What USA pairs must do to interrupt pool


TLAXCALA, MEXICO — Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes didn’t should be in Tlaxcala on Sunday afternoon. Didn’t must take the 30-minute Uber from Apizaco, the place their pool — Pool C — is competing. However a change of surroundings is sweet. So there they have been, having fun with what’s, to them, a day without work, which means some enjoyable video games of no bounce, a bit of go and set. Messing round with some jump-sets and shoot units and jump-shoots. Numerous laughs. Smiles.

Morale, it was not troublesome to see, is excessive within the Cheng-Hughes camp.

Make no mistake, nevertheless, the laid-back nature of their area journey to Tlaxcala was earned, not given.

They opened pool play of the Seashore Volleyball World Championships with a pair of beatings, first to Mexico’s Esperanza Albarran and Yeray Vidaurrazaga (21-4, 21-10), then to Germans Karla Borger and Sandra Ittlinger (21-17, 21-12). No matter what occurs throughout Monday’s 9 p.m. nightcap in opposition to Brazil’s Agatha and Rebecca, they’re nearly assured the highest spot in pool, and assured, on the minimal, the second seed.

The distinction between popping out first or second is minimal, because the one and the 2 from each pool start playoffs in the identical place, seeded instantly into Wednesday’s spherical of 32 single-elimination playoffs.

Not that you must inform Cheng of this, or her place because the greater than probably No. 1 seed of their pool.

“To me, if we lose, my mindset is there’s nonetheless an opportunity we nonetheless won’t break pool,” she mentioned after the 45-minute follow in Tlaxcala.

So no, they won’t be taking Agatha and Rebecca evenly, or utilizing it as follow reps or a fine-tuning match for the vital playoff rounds to come back. They are going to be trying to pour it on as they did in matches one and two.

“We’ve actually simply been taking it one match at a time,” Hughes added.

Their place is an enviable one, and one that’s matched by fellow Individuals Kristen Nuss and Taryn Kloth, whose pool relies in Humantla, and Betsi Flint and Julia Scoles, based mostly in Tlaxcala. All three groups have received with out dropping a set. Just one workforce has managed to attain 19 in opposition to the triumvirate of Individuals. All three are assured to maneuver on, no matter what occurs when Nuss and Kloth play Brazil’s Andressa and Victoria on Monday afternoon and when Flint and Scoles meet Italians Marta Menegatti and Valentina Gottardi at 3:30.

Whereas the ladies nonetheless have one match remaining, three of the 4 USA males’s groups are completed pool play. Miles Partain and Andy Benesh emerged unscathed, an undefeated efficiency capped by a 16-21, 21-15, 15-10 victory over France’s Arnaud Gauthier-Rat and Youssef Krou, during which Benesh piled up 10 blocks.

Trevor Crabb and Theo Brunner additionally claimed the highest spot of their pool, albeit in essentially the most unlikely of fashions. They entered their Sunday evening match in opposition to George Wanderley and Andre Loyola pondering a win may need them end second, behind Ukraine’s Sergiy Popov and Eduard Reznik. A loss and, worst come to worst, they’d end third, nonetheless breaking pool.


Chase Budinger and Miles Evans, on their final gasp, required a blowout win over Popov and Ukraine. A blowout is what they acquired, a 21-15, 21-11 shellacking that immediately, drastically, shifted the stakes of the match on middle court docket between the USA and Brazil, the place the winner now received the pool and the loser could be despatched house packing.

Crabb and Brunner received, 19-21, 21-19, 15-12, surviving and advancing in one of many wildest manners potential. 

Whereas 5 USA groups are actually within the comfortable and comfortable place of assured breaking pool, the identical can’t be mentioned for the remaining three.

Beneath is what each workforce remaining must do as a way to break pool on the Seashore Volleyball World Championships.

Alix Klineman-Hailey Harward-Beach Volleyball World Championships
Hailey Harward, left, and Alix Klineman in Tlaxcala/Volleyball World photograph

Alix Klineman, Hailey Harward in a win-and-in in opposition to China

Alix Klineman and Hailey Harward had the possibility to clinch a berth into the playoffs Sunday. An upset win over Cinja Tillman and Svenja Muller, the 2022 World Championship bronze medalists, on Saturday set them up with a win-and-in match in opposition to Brazil’s Taina Silva and Victoria Lopes.

“We’ve solely had one different match earlier than this match,” a beaming Harward mentioned after their 25-23, 21-14 upset over Germany. “Making an attempt to go in with no expectations and attempting to imagine.”

Silva and Lopes, maybe fueled by an added sense of urgency after getting upset by China’s Fan Wang and Jie Dong on Saturday, swept Klineman and Harward, 21-17, 21-17  early Sunday afternoon. On the similar time, on middle court docket, Tillman and Muller swept Wang and Dong, 21-13, 21-16, leaving all 4 Pool Okay groups 1-1.

It places Klineman and Harward in one other win-and-in state of affairs, the place a victory in opposition to China at 9 p.m. Monday not solely ensures a break from pool, however one of many high two seeds as properly, the place they are going to start playoffs within the spherical of 32. In the event that they lose it’s going to come all the way down to level differential between them and the loser of Germany vs. Brazil. Given the large level unfold in Germany’s win over China, ought to Klineman and Harward lose, it might be useful if Germany then handles Brazil by a large margin, as ties are damaged through level differential.

Terese Cannon, Megan Kraft probably shifting on

Like Klineman and Harward, Terese Cannon and Megan Kraft stand 1-1 after a loss to Spain’s TCU pair of Daniela Alvarez and Tania Moreno (28-26, 21-15) on Saturday and a easy win over Mexico’s Ivanna Rivera and Susana Torres (21-11, 22-20) on Sunday. A win Monday in opposition to China’s Xinyi Xia and Chen Xue will assure them a minimum of the No. 2  seed, although they’d probably lose the tiebreak for the highest spot with China after their sweep over Mexico (21-12, 21-9) and a forfeit win in opposition to Moreno and Alvarez after Moreno was injured.

A win is the best answer for Cannon and Kraft to interrupt pool, although given Mexico’s poor level differential, and the questionable well being of Spain, they’re basically a certain wager to interrupt pool. It’s largely a matter of what place and seed they are going to take after they do.

Tri Bourne, Chaim Schalk in a win-and-in vs. Germany

Tri Bourne and Chaim Schalk are the ultimate USA males’s workforce with a match remaining in pool play, and it could very properly require their finest efficiency of the season to get out. After back-to-back losses to Poland’s Piotr Kantor and Jakub Zdybek (21-19, 21-19) and Chile’s Noe Aravena and Vicente Droguett (21-17, 24-22) Bourne and Schalk now should upset top-seeded Germans Nils Ehlers and Clemens Wickler, the present world No. 7 who has been a tour de drive this weekend. In two matches in Mexico, Wickler and Ehlers haven’t allowed greater than 14 factors in a set. No pair within the 48-team area has an even bigger level differential than the Germans.

To high all of it, Bourne is 0-6 in his profession in opposition to Wickler, though Schalk is 2-1, and so they went to a few in a earlier matchup on the Tepic Elite16, which Germany received (28-30, 21-17, 15-5).

There’s one factor that perhaps, kinda, sorta, probably bodes properly for Bourne and Schalk, and that’s the blowouts that Germany has dealt to each Poland and Chile (21-12, 21-14; 21-7, 21-13, respectively). The poor level differential for Poland and Chile makes it a digital win-and-in state of affairs for Bourne and Schalk, barring one thing wildly uncommon from the Poland-Chile match, although this has been a match of very uncommon outcomes, so such an occasion can’t be dominated out.

Germany is all however assured to take the highest spot in pool, making their 9 a.m. bout with Bourne and Schalk basically a follow match. Whereas nothing is on the road for Ehlers and Wickler, the whole lot is on the road for Bourne and Schalk, the dichotomy of which might flip the tenor of the USA’s ugly week to this point, because it did within the Ukraine vs. Budinger-Evans match.

Crazier issues have occurred.

It’s World Champs, in any case.



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