COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson recorded their second consecutive fifth-place finish, while Emily Stockman and Amanda Dowdy took down the defending World Champions in a career best at the Fortaleza Open.
In the final FIVB World Tour event in Brazil ahead of the Olympic Games, U.S. men’s point leaders Gibb and Patterson tallied their sixth Top 5 finish in qualification. Following an upset of the top-seeded team in the second round, Stockman and Dowdy earned a career best FIVB finish in their first event together on the Tour.
On a 3-0 start in pool play, Gibb and Patterson followed by defeating Brazil’s Gustavo Carvalhaes/Saymon Santos in the second round with a score of 21-19, 23-21. In the quarterfinals, however, Germany’s Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik halted the duo, 21-19, 23-21.
The fifth-place finish will improve the pair’s Olympic qualification points since they can drop their lowest finishes out of the 12 events needed. They currently have 16 events total in the qualification time period and the fifth-place showing will drop one of their six ninth-place finishes.
Five American women’s teams played at the tournament, the top finisher was the team of Stockman and Dowdy, who just joined together last week at the AVP New Orleans Open, where they finished third. The FIVB event was their first together internationally and finishing fifth also marked a career best for both.
After a rocky 2-1 start in pool play, the pair rebounded for a first-round win against China in three sets. In round three, Stockman and Dowdy faced top ranked Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas of Brazil, beating them in three. The first set went to the U.S., 21-17, and after falling close in the second 18-21, the duo fought back to close it out in the third, 15-12. Of their win against the 2015 FIVB World Champions, “We don’t play to lose and we kept to our game, sided out well and in the end we won and it’s a great story,” said Dowdy.
Three USA women’s teams tied for ninth, Jennifer Fopma/Brittany Hochevar, Kimberly DiCello/Kendra Vanzwieten and Lane Carico/Summer Ross. The pairs of Carico/Ross and Fopma/Hochevar won their pools for a trip to the second round.
Despite going 1-2 in pool play, their sole win a bye, DiCello and Vanzwieten continued to the first round, as did Irene Pollock and Caitlin Ledoux, the former winning to make it to round two.
WEEK IN REVIEW
FIVB Fortaleza Open
– Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson finished fifth, their 14th Top 10 finish and sixth Top 5 finish
– Emily Stockman/Amanda Dowdy finished fifth, a career best for both
– Lane Carico/Summer Ross finished ninth, their fourth T10 finish in 2016
– Jennifer Fopma/Brittany Hochevar finished ninth, their second T10 finish this season
– Kimberly DiCello/Kendra Vanzwieten finished ninth, their best since the Xiamen Open in September 2015
– Irene Pollock/Caitlin Ledoux tied for 17th, eliminated in Round 1, their best FIVB finish since finishing fourth in Parana in 2014
May 3-8 Sochi Open
May 5-8 AVP Huntington Beach Open
May 10-15 Antalya Open
May 11-16 U21 World Championships
May 17-22 Cincinnati Open
May 20-22 NVL Port St. Lucie
May 24-29 Moscow Grand Slam
June 2-5 AVP Seattle
June 7-12 Hamburg Grand Slam
June 14-19 Olsztyn Grand Slam
June 16-19 AVP New York City
June 24-26 NVL San Antonio
June 28-July 3 Porec Major