COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – All eight of USA Volleyball’s teams at the FIVB Beach World Championships advanced to the elimination rounds at the 2017 edition of the event.
The United States had all eight of its teams make it past pool play into the elimination rounds of the FIVB Beach World Championships, which started on Wednesday for the women, and will begin on Aug. 3 for the men. Emily Day/Nicole Branagh tied for 17th after being eliminated in the Round of 32 to Olympians April Ross and Lauren Fendrick.
Ross and Fendrick were the first team at the event to win their pool, 3-0, and advance to the elimination rounds. They drew compatriots Day/Branagh after that pair went 2-1 in pool play and finished second in Pool A.
In the all-American elimination match on Wednesday, Day and Branagh easily took the first set, 21-10. In the second frame, Ross and Fendrick battled back, 21-18, to send it to a third. It would be Ross/Fendrick with the victory in 49 minutes, taking the final set 15-11.
“We stuck with it and didn’t get frustrated with the prior plays that didn’t go our way,” said Fendrick. “We were going to make the adjustments because we always have done that really well.”
“We played well, honestly,” Branagh said to the FIVB following the match. “We followed our game plan well and we executed it. It’s one of those matches like single elimination and you’re playing your own country, so there are probably some nerves involved. We played a steady game and kept the pressure on them. And they’re going to play better after that.
“We had a chance there in the second, until the momentum shifted a little bit, and just a couple of points here and there,” Branagh continued. “I’m proud of what we did here this week after just two practices together. We got better as the tournament went on and we hate to lose of course, but this was a great opportunity to play in the World Championships in this great setting and with an amazing partner.”
— USAV Beach (@USAVBeach) August 2, 2017
In the two other women’s Round of 32 matches, Brooke Sweat/Summer Ross earned a three-set victory against China’s Chen Xue/Xinxin Wang, 16-21, 21-12, 15-10. Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes won their match against Spain’s Elsa McMillan/Amaranta Navarro, 21-16, 21-18.
All four of USA’s men’s teams have advanced to Thursday’s Round of 32. Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena won their pool, 3-0, which included a victory against U.S. team John Hyden/Ryan Doherty.
“We won our pool, but it hasn’t been smooth so we have to play better to make it deep in this tournament,” Dalhausser told the FIVB following his win against Poland on Wednesday. “Ryan (Doherty) and John (Hyden) played so well against us Saturday night, that we are lucky we aren’t 2-1. So we’ll take it and hopefully we can build from today.”
Hyden and Doherty were 2-1 in the same pool as Dalhausser/Lucena, and will face Latvia in their first elimination round.
“We come out of our pool now guaranteed, so we’re happy with how we’ve played so far and hopefully we can keep this going in the elimination rounds,” said Doherty. “It was a very different year than I was picturing it, because I was planning on playing with Johnny Mayer. Tri (Bourne) going down with that weird illness threw a little wrench in the works with most of the American teams. I was able to glide into Hyden and play pretty well.”
Hyden and Doherty partnership included just five FIVB World Tour events as a team prior to the World Championships, all during 2017. Their best finish was silver in Olsztyn, Poland, the event that directly preceded the World Championships.
“We definitely need more practice time,” Hyden said of his partnership with Doherty. “We’ve been learning as we go. Ryan’s been soaking up a lot that I’ve been giving him, and it’s been working.”
Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb were the first U.S. men’s team to lock up their Round of 32 berth, following their 2-1 pool finish on August 1. They will play Australia on Thursday, while Casey Patterson/Theo Brunner play home team Austria.
Team USA standings at the finish of play on Aug. 2:
Emily Day/Nicole Branagh, Tied for 17th after falling to Lauren Fendrick/April Ross in the Round of 32
Fendrick/Ross, Advance to the Round of 16 to play Czech Republic
Brooke Sweat/Summer Ross, Advance to the Round of 16 to play Czech Republic
Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes, Advance to the Round of 16 to play Germany
Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena, 3-0 in pool play, face Italy in Round of 32
Jake Gibb/Taylor Crabb, 2-1 in pool play, face Australia in Round of 32
Casey Patterson/Theo Brunner, 2-1 in pool play, face Austria in Round of 32
John Hyden/Ryan Doherty, 2-1 in pool play, face Latvia in Round of 32
|2017 FIVB Beach World Championships roster|
|Brooke Sweat||Summer Ross||Main Draw|
|Lauren Fendrick||April Ross||Jon Daze||Main Draw|
|Kelly Claes||Sara Hughes||Jose Loiola||Main Draw|
|Emily Day||Nicole Branagh||Marcio Sicoli||Main Draw|
|Phil Dalhausser||Nick Lucena||Jason Lochhead||Main Draw|
|Casey Patterson||Theo Brunner||Rich Lambourne||Main Draw|
|Jake Gibb||Taylor Crabb||Marcio Sicoli||Main Draw|
|John Hyden||Ryan Doherty||Ty Tramblie||Main Draw|
|Sean Scott||Team Lead/Video|
|Aimee Miyazawa||USAV Beach Head Athletic Trainer|
|Anthony Darmiento||USAV Strength and Conditioning|
|Kevin Pierce||Sports Medicine, DC DACBSP|
|Elmo Agatep||Team Doctor, M.D.|