TOKYO, Japan (July 28, 2021) – The newly-formed U.S. Olympic beach volleyball team of Jake Gibb and Tri Bourne got another chance to improve on their budding chemistry Wednesday while beating Switzerland’s Adrian Heidrich/Mirco Gerson 2-0 (21-19, 23-21) at Shiokaze Park.
“I would give us a B-minus,” Gibb said after the match. “We both are playing good volleyball, and hopefully we start gelling a little bit more. But we’re increasing from a C-plus to a B-minus. It’s a slow climb, but I think we’re getting better.”
With the win, Gibb/Bourne advance to 2-0 and to the top of men’s pool C. They’ll play Qatar’s Cherif Younousse Samba/Ahmed Tijan Janko for pool supremacy at 6 a.m. PT (10 p.m. local) on Friday, July 30.
Gibb/Bourne outlasted the world’s 16th-ranked team in two tight sets. The very first two-point lead of the match didn’t come until halfway through the first set, and neither team led by more than three in the second. There were 28 tie scores between the two frames.
Gibb/Bourne, only created a week ago when Gibb’s original partner, Taylor Crabb, tested positive for COVID-19, stayed strong despite the heat, competition and pressure of the Olympic Games.
“I don’t think the nerves go away when it’s the Olympics,” Bourne said. “You have more and more on the line.
Switzerland led the match with 29 attack points but also gave Gibb/Bourne 20 points off errors. The U.S. duo tallied 19 attack points, three blocks and two aces while committing just nine faults. Gibb led the Americans with 13 points: eight off the attack plus all three blocks and both aces.
At 15-15 in the first set, the Americans took their final lead when a serve from Heidrich missed the mark. Gibb followed up with a block, but the Swiss pulled back within one at 17-16. A few points later, on their second set point, Heidrich served into the net, giving the U.S. a 21-19 set win.
Set two was even closer. Switzerland briefly held a 10-13 advantage, but a Bourne attack point and two errant Swiss balls tied the score. The teams then traded points all the way up to 21-21. Another Swiss error gave the U.S. match point, their third. This time, Bourne found empty sand for the win.