Larsen And Metter Steal Two Wins As Lucky Losers

By Tyson Rodgers | June 11, 2014, 4:44 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 11, 2014) – Despite losing in the qualification round and being placed on the reserve list, Kelley Larsen and Betsi Metter never lost hope of playing in the FIVB Beach Volleyball U23 World Championships’ main draw taking place in Myslowice, Poland.

Thanks to a fateful delay from a Nigerian team stuck at customs, Larsen (Jamul, Calif.) and Metter (Phoenix, Ariz.) entered Wednesday’s main draw with seconds to spare.

“We did not know what was happening until the coin toss, if we were playing or not,” Larsen said in an interview with FIVB. “But we came ready to play no matter what happened. I think that really helped us, that we were thinking about playing.”

The duo quickly made use of their opportunity by downing the number-one seeded Jagoda Gruszczynska and Karolina Baran of Poland, 25-23, 21-12, in a Pool A match.

“We came out just so pumped and so excited to play and that translated into our game,” Larsen said. “We worked really hard and kept fighting and we ended up on top.”

In the pair’s second match of the day, Larsen-Metter knocked off Finland’s Taru Lahti and Anniina Parkkinen 21-16, 21-10.

“It was a great day,” Larsen said of the straight-set wins. “Especially coming off not knowing if we are going to be in it and beating the No.1 seed. That was big for us and we are super pumped.”

Larsen-Metter will face Kazakhstan’s Puerto Rico’s No. 25 Gabriela Roman/Lina Bernier and Kazakhstan’s No. 12 Bakhtygul Samalikova/Alexandra Varassova on Thursday to continue Pool A play.

After winning their way into the main draw on Tuesday, the partnership of Sara Hughes (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Kellie Woolever (Long Beach, Calif.) continued their success in Poland by picking up a pair of wins on Wednesday.

Hughes-Woolever defeated Germany’s Anika Krebs and Yanina Weiland 21-19, 21-16, before downing Netherlands’ Lauri Luijken and Jolien Sinnema 21-18, 21-10 later in the afternoon.  The Americans will continue Pool B play with two matches on Thursday against the No. 2 dup Nicole Laird/Mariafe Artacho from Australia and Lativia’s No. 26 pair of Marta Ozonlina/Ruta Treija.

Lara Dykstra (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Jace Pardon (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) spilt two matches in their first action of the 2014 U23 Worlds. The pair lost to Venezuela’s Norisbeth Gonzalez and Gabi Brito 18-21, 21-14, 13-15, but then bounced back to sweep Lithuania’s Ieva Dumbauskatie and Monika Povilaityte 24-22, 21-17. Dykstra-Pardon will compete in two matches of Thursday’s Pool E play against Poland’s No. 32 pair Maria Wloch/Natalia Gruszcynska and Russia’s No. 20 tandem of Ksenia Dyachuk/Elizaveta Zayaonchkovskaya.

On the men’s side, Alex Jones (Sunnyvale, Calif.) and Kyle Stevenson (Santa Monica, Calif.) dropped two Pool A matches on Wednesday in their return to the U23 Worlds. Jones-Stevenson lost to top-seeded Bartosz Losiak and Michal Bryl of Poland 14-21, 12-21 in the first match of the day, before losing to Russia’s Ostap Firsov and Maxim Zhirkov 14-21, 21-18, 11-15. The California natives will play Serbia’s No. 25 Rasko Jovanovic/Sasa Surla and Lativia’s No. 12 Edvarts Buivids/Pekmanis Reinis on Thursday in Pool A action.