turkey. Kloth and Nuss are playing AVP New Orleans this weekend.
The other USA women starting pool play Thursday are third-seeded Sara Hughes and Kelley Kolinske. They, too, have an Olympian-filled pool, facing 11th-seeded Swiss bronze-medalists Joana Heidrich and Anouk Verge-Depre and then sixth-seeded Canadians Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan. Also in the pool are 14th-seeded Germans Svenja Muller and Cinja Tillmann.
Americans Corinne Quiggle and Sarah Schermerhorn lost in the first round of the qualifier.
Bourne and Crabb, who also won twice Wednesday, are seeded 15th. They play Kusti Nolvak and Mart Tiisaar of Estonia on Thursday and later play Brazilians Guto Carvalhaes and Olympian Alison Cerutti and Cherif Samba and Ahmed Tijan of Qatar, who won Tokyo bronze.
The other American pair in pool play is 11th-seeded Theo Brunner and Chaim Schalk, who open with third-seeded Olympians Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands. Also in the pool are 14th-seeded Austrians Robin Seidl and Philipp Waller and Olympic gold-medalists Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway, who are seeded No. 6.