COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – At the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro, the U.S. had four teams finish in the Top 5 at the FIVB World Tour Rio 4 Star tournament.
Casey Patterson and Theo Brunner placed fourth as the top American men’s finish, while Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes were the U.S. women’s top finish, at fifth place.
All three American men’s teams were making just their second appearance as partnerships, since a big shuffle followed after the Rio Olympics and closing of the 2016 season. Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb tied for fifth for their second-consecutive outing. John Hyden and Ryan Doherty also tied for fifth, giving their partnership a second Top 5 finish on the World Tour in 2017.
Brunner/Patterson and Hyden/Doherty went 1-1 in pool play, while Gibb/Crabb swept their matches 2-0. All U.S. men’s teams won their first and second round matches before advancing into a stacked quarterfinal against Olympic experienced opponents. There, Brunner/Patterson topped The Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen, 18-21, 28-26, 15-13. Hyden/Doherty fell in two to Poland and Gibb/Crabb to the Olympic champs from Brazil, in two sets.
In the semifinals, Brunner/Patterson were swept by Brazil’s Alison Cerutti/Bruno Schmidt 21-16, 21-14. For bronze, they suffered another loss, this time in three sets, to Italy’s Olympic silver medalists Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo, 21-15, 24-26, 15-11. It marked the best finish for Brunner and Patterson in 2017, after they opened the year tying for ninth in Fort Lauderdale.
In women’s action, Claes/Hughes and Lauren Fendrick/Lane Carico were the only women’s teams to make it out of pool play. Emily Day/Brittany Hochevar fell 0-2 in pool and Kimberly DiCello/Emily Stockman were unable to advance out of qualification.
In the first round of single-elimination, Fendrick/Carico were swept by Canada’s Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson, 21-18, 22-20. Claes/Hughes began their run through the tournament with a two-set victory against Italy, followed by defeating a Brazilian team in three in the second round. The pair were halted in the quarterfinals by Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda Lisboa 21-19, 21-17. Having just graduated from the University of Southern California one week prior, it marked their best FIVB World Tour finish and their official debut as full-fledged professionals.
WEEK IN REVIEW
– Fourth place: Casey Patterson and Theo Brunner placed fourth in just their second World Tour event together, giving them their second Top 10 finish
– Tied for 5th: Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes, their best FIVB World Tour career finish and first since graduating college; Jake Gibb/Taylor Crabb, their second-consecutive fifth-place finish as a team; John Hyden/Ryan Doherty, their second World Tour event together and second Top 5 finish as a team
– Tied for 17th: Lauren Fendrick/Lane Carico, in their first FIVB tournament as a team and just second event overall together
– Tied for 25th: Brittany Hochevar/Emily Day tallied their third Top 25 finish in 2017 on the FIVB World Tour
– Lost in qualification: Kimberly DiCello/Emily Stockman, was their fifth FIVB tournament of the year, and just the second where they failed to make it into the main draw
|FIVB Rio 4-Star Roster|
|Lane Carico||Lauren Fendrick||Main Draw|
|Kelly Claes||Sara Hughes||Main Draw|
|Emily Day||Brittany Hochevar||Main Draw|
|Kimberly DiCello||Emily Stockman||Qualification|
|Casey Patterson||Theo Brunner||Main Draw|
|Jake Gibb||Taylor Crabb||Main Draw|
|John Hyden||Ryan Doherty||Main Draw|
|Chad Beauchamp||Sports Medicine, PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS|
|Ciara Cappo||Sports Medicine, DC|