COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 30, 2019) – Sunday at the FIVB Beach World Championships belonged to Billy Allen and Stafford Slick, seeded 29th, as they upset Russia’s No. 5 Konstantin Semenov/Ilya Leshukov, 13-21, 27-25, 15-12 in Hamburg, Germany.
“This is our best FIVB win,” Slick said. “It’s on the World Championship stage. Semenov has been in the Olympics and those guys have been mainstays in the main draw for a long time. For us old dogs coming in with some new tricks, it was good enough.”
When asked how they came back from the first-set loss, Allen said, “I stopped hitting directly at the defender in the middle of the court.
“I felt like I was really one dimensional the first game and just sitting on it. Then I got a little more crafty and moving around a little bit.
“Once Stafford started getting some blocks, you could see the energy starting to build.”
Slick/Allen led in kills (39-33) and aces (3-2). Semenov/Leshukov led in blocks (5-2). The victory improved their record to 1-1 in pool play.
No. 5 seeds April Ross/Alix Klineman (2-0) had an easier time against China’s No. 29 Chen Xue/Xinxin Wang, winning 21-10, 21-11.
“They’re a great team and we prepared a lot,” Ross said. “The only time we played them this year we actually lost. So we had a lot of motivation going into the match today.”
Klineman added: “I think we served pretty tough today. My serve felt really good at the beginning. Then I think we took care of our sideout too. I think all parts of our game were working today.”
No. 15 Kelley Larsen/Emily Stockman (1-1) rebounded from their first-match loss to beat Tochukwu Nnoruga/Francisca Ikhiede of Nigeria, 21-6, 21-13.
No. 16 Kelly Claes/Sarah Sponcil (2-0) made quick work of Colombia’s Yuli Ayala/Diana Rios, 21-8, 21-9.
“We went into the match wanting to work on our serving,” Claes said. “Especially for the serves we want to do against Canada on Tuesday. I think this was good training for that and staying consistent on crazy plays.”
“We worked on keep our level high and not slipping down to what their level might be,” Sponcil added. “I think we did a good job working on things for our next game (against Canada’s Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes).”
No. 18 Brooke Sweat/Kerri Walsh Jennings (1-1) won their first match of Worlds in a big way over Mauritius’s Maita Cousin/Letendrie Marie Nathalie Jacqueline, 21-2, 21-2.
“We were just there to find our rhythm and to create some positivity and some mojo going into tomorrow,” Walsh Jennings said. “(Mauritius) was awesome. They showed up and gave it everything they had.”
“I thought we put some pressure on them serving,” Sweat added. “They had a little trouble there. But they made some great shots. I was definitely running around. We had to be scrappy.”
No. 7 Jake Gibb/Taylor Crabb (2-0) beat Russia’s No. 31 Maksim Hudyakov/Igor Velichko, 21-15, 21-14.
The pair had to come back from a four-point deficit in the second set, but then pulled away.
“Defensively, we ran the schemes that we wanted to so that was pretty clean,” Gibb said. “I need to dial in my serving a little bit. I think we can clean up our side out a little bit.”
Crabb added that he better understood the importance of the World Championships in 2019 than he did in 2017 when he and Gibb finished 17th in Vienna.
“Especially with this one counting toward the Olympics, this is do or die right now,” Crabb said. “I think we’re starting out on a good foot and we want to continue getting better throughout the tournament.”
The only U.S. loss of the day came when No. 6 Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena (1-1) fell to Canada’s Grant O’Gorman/Ben Saxton, 21-16. 21-19.
“It just wasn’t very smooth on our end and they played well,” Dalhausser said. “You can’t have a bad game here because everyone is good. If you do, chances are you are going to lose.”
All the teams in Dalhausser/Lucena’s pool are 1-1, so winning their next match against Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen will be key.
The 12th edition of the FIVB World Championships concludes with the women’s medal matches on July 6 with the men’s finale set for July 7 as the winning teams will share the $60,000 first-place prizes.
NBC Sports will broadcast 72 hours of the Beach Volleyball World Championships.
NBCSN presents live coverage beginning Friday, June 28 at Noon ET. Coverage on NBCSN will stream live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.
U.S. Teams and Coaches
April Ross/Alix Klineman (Jen Kessy)
Sara Hughes/Summer Ross (Jose Loiola)
Emily Stockman/Kelley Larsen (Evie Matthews)
Sarah Sponcil/Kelly Claes (Leandro Pinheiro)
Kerri Walsh Jennings/Brooke Sweat (Marcio Sicoli)
Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena (Jason Lochhead)
Jake Gibb/Taylor Crabb (Rich Lambourne)
Trevor Crabb/Tri Bourne (Pompilio Mercadantes)
Stafford Slick/Billy Allen (John Mayer)
Athletic Trainer: Mike Martinez
Sports Psychologist: Peter Haberl
Chiropractor: Jen Watters
National Team Coach: Tyler Hildebrand
Team Leader: Sean Scott
Performance Analyst: Tyler Widdison
USOPC Representative: John Crawley
Massage Therapist: Tony Poland
U.S. Schedule for the Beach Volleyball World Championships
(All times PT)
Dalhausser/Lucena USA def Azaad/Capogrosso ARG, 21-14, 21-13
Alison/Alvaro Filho BRA def Allen/Slick USA, 19-21, 21-15, 15-10
Stubbe/Van Iersel NED def Sweat/Walsh Jennings USA, 21-15, 19-21, 15-9
Kozuch/Ludwig GER def Larsen/Stockman USA, 25-19, 25-15
Sponcil/Claes USA def Ukolova/Birlova RUS, 21-8, 21-16
Hughes/S Ross USA def Gallay/Pereyra ARG, 21-18, 15-21, 16-14
Gibb/Ta Crabb USA def Vieyto/Cairus URU, 21-17, 21-13
Bourne/Tr Crabb USA vs Salemi/Vakili IRI, 13-21, 21-16, 15-9
Klineman/A Ross USA vs Mendoza/Lolette NCA, 21-8, 21-7
2a Sweat/Walsh Jennings USA vs Maita/Letendrie MRI
5a Sponcil/Claes USA vs Yuli/Diana COL
6a Klineman/A Ross USA vs Xue/Wang CHN
7a Semenov/Leshukov RUS vs Allen/Slick USA
9a Gibb/Crabb Ta USA vs Hudyakov/Velichko RUS
10a Larsen/Stockman USA vs Nnoruga/Franco NGR
10:15a Dalhausser/Lucena USA vs Saxton/O’Gorman CAN
3a Hughes/S Ross USA vs Zeng/Lin CHN
6a Bourne/Tr Crabb USA vs Kavalo/Ntagengwa RWA
9a Clancy/Artacho Del Solar AUS vs Sweat/Walsh Jennings USA
10:15a Klineman/A Ross USA vs Borger Sude GER
3a Pavan/Melissa CAN vs Sponcil/Claes USA
4a Maria Antonelli/Carol BRA vs Larsen/Stockman USA
5a Hughes/S Ross USA vs Makroguzova/Kholomina RUS
6a Allen/Slick USA vs Tamer Mahmoud QAT
6a Dalhausser/Lucena vs Brouwer/Meeuwsen NED
8a Gibb/Ta Crabb vs Kantor/Losiak POL
9a Thole/Wickler GER vs Bourne/Tr Crabb USA
Women’s Round of 32
Men’s Round of 32
Women’s Bronze and Gold
Men’s Bronze and Gold