COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 19, 2022) – U.S. Beach National Team pair Chaim Schalk/Theo Brunner came within one set of medaling at the 2022 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Sunday, but it wasn’t meant to be as they fell to Brazil’s George Souto Maior Wanderley/Andre Loyola Stein 2-1, (15-21, 21-17, 15-11) in the bronze medal match at Rome’s Foro Italico.

The U.S. duo finished fourth in the World Championships. The finish matches Brunner’s best at Worlds, set in 2015 with then-partner Nick Lucena, and is Schalk’s top ranking.

“We are fired up to continue growing,” Brunner said. “This tourney was an indicator we are moving in the right direction. We’re looking forward to resting, recharging and then getting back to work.”

Moreover, the 2022 edition was Schalk’s first World Championships while representing the United States; he appeared in 2013, 2015 and 2017 for his native Canada.

“This finish is a great result for our team,” Schalk said. “We desperately wanted a medal, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. It’s an honor to represent the USA.”

Schalk/Brunner struck first in the match, winning the first set. They never trailed in the frame and didn’t face a tie score after the first six points.

The second set was more tightly contested with six ties and two lead changes. The U.S. erased four-point deficits and even pulled within one as late as 18-17 when Brunner’s attack hit the net and fell in, but Wanderley returned the Brazilian advantage to two points with a hit over Brunner’s block. Wanderley then served up two aces to force set three.

In the third set, Brunner scored first, but that’d be the frame’s only U.S. lead. With the set tied at 4, Brazil went on a 6-2 run, establishing a lead they would not give up.

“They increased their service pressure, and we didn’t respond as well,” Schalk said. “We had chances to take over in the second but couldn’t quite get it done. I’m proud of how we competed, and it’s exciting to see our trajectory as a team.”

The match stats were basically even between the two squads. The U.S. blocked two more shots and benefitted from one more opponent error, and Brazil landed one more attack. The only big difference came in service aces: Brazil scored four, the U.S. zero.

“George [Wanderley]’s serving was a difference in the match, for sure,” Brunner said.

Brunner scored 22 points – 17 kills, five blocks – for an efficiency mark of 25.81%. Schalk tallied 19 points, all on the attack, for a 23.44% efficiency rating.

In all, seven teams competed at the 2022 Beach Volleyball World Championships, and all seven made the playoffs. As the highest-placing women’s pair, Sara Hughes/Kelley Kolinske reached the quarterfinals and tied for fifth. Both Trevor Crabb/Tri Bourne and Terese Cannon/Sarah Sponcil tied for earned top 10 finishes at T-9th, and Kelly Cheng/Betsi Flint, Emily Day/Emily Stockman and Taylor Crabb/Taylor Sander all tied for 17th.

This is the second consecutive time a U.S. men’s team reached the medal rounds at the World Championships; Tr. Crabb/Bourne did so in 2019, finishing fourth.

U.S. Beach National Team World Championships Staff

Team Lead: Sean Scott
Sports Dietitian: Brooke Wyatt
Athletic Performance Coach: Myles Cooper
Performance Analyst: Tyler Widdison
Athletic Trainer: Arbhie Guce
Team Medical: Mike Bohrnsen & Tony Poland
Sports Psychologist: Peter Haberl

National Team Coaches
Jordan Cheng: Betsi Flint/Kelly Cheng
Chris Crabb: Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb
Scott Davenport: Sarah Sponcil/Terese Cannon
Chris Flood: Chaim Schalk/Theo Brunner
Rich Lambourne: Taylor Sander/Taylor Crabb
Everett Matthews: Sara Hughes/Kelley Kolinske
John Mayer: Emily Day/Emily Stockman