COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (October 8, 2021) – Good news for American beach volleyball fans: both Kelly Claes/Sarah Sponcil and Alix Klineman/April Ross made the playoffs at the FIVB World Tour Finals Friday.
The bad news? They’ll play each other in the quarterfinals.
That match will take place Saturday, October 9 at 6:30 a.m. Pacific in Cagliari, Italy. It’ll be the second match between the pairs this year; Claes/Sponcil beat Klineman/Ross in May en route to a tournament championship in Sochi, Russia.
Claes/Sponcil advanced to the World Tour Finals playoffs as the No. 3 seed in Pool B. The duo entered Friday 2-0 but lost close 2-1 decisions to both Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda Santos Lisboa of Brazil and Sarah Pavan/Melissa Humana-Paredes of Canada, the pool’s No. 2 and 1 seeds, respectively. Team Slaes ended pool play with a 2-2 record and six points.
Klineman/Ross, meanwhile, finished second in Pool A. They didn’t play Friday – their final pool play match was Thursday – but still advanced via a three-way tie for second with Julia Sude/Karla Borger of Germany and Tanja Huberli/Nina Betschart of Switzerland. The Americans won the tiebreaker by holding a higher point ratio in matches among the three teams. Borger/Sude took third in the pool while the Swiss pair was eliminated.
The winner of Klineman/Ross vs. Sponcil/Claes will play Pavan/Melissa in the semifinals. Borger/Sude will play Agatha/Duda in the other quarterfinal, the winner of which will face Russia’s Nadezda Makroguzova/Svetlana Kholomina.
The U.S. is searching for its first women’s medal at the World Tour Finals, and the winner of the American quarterfinal contest will have a chance to play for at least bronze.
On the men’s side, Jake Gibb/Taylor Crabb finished fourth in Pool A with a 1-3 record and five points. They too wrapped up pool play Thursday, losing to Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo of Italy. It was the last match of Gibb’s career as the 45-year-old is retiring from professional volleyball.
Nicolai/Lupo, Ondrej Perusic/David Schweiner (Czech Republic), Steven van de Velde/Christiaan Varenhorst (Netherlands) Anders Mol/Christian Sorum (Norway), Alex Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen (Netherlands) and Cherif Younousse/Ahmed Tijan (Qatar) all advanced out of pool play.
Every match of the World Tour Finals will be streamed on Beach Volleyball World’s YouTube channel.