POREC, Croatia – Stiff competition halted the U.S. from advancing past the quarterfinals at the Porec Major, one of the final events leading up to the Olympic Games.
The two Olympic bound American men’s teams tied for fifth on Saturday night in Croatia, as both fell in their respective quarterfinal matches. Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena lost to Canada’s Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk 25-23, 21-17 and Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson fell to Lativa’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins 21-18, 21-16.
Despite opening 3-0 in pool play and not dropping a set all the way through the second round, Gibb and Patterson were cut short of a medal after facing Latvia in the quarterfinals. After dropping the first set 21-18, they were unable to rally a comeback and eventually fell in two, 21-17 in the second frame.
Seeded third at the event were Dalhausser and Lucena. The duo opened their first day of play with a pair of wins but dropped a three-setter to Mexico to finish pool play. Their point ratio was large enough to afford them the top spot in pool, advancing them automatically into the second round.
In round two, Dalhausser/Lucena met fellow Americans John Hyden and Tri Bourne. Hyden/Bourne had already faced their share of compatriots, having been seeded in the same pool as Gibb/Patterson, who served them their only loss in pool play. In the first round, Hyden/Bourne topped Italy in two sets.
Hyden and Bourne picked up the first frame 21-13, but it was Dalhausser and Lucena who put it in high gear to close out the match in three, 22-20, 15-10, to earn a spot in the quarterfinal. Against the sixth-seeded Canadians, Dalhausser and Lucena were eliminated for just the third time ever in a quarterfinal.
Only two U.S. women’s teams competed at this week’s FIVB World Tour stop. Olympic-qualified Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat tied for 25th after drawing a difficult pool between German, Netherlands and Brazilian teams, going 0-3.
Both of USA’s qualifier teams, Kelley Larsen/Betsi Metter and Sean Rosenthal/Jeremy Casebeer, were eliminated in the second round of qualification.
WEEK IN REVIEW
FIVB Porec Major
– Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena tied for fifth, their eighth Top 5 finish in 2016
– Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson tied for fifth, their seventh Top 5 finish in 2016
– John Hyden/Tri Bourne tied for ninth, their 10th Top 10 finish in 2016
– Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat tied for fifth for the fifth time this year
– Lost in qualification: Sean Rosenthal/Jeremy Casebeer; Kelley Larsen/Betsi Metter
July 1-3 NORCECA North Bay
July 5-10 Gstaad Major
July 9 Announcement of Olympic pool placements
July 14-16 NVL Columbus
July 14-17 AVP Manhattan Beach Open
July 15-17 NORCECA Varadero
Aug. 5-18 Olympic Games beach volleyball matches
Aug. 5-7 NORCECA Boqueron
Aug. 11-13 NVL Hermosa Beach
Aug. 23-28 Long Beach Grand Slam
Aug. 26-28 NVL Virginia Beach