All America And Canada in Sunday’s Semifinals of NORCECA Boca Chica
It is one of the great ironies of beach volleyball that American teams sometimes don’t travel to other countries to beat the myriad international teams in the field.
They travel across the world to beat one another.
Such is the strangeness of this Olympic race, in which only two teams from each country can qualify. And when two American teams in the Olympic hunt — Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat, and Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman, in this case — are in the same field, it’s as much about being the best American team as it is about being the best team.
Sunday’s semifinals at the NORCECA Continental Championships in Boca Chica will present such an opportunity, where Walsh Jennings and Sweat and Stockman and Larsen will play one another for the second time this season. Both matches have gone in Walsh Jennings’ and Sweat’s favor, the first coming in a country quota in Ostrava, where they would win in straight sets and go on to take fourth. The second meeting came in Moscow in August, with Walsh Jennings and Sweat winning 15-10 in the third.
The only way either team will benefit from this NORCECA is with a first or second-place finish, putting extra value on the semifinal. Meanwhile, the men’s side features another all-American clash, between Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb and Ryan Doherty and Miles Evans.
Gibb and Crabb have yet to drop a set, though Guatemala did at least provide a bit of a match, going 29-27 in the second set. Doherty and Evans fell to Canada’s Simon Fecteau-Botin and Grant O’Gorman, 16-21, 16-21, but were the beneficiaries of a forfeit from Mexico’s top team of Lombardo Ontiveros and Juan Virgen.
The men’s winner will see the winner of O’Gorman and Fecteau-Botin and fellow Canadians Sam Schachter and Sam Pedlow in the finals. On the women’s side, Canadians Nicole and Megan McNamara play Cuba for a shot at the winner of Walsh Jennings-Sweat and Larsen-Stockman.
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