Tough day at FIVB Worlds for Walsh Jennings-Sweat, Klineman-Ross; Hughes-Ross, Bourne-Crabb win

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World Championships 2019 July 1-Kerri Walsh Jennings
Kerri Walsh Jennings lunges for a seam serve in the first set/VBM Staff photo

HAMBURG, Germany — Two of America’s top women’s teams had a tough Monday at the 2019 FIVB World Beach Championships.

Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat squandered late leads in both sets before losing 21-19, 24-22 to Australians Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy.

“It’s just really disappointing,” Walsh Jennings said.

Fifth-seeded Alix Klineman and April Ross had the unenviable task of playing 20th-seeded Germans Karla Borger and Julia Sude on stadium court, where they held a decided home-sand advantage. The end result was a 21-15, 21-23, 15-10 victory for the Germans that left them 3-0 and Klineman and Ross 2-1 at the conclusion of pool play.

Sara Hughes and Summer Ross won in two and improved to 2-0 in pool play, and so did Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb.

Pool play continues Tuesday. Click here for BVBinfo.com’s full schedule and complete men’s results, and here for the women’s. And see below for our photo gallery.

Walsh Jennings and Sweat, seeded 18th and needing a victory stay alive after splitting their first two pool-play matches, lost to seventh-seeded Artacho and Clancy of Australia.

Walsh Jennings and Sweat led 19-16 in the first set and 20-18 in the second.

“They definitely served tougher than us at the end,” Sweat said. “In the first set, I knew Taliqua wanted to go there (serving down the line at Sweat), I thought I was in a good spot, but she just beat me twice, and I can’t let that happen.”

Walsh Jennings and Sweat will have to wait until Tuesday’s competition is over to find out if they make the playoffs. The top four third-place finishers are in, while the remaining eight must play “lucky losers” matches to advance.

Hughes and Ross, the 11th seed, scored a 21-19, 21-13 victory over 35th-seeded J.J. Zeng and M.M. Lin of China. They are 2-0 and try to win the pool Tuesday when they face 14th seeded Svetlana Kholomina and Nadezda Makroguzova of Russia.

Klineman and Ross will move on to the elimination bracket, since they finished second in the pool.

“I know that we can play a lot better than we played tonight, so we’re going to have to refocus and come out fresh for the next match,” Klineman said.

“I think they definitely played better defense than we did,” Ross said. “They got us out of rhythm a good amount, we fought as hard as we could but I think they played better than we did today.”

Ross said after they won the second set to force a third their confidence was up. But early mistakes were tough to overcome.

“I think the Germans are playing above their average, if you took their average. They’re definitely playing better than that,” Ross said, acknowledging their home advantage. “So it is a factor, but it’s so much fun to be out there anyway.

“We need to channel that energy also. We can’t let them rise to the occasion, and not have us rise to the occasion. It can be a factor for all the teams on center court.”

Bourne and Crabb, seeded 13th, cruised past 37th-seeded Rwandans Patrick Kavalo and Olivier Ntagengwa 21-13, 2-9 in 27 minutes. Bourne and Crabb will try to win the pool Tuesday against 12th-seeded Germans Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler.

Tina Graudina, the USC star from Latvia who comprised half of the VolleyballMag.com national pair of the year, is in the winners bracket with teammate Anastasija Kravcenoka. They are the 26th seed and went 3-0 in pool play, capped with a 21-14, 21-17 victory Monday over 47th-seeded Germans Leonie Kortzinger and Sarah Schneider.

Graudina’s former UCLA rivals, 25th-seeded Canadian sisters Megan and Nicole McNamara beat 48th-seeded Patricia Caballero and Michelle Valiente of Paraguay 21-13, 21-14. But they lost their first two pool-play matches and finished 1-2.

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