FIVB Vienna Major

Vienna Major: Six American Teams Moving on as Stressfully as Possible


Photo: FIVB

There’s no short route in Vienna. Not anymore, for the men, at least. Per usual, the U.S. men didn’t make it easy, nor did they make it any less stressful on the fans back home in Vienna for the penultimate major of the year.

Three of the four men’s teams took a loss on day one of pool, the only winner being Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb, who beat an American team, Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb. It put the three remaining – Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, Bourne and Crabb, Reid Priddy and Theo Brunner – in the elimination rounds early.

Dalhausser and Lucena, after a loss to Qatar’s Cherif Samba and Ahmed Tijan, needed a victory over the hot Swiss team of Nico Beeler and Marco Krattiger. Bourne and Crabb were required to beat Austrians Robin Seidl and Philipp Waller, in Austria, on a raucous stadium court. Brunner and Priddy, following a narrow loss to Latvians Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs, matched up with Brazil’s Alison Cerutti and Alvaro Filho, who are playing as well as anyone in the world.

Dalhausser and Lucena won with little stress, Dalhausser blocking the final point of a 21-17, 21-18 win to advance.

Bourne and Crabb? Not so much.

They went down big in the first set, only to win, 22-20. Then they dropped the second, 15-21, before eeking out a 16-14 victory in the third to break pool.

But they advanced, which is really all that matters at this point, bye or not. No American men will have a bye in tomorrow’s elimination rounds, though three of four do remain – Brunner and Priddy lost to Cerutti and Filho.

The women, too, have three left in Vienna.

April Ross and Alix Klineman stayed as torrid as ever, winning pool, getting a day off on Thursday. On Friday, they’ll match up with Czechs Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova to advance to the quarterfinals.

After beating Latvians Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka in the first round, Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman will meet Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil, assuring that at least one American team will be in the quarterfinals.

Not that that’s ever much of a concern for American women. They don’t keep it quite as stressful as the men. Either way, six of eight teams remain, with only Brunner and Priddy and Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat, who finished 13th, out of the running.