Americans Doherty & Lucena Tandems Earn Transavia Grand Slam Break-through
The Hague, The Netherlands, July 18, 2014 - Ryan Doherty and Nick Lucena broke through the “ranks” at this week’s men’s FIVB World Tour event here Friday as the 11th-seeded Americans were the only pairs from outside the top-eight seeded teams to advance to the quarter-finals of the US$1-million Transavia Grand Slam presented by Bas Van de Goor Foundation.
The only pair seeded among the top eight teams not to reach Saturday’s quarter-final matches in the ninth men’s event on the 2014 men’s FIVB World Tour calendar was second-seeded Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo of Italy as Doherty and Lucena scored a pair of wins over teams from Austria and the United States to reach the “elite eight” of an international tournament for the third-time in the last four events.
After posting a 2-0 (21-17 and 21-17) win over 15th-seeded compatriots Tri Bourne and John Hyden in the second-round of Friday’s elimination bracket, Doherty and Lucena advanced to a Saturday final match against sixth-seeded Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel of Poland. It will be the second meeting at the Transavia Grand Slam for the two teams as the Poles posted a 2-0 (21-17 and 21-16) win over Doherty and Lucena in pool play Thursday.
The win over Bourne and Hyden was especially “sweet” for Doherty and Lucena, who dropped a 2-0 gold medal match decision to their American rivals last month in Germany. Last week at the Gstaad Grand Slam in the Swiss Alps, Doherty captured the bronze medal by defeating Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik of Germany for a spot on the podium.
Other quarter-final matches Saturday will feature eighth-seeded Emanuel Rego/Pedro Salgado of Brazil challenging fourth-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins of Latvia, third-seeded Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil meeting the seventh-seeded Erdmann/Matysik and fifth-seeded Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira of Spain facing top-seeded Sean Rosenthal/Phil Dalhausser of United States.
As the host country, The Netherlands had two men’s teams playing in the second-round of the elimination bracket. In one of Friday’s final matches, 10th-seeded and reigning FIVB world champions Alexander and Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen lost 2-0 (30-28 and 21-18) to Herrera and Gavira while ninth-seeded Jon Stiekema and Christiaan Varnhorst were eliminated by a 2-0 (21-15 and 21-17) score by Erdmann and Matysik. It was the German’s second win of the competition over a Dutch team as Erdmann and Matysik defeated Brouwer and Meeuwsen Thursday in pool play.
As a “prelude” to the 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, the final two days of the Transavia Grand Slam will be staged at the Scheveningen courts where the medal matches will be played Sunday at The Hague Beach Stadium. The final two teams in both gender’s competition with be competing for the gold medals and a share of the $70,000 first-place prize for each winning team.
Following this week’s event, the FIVB World Tour returns to the United States for the second-straight year as Long Beach in southern California hosts another $1-million event. The international circuit returns to Europe in August for stops in Austria (Klagenfurt, July 29-August 3) and Poland (Stare Jablonki, August 19-24).