Kerri Walsh Jennings, Brooke Sweat Sweep Pool Play in Itapema
Photo credit: FIVB
Those three Olympic gold medals, and another of the bronze variety, are no coincidence, it seems. Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat, in an Olympic push that could have once seemed a bit of a stretch to some should now be officially considered a more than legitimate run at Tokyo 2020, which would be Walsh Jennings’ sixth Olympics and Sweat’s second.
After beating Americans Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil in the country quota, 21-12, 21-14, and then Colomobia in the qualifier, 21-10, 21-18, Walsh Jennings and Sweat have continued their tour de force in Itapema, Brazil, a four-star FIVB.
They opened main draw with a 23-21, 21-11 win over Russia’s Svetlana Kholomina and Nadezda Makroguzova, which preceded a convincing win over Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, 21-18, 21-14.
Pavan and Humana-Paredes, formerly ranked No. 1 in the world, recently made the AVP Huntington Beach finals, losing a three-setter to April Ross and Alix Klineman.
All but two American teams, both men and women, made it out of pool in Brazil, while the remaining two still have a chance to do so. Sarah Hughes and Summer Ross also won both on Thursday, while Ross and Klineman and Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman split. Hughes and Ross and Walsh Jennings and Sweat both received first round byes in Friday’s elimination rounds.
On the men’s side, Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb beat Switzerland before falling to Norway’s Anders Mol and Christian Sorum. Chase Budinger and Casey Patterson continued their torrid streak, which began with a finals appearance in AVP Huntington, followed by a country quota win to claim a spot in the four-star Jinjiang qualifier next week, all of which preceded a pair of wins over Chileans Marco and Esteban Grimalt and Switzerland’s Nico Beeler and Marco Krattiger.
Theo Brunner and Reid Priddy, coming off a finals appearance in Malaysia, won both, topping Latvia’s Edgars Tocs and Martins Plavins and Dutchmen Steven van de Velde and Christiaan Varenhorst.
Ryan Doherty and John Hyden and Stafford Slick and Billy Allen, at the time of this writing, still have yet to play their second pool play match. Both must win to make it out of pool.
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