COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Olympian Brooke Sweat and partner Summer Ross earned a bronze medal on the FIVB World Tour in Qinzhou, China, over the weekend.
Brooke Sweat and Summer Ross went 4-1 over the week, in what the team says is their final event of the calendar year. The duo were one of six USAV pairs to compete in the World Tour Qinzhou 3-Star tournament, which was hosted Oct. 11-15. Finishing close behind were Olympians Lauren Fendrick/Nicole Branagh, who tied for fifth.
Brittany Hochevar and Emily Day tied for ninth, while April Ross and Kelly Claes tied for 17th. Bill Kolinske/Mark Burik, and Stafford Slick/Eric Zaun, the two U.S. men's teams competing, tied for 17th as well.
As a 3-Star tournament, athletes competed in a single-elimination bracket of 32 teams, per gender. The opening round sported harsh competition: A. Ross/Claes fell to Poland in straight sets, 21-19, 21-15, and Kolinske/Burik fell to Belgium in a grueling two-set match, 32-20, 21-14. Slick/Zaun were also eliminated, in 28 minutes to France, 21-11, 21-14. It was Zaun's World Tour debut, which saw the duo earn a bye out of qualification to advance into the Round of 32.
In the Round of 16, top seeded Sweat/S. Ross took down Thailand easily, 21-13, 21-15, to earn their spot in the quarterfinals against a strong German team. In the quarterfinals, Sweat/S. Ross topped Kim Behrens/Sandra Ittlinger, 21-16, 21-18. For the Americans, the win streak was halted in the semifinals after Kinga Kolosinska/Katarzyna Kociolek of Poland won, 21-17, 21-18. Rebounding for the bronze, Sweat/S. Ross collected themselves for a 21-18, 21-13 victory against China's Fan Wang/Xinyi Xia.
I think we're playing really good
"It's always great to get a medal, especially in our first season together and our last tournament of the season," said Sweat after the match. "I think we're playing really good. To go out with a medal means a lot to us right now."
— Beach Volleyball (@FIVBBeach) October 15, 2017
Hochevar/Day were eliminated in the Round of 16 in three sets by Behrens/Ittlinger, 21-14, 17-21, 15-12. It marked their sixth Top 10 finish as a partnership. Fendrick and Branagh moved past the round with a 21-19, 21-12 win against Cuba. They then lost to the eventual gold medal winners during the quarterfinal, Mariafe Artacho/Taliqua Clancy of Australia, 21-14, 21-19.
The U.S. will be sending teams to the next World Tour stop later this month, Oct. 25-29 in Aalsmeer, Netherlands. There are two events remaining on the calendar for 2017, with Australia playing host to a 2-Star tournament, Nov. 22-26.
— Beach Volleyball (@FIVBBeach) October 13, 2017
|FIVB Qinzhou 3-Star Roster|
|Brooke Sweat||Summer Ross||Main Draw|
|April Ross||Kelly Claes||Jose Loiola||Main Draw|
|Lauren Fendrick||Nicole Branagh||Main Draw|
|Emily Day||Brittany Hochevar||Hector Gutierrez||Qualification|
|Mark Burik||Bill Kolinske||Qualification|
|Eric Zaun||Stafford Slick||Qualification|
|Aimee Miyazawa||USAV Beach Head Athletic Trainer|
|Karen Liu||DC, LAc|