First Dutch win and Brazilian dominance at Huntington Beach – Americans suffer on home turf
It is huge. 48 teams per gender, double-elimination format. Four days of main draw plus two days of qualifiers. 239 matches in total. And the event is competitive, comparable to the World Championships in 2017. The Huntington Beach Open are a joint FIVB and AVP event. Like a regular FIVB World Tour tournament, teams are from all over the world. But the format and the organization is based on AVP standards.
Black Saturday on Centre Court
At AVP only events, the home crowd is used to seeing U.S. teams winning. But this time, there is international competition. And the American teams are in big trouble. Despite an open registration process with many U.S. teams participating, most of them are eliminated early in the tournament. Saturday is high noon. On a long and windy day, U.S. teams are swept away and do not win a single match on Centre Court. All seven matches are lost. All American top teams are eliminated: Klineman/ Ross, Dalhausser/Lucena, Summer/Hughes, Sweat/Fendrick, Hyden/Brunner. Tri Bourne commenting for the AVP:
“Americans are dropping like flies today. One reason could be that these are all new partnerships.”
Dutchmen with strong serves, Barbara/Fernanda claim another gold
This might be a factor for some teams but not for Dalhausser/Lucena. The top-seeds are beaten by both Latvian teams in two straight sets. The strong Latvian #1 team Samoilovs/Smedins makes it to the semifinals that are played without American participation. The Latvians end up forth after being defated by former World Champions Brouwer/Meussen (Netherlands) who claim gold in two sets against current World Champions Evandro/Andre Loyola (Brazil). Herrera/Gavira from Spain win the bronze medal in a close match against the Latvians.
In only 36 minutes, the Dutch post a 2:0 (21:16, 21:15) win over the Brazilians. Coming up with four aces, Brouwer/Meussen put a lot of pressure on the reigning World Champions who normally benefit from Evandro’s great serves. Alexander Brouwer after their win:
“You can see in Beach Volleyball these days service pressure is such an important thing. We have so many tall guys that if you bring them in perfect position at the net they crush everything. So the serve is more and more important and I’m happy in this final we showed this.”
The women’s competition is dominated by Brazil. Just as in Fort Lauderdale beginning of March, Barbara/Fernanda claim gold in an all-Brazilian final against Carol/Maria Antonelli. They post a 2:1 in 53 minutes to win their second American gold. In the bronze medal match Laboureur/Sude from Germany beat Canadian top team Pavan/Humana-Paredes 2:0 after winning an incredible first set 35:33.