Men’s Pool Play at FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam starts with upset
Long Beach, Calif., USA, July 23, 2013—On a day where the temperature soared to 92F degrees on the floor of the stadium court, cool swirling ocean breezes could keep the first of three rounds of men’s pool play from producing a major upset during Tuesday’s start of the 32-team men’s main draw at the $440,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam double-gender tournament as the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is back in the USA for the first time in a decade. USA’s 21st-seeded Nick Lucena/John Hyden upset Brazil’s fifth-seeded Alison Cerutti/Emanuel Rego, 23-21, 21-16 in 39 minutes.
With the second of three rounds of men’s pool play Wednesday while the women play their final pool play match and first round of single elimination, the other four top-seeded teams all won their opening matches in two sets as the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour resumed in North America. Following Pool Play (Wednesday for the women and Thursday for the men) the single-elimination bracket for the final 24 teams begins. The event is 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.
Main Draw pool play matches at the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam, presented by ASICS, are scheduled to continue at 8:00 a.m. Wednesday on four courts with the final rounds of action for women and the last two of three pool play matches for men. The women will also play their first round of single-elimination play Wednesday afternoon. General admission is free to the event and VIP tickets are on sale through the event website at www.wsobv.com. The last match is scheduled to start on each of the four courts at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The top-seeds winning their opening matches included two teams from the United States, along with one each from Brazil and Latvia. USA’s top-seeded Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson struggled some before silencing Italy’s Alex Ranghieri/Andrea Tomatis, 21-17, 21-15 in 34 minutes while USA’s fourth-seeded Sean Rosenthal/Phil Dalhausser survived a bit of a scare but overcame Switzerland’s Andreas Sutter/Roman Sutter, 24-22, 21-18 in 40 minutes. Brazil’s second-seeded Pedro Salgado/Bruno Schmidt, who are leading the 2013 FIVB World Tour, opened pool play by defeated Austria’s Peter Eglseer/Felix Koraimann, 21-18, 21-12 in 36 minutes while Latvia’s third-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins stopped USA’s Stafford Slick/Casey Jennings, 21-14, 21-15 in 40 minutes.
“I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I do know we won which is pretty unbelievable against such a great team who are former FIVB World Champions,” said Lucena, who is playing his first international season with the veteran Hyden. “The Brazilians honestly didn’t seem to be themselves, and we played hard and didn’t make too many mistakes and pulled it out in two sets, although we could have lost both sets. We just played well and they didn’t, that’s the bottom line. It’s really an honor to beat a team like Alison/Emanuel. Maybe we have some home sand advantage.”
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 Lucena/Hyden, Rosenthal/Dalhausser, Gibb/ Patterson, Todd Rogers/Ryan Doherty and Slick/Jennings. The USA men’s teams ended the first day with a 4-1 record, Rogers/Doherty, another new team this year, won their match over Canada’s 22nd-seeded Christian Redmann/Maverick Hatch in two sets, 25-23 and 21-13 in 38 minutes.
Following his team’s win, USA’s Gibb said, “We are improving and that’s the most important thing right now. Sean is a good teammate and we compliment each other well. We did our job and that’s what counts. The young Swiss team played very hard, but we didn’t want to go three sets and were able to close it out after trailing in the second set 12-14. They’re brothers and they played like a much more experienced team but they grew up playing a lot together.”
Patterson reflected on playing back in the USA, saying, “It was a little emotional in the warm ups being home. Being able to play in front of my family and friends was so exciting and I had to calm down a little bit. I was happy to give them a show and get that first win. Between me and Jake we had a ton of family and friends and it was awesome. It'll just get more intense as the week goes on. I just love it and I am so looking forward to it.”
Playing his first match with a new partner after his regular partner this year--the legendary Ricardo Santos pulled out of the tournament on Monday with an injury, Brazil’s ninth-seeded Alvaro Filho, who won the last tour stop with Ricardo, and new teammate Edson Barros, were pushed to three sets but finally defeated Puerto Rico’s 24th-seeded Rogerto Rodriguez-Bertran/Hector Soto, 21-13, 19-21, 19-17 in 57 minutes.
In the longest match of the opening day of main draw pool play, Switzerland’s 15th-seeded Philip Gabathuler/Jonas Weingart took 65 minutes to come from way behind and finally edge Norway’s 18th-seeded Iver Horrem/Geir Eithun, 9-21, 24-22, 22-20.
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.