St. Petersburg, Florida, USA, June 19, 2015 — Following an abbreviated schedule caused first by a weather warning then a second warning that suspended play for the day on Friday, the final showdown remains as eight men’s teams from seven countries are set to battle in Saturday’s final rounds and medal matches at the double-gender $800,000 FIVB St. Petersburg Grand Slam. The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is in the USA for the first time in 2015 as the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is visiting the United States for the 12th time overall and the state of Florida for the third time. FIVB ST. PETERSBURG GRAND SLAM PURSE
The gold medal teams in the FIVB St. Petersburg Grand Slam will split $57,000, the silver $43,000, the bronze $32,000 and fourth place $24,000. The event is a special first of its kind partnership between the international sanctioning body FIVB, USA Volleyball and US sanctioning body AVP.SUNSHINE SKED
With this week’s FIVB St. Petersburg Grand Slam starting with men’s qualifying on Tuesday and women’s qualifying on Wednesday, and after the 32-team main draws for each gender, the men’s quarterfinals, semifinals and medal matches will be held Saturday along with several of the final women’s pool play matches and two elimination rounds. Concluding the event on Sunday will be the women’s quarterfinals, semifinals and medal matches. WEATHER RUMBLINGS
While only a trace of rain fell on the venue Friday, local safety officials ordered evacuation of the event site late morning with a delay of three hours before play resumed and then suspended all activity for the day and evacuated the event site again in the early evening because of lightning strikes in the vicinity. There were no lightning strikes within the event site or immediate perimeter.
FIVB regulations stipulate that the four women’s final pool play matches that were in progress when play was terminated for the day will be replayed in their entirety on Saturday morning.SHOWCASE SPOTLIGHT TIME
In addition to the international broadcast, NBC TV will air live beach action in the USA on Saturday and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET and on the NBC Sports Network on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET.QUARTERFINAL PREVIEWS
Following their Round of 16 wins Friday, Saturday’s final day of men’s competition in St. Petersburg will start 7 a.m. ET with the quarterfinal matches followed later by the semifinal matches with bronze and gold medal matches in the afternoon. Completing the day will be the colorful awarding ceremony at the smart stadium court in St. Petersburg.
Meeting in the quarterfinals at 7 a.m. ET on the four courts at Spa Beach Park will be Mexico’s 24th-seeded Juan Virgen/Lombardo Ontiveros, (Qualifier seed No. 2) vs. USA’s eighth-seeded Jack Gibb/Casey Patterson, Netherlands’ third-seeded Reinder Nummerdor/Christiaan Varenhorst vs. Spain’s 13th-seeded Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira, USA’s 26th-seeded Nick Lucena/Theodore Brunner vs. Australia’s 20th-seeded Christopher McHugh/Isaac Kapa and Austria’s seventh-seeded Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst vs. Italy’s 12th-seeded Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo.
Mexico’s Virgen/Ontiveros are playing in their 17th FIVB World Tour event with one bronze medal while USA’s Gibb/Patterson, who have a 3-1 record against Mexico’s Virgen/Ontiveros, are playing in their 25th FIVB World Tour event with one gold medal, one silver and two bronze. Netherlands’ Nummerdor/Varenhorst, who are 1-0 against Spain’s Herrera/Gavira are playing in their seventh FIVB World Tour event with two gold medals while Spain’s Herrera/Gavira, are playing in their 65th all-time FIVB World Tour event with one gold medal, four silvers and six bronze.
USA’s Lucena/Brunner are playing their sixth FIVB World Tour event as a team with two fifth-place finishes will meet Australia’s McHugh/Kapa, playing their 20th FIVB World Tour event with one bronze, for the first time. Austria’s Doppler/Horst are playing in their 27th FIVB World Tour event as a tandem with one silver medal while Italy’s Nicolai/Lupo, who have a 2-1 record against Austria’s Doppler/Horst, are playing in their 41st FIVB World Tour event with two gold medals, three silvers and four bronze.
The quarterfinal losers will officially leave St. Petersburg with fifth place finishes and purses of $17,000 per team.ROUND OF 16 RESULTS
The men’s round of 16 matches Friday saw seven of the eight go to a full three sets to determine the winner who would advance to the quarterfinals later Friday.
The first four round of 16 matches that started after the three-hour weather delay saw Mexico’s 24th-seeded Virgen/ Ontiveros pull off a stunning upset top-seeded Poland’s top-seeded Mariusz Prudel/Grzegorz Fijalek in three sets 16-21, 21-17 and 15-13 in 58 minutes; USA’s eighth-seeded Gibb/Patterson went three but won against Canada’s 10th-seeded Chaim Schalk/Ben Saxton, 21-16, 17-21 and 15-9 in 49 minutes; USA’s 26th-seeded Lucena/Brunner went straight sets to knock off Brazil’s second-seeded Evandro Goncalves/Pedro Solberg, who won the gold medal at last week’s FIVB World Tour stop in Stavanger, Norway, 21-18, 21-18 in 39 minutes and Australia’s 20th-seeded Isaac Kapa/Christopher McHugh went the distance with Chile’s 19th-seeded Esteban Grimalt/Marco Grimalt winning in three sets, 28-26, 18-21 and 15-12 in 60 minutes.
Netherlands’ third-seeded Nummerdor/Varenhorst def. Norway’s 28th-seeded Ivor Horrem/Geir Eithun (Q5) in three sets, 21-16, 17-21 and 15-11 in 59 minutes, Spain’s 13th-seeded Herrera/Gavira stopped Brazil’s fifth-seeded Ricardo Santos/Emanuel Rego in straight sets, 21-15, 21-18 in 41 minutes, Austria’s seventh-seeded Doppler/ Horst came back to outlast Brazil’s sixth-seeded Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt in another three-setter, 21-23, 21-19 and 15-13 in 72 minutes and Italy’s 12th-seeded Nicolai/Lupo advanced with a three-set win over Germany’s 15th-seeded Alexander Walkenhorst/Stefan Windscheif, 21-19, 14-21 and 15-12 in 52 minutes.
The losers in the round of 16 were eliminated and leave St. Petersburg with official ninth-place finishes and purses of $11,000 per team.smart QUOTES
Along with Mexico’s Virgen/Ontiveros, USA’S Lucena/Brunner pulled off the biggest stunner of the day in defeating Brazil’s Evandro/Pedro a team seeded 24 places higher than they were. And their win was the only one in the Round of 16 that didn’t go three sets.
Brunner beamed afterwards, "We were trying our hardest not to think about the importance of the match. Just go out there with no expectations. It's an awesome team and we're just looking at it as a chance to get better. Working on what we need to work on, not worry about the outcome. Come as it may, and it worked out."
His teammate Lucena said, "Yeah I mean any win on the FIVB World Tour is a big win. Every team is pretty dang good, and that team I think is playing the best of everyone right now. They won the gold medal last week in Norway. So doing it in our home country, in front of our families is pretty sweet."ON THE HORIZON
Following this week’s second of five FIVB Grand Slam tournaments on the 2015 FIVB calendar at the $800,000 FIVB St. Petersburg Grand Slam in the United States, the dynamic month of beach volleyball will conclude with the $1,000,000 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships The Netherlands (June 26-July 5) being anchored in The Hague with pool play and the first two rounds of single-elimination also being played in Amsterdam, Apeldoorn and Rotterdam.MORE IN THE USA
Following this week’s event, the FIVB will return to the USA twice more in 2015 with the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam Aug. 18-23 in Southern California and the $500,000 Swatch FIVB World Tour Season Final in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Sept. 29-Oct. 4.GROWING HISTORY
The FIVB St. Petersburg Grand Slam is the 320th men’s event since the FIVB began men’s competition in 1987 and the 284th FIVB women’s tournament since they started in 1992.