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14 Men’s teams 2-0 in Pool Play at FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam

USA's Jake Gibb, left, blocks against Latvia's Toms Smedins as Gibb and Casey Patterson, the top-seeded team, are 2-0 in pool play through Wednesday at the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam.

Long Beach, Calif., USA, July 24, 2013—Fourteen men’s tandems from 11 countries remain undefeated Wednesday after the second of three rounds of pool play in the 32-team men’s main draw at the $440,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam double-gender tournament. The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is back in the USA for the first time in a decade. Three teams from the home-standing United States along with two from beach volleyball powerhouse Brazil along with one each from Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Spain and Switzerland are 2-0 after their respective victories Wednesday afternoon in Long Beach.

The 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is back in the USA for the first time in a decade. With the event being held for the first time in Long Beach the purpose-built site is located on the expansive glistening sands of Marina Green Park on East Lakeshore Drive. Matches at the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam, presented by ASICS, are scheduled to start at 8:00 a.m. Thursday. General admission is free to the event and VIP tickets are on sale through the event website at The men will play their last of three pool play matches starting at 8 a.m. and come back to play their first round of elimination matches starting at 2 p.m. The women’s round of 16 meantime will start at noon. The last matches Thursday will be the women’s quarterfinals with two at 4 p.m. and one each at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Continuing their winning ways during Wednesday’s second day of competition, the men’s top five seeds all won their second pool play matches included two teams from Brazil and the United States, along with one from Latvia. USA’s top-seeded Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson stopped Latvia’s 17th-seeded Tom Smedins/Ruslans Sorokins, 21-19, 21-18 in 39 minutes while USA’s fourth-seeded Sean Rosenthal/Phil Dalhausser hung tough to defeat Sweden’s 20th-seeded Stefan Gunnarsson/Hannes Brinkborg, 21-18, 21-19 in 39 minutes.

Leading the South American powerhouse on Wednesday were Brazil’s second-seeded Padro Salgado/Bruno Schmidt, who are leading the 2013 FIVB World Tour, who defeated Norway’s 18th-seeded Iver Horrem/Geir Eithun, 21-17, 21-14 in 38 minutes and Brazil’s fifth-seeded Alison Cerutti/Emanuel Rego bounced back from their opening pool play loss on Tuesday to slip past Canada’s 28th-seeded Grant O’Gorman/Sam Pedlow, 24-26, 21-12, 16-14 in 49 minutes.

The other top-five seeded teams, Latvia’s third-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins stayed unbeaten although they were extended to three sets by Mexico’s 19th-seeded Lombardo Ontiveros/Juan Virgen before winning 21-15, 18-21, 15-10 in a 51-minute match.

Also unbeaten after their first two pool play matches are Australia’s 10th-seeded Christopher McHugh/Isaac Kapa, Austria’s eighth-seeded Robin Seidl/Alexander Huber, Czech Republic’s 16th-seeded Robert Kufa/Jan Hadrava, Germany’s 13th-seeded Mischa Urbatzka/Markus Bockermann, Italy’s sixth-seeded Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo, Spain’s 14th-seeded Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira, Switzerland’s 15th-seeded Philip Gabathuler/Jonas Weingart and USA’s 11th-seeded Todd Rogers/Ryan Doherty.

For only the second time in FIVB World Tour history, the United States has five teams in each gender in the main draw. For the men, USA’s men’s teams are Nick Lucena/John Hyden, Rosenthal/Dalhausser, Gibb/ Patterson, Rogers/ Doherty and Stafford Slick/Casey Jennings.  The USA men’s teams ended the second day with a combined pool play record of 7-3 record. Lucena/Hyden are 1-1 and Slick/Jennings are 0-2 heading into Thursday’s action.

USA’s Rogers/Doherty, another new team this year, won their match over Italy’s 27th-seeded Gianluca Casadei/Paolo Ficosecco, 21-17, 21-15 in a 36 minute match.

Rogers said after his team’s victory, “We are playing pretty well but we still have some bugs there in my opinion. Just easy point opportunities that we are not taking care of the ball- the passing, the setting, making poor decisions. But, we are moving forward which is better than staying the same so I am pleased. We will talk about strategy. We beat the Italians in Switzerland (Nicolai/Lupo who they are playing tomorrow) but they are a really good team. I didn’t think they played all that well today.  Ryan had two good games and one poor game. It will depend on how Ryan plays passing wise. If they get on him early then it will be a struggle but if he is passing then he will be fine.”

The FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam, presented by ASICS is the showcase part of the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a SoCal beach festival that includes 4-person and 6-person recreational events, a youth tournament and nightly music concerts. Also part of the event is the inaugural ASICS World Series Cup featuring two teams in each gender from the USA against two international teams with the finals next Sunday. In addition to the international live FIVB telecasts, the event also includes 23 hours of live or same-day telecasts split between NBC Sports Network, Universal Network and NBC TV Network. The teams selected for the ASICS World Series Cup will be officially announced on Tuesday.

The women’s semifinals and medal matches of the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam will be held on Friday with the men’s semifinals also on Friday and medal matches closing the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam on Saturday. Play Tuesday through Friday will start at 8 a.m. and at 11 a.m. on Saturday for the men’s medal matches.

The gold medal teams in each gender in the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam will each split $33,000, the silver $22,000, the bronze $16,500 and fourth place $12,900. The women’s medal matches will be held on Friday and the men’s medal matches on Saturday. The FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam is the 291st FIVB international men’s event since the FIVB began play in 1987 and the 253rd FIVB women’s tournament since women started international competition in 1992.

The 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is comprised of 10 Grand Slam events and the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. Not part of the World Tour but still counting towards the FIVB World Rankings, the FIVB yearly calendar also includes seven Open events, five double-gender and two women-only. There is a double-gender FIVB Open event being playing this week as well in Anapa, Russia.

After another week off next week, the 10-Grand Slam 2013 FIVB World Tour will continue in two weeks in Germany at the $440,000 FIVB Berlin Grand Slam. The season finale of the tour will be in Brazil in mid-October at the $440,000 FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam.

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