St. Petersburg, Florida, USA, June 20, 2015 — Enjoying the warmth of the sun and the enthusiasm of the center court crowd, USA’s Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson came from behind to defeat Netherlands’ Reinder Nummerdor and Christiaan Varenhorst to win the men’s gold medal Saturday at the double-gender $800,000 FIVB smart St. Petersburg Grand Slam, presented by AVP.
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. Winning the men’s bronze medal was USA’s Nick Lucena and Theo Brunner who powered past Austria’s Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst.FIVB smart ST. PETERSBURG GRAND SLAM presented by AVP PURSE
The gold medal teams in the FIVB smart St. Petersburg Grand Slam presented by AVP 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.SUNDAY WOMEN’S SKED
Concluding the internationally-televised event on Sunday, which is being held on the purpose-built site at the popular Spa Beach Park at the Pier on Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg will be the women’s quarterfinals, semifinals and medal matches. Action will get underway at 8 a.m. with the quarterfinals followed by the semifinals and the bronze medal match at 2:30 p.m. ET and gold medal match at 4 p.m. ET.SHOWCASE SPOTLIGHT TIME
In addition to the international broadcast, NBC TV will air live beach action in the USA on 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.GOLD MEDAL RESULTS
USA’s eighth-seeded Gibb/Patterson started slowly which is fairly common for this team and then powered past Netherlands’ third-seeded Nummerdor/Varenhorst in three sets, losing the first set they arose to take the last two sets to earn their second FIVB World Tour gold medal, 16-21, 23-21 and 15-13 in an entertaining 59-minute match.
With all of the players in this tournament now heading to Europe to compete for gold next week in the 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in the Netherlands, Gibb/Patterson now have five podium finishes in 25 events together as a team. The win was a rematch from a pool play match in the last FIVB World Tour stop in Stavanger, Norway. Playing together since 2013, this was the Gibb/Patterson’s first final four of the 2015 FIVB World Tour as the USA earned their first two men’s podium finishes in six events this season.
The first set saw USA’s Gibb/Patterson lead early at 5-4 but Netherland’s Nummerdor/Varenhorst then went on a 10-2 run to put it away. The second set had 15 ties and three lead changes and no team led by more than two points the entire set. USA trailed 16-15 when Gibb had back-to-back blocks of Nummerdor shots as part of an 8-5 run to close the set.
In the tiebreaker third set, it was tied at 6-6 when USA scored three in a row for their first three-point lead in the match. The teams traded points until the end of the match when Gibb ended it with a kill for match point.
Statistically in the gold medal match, USA’s Gibb had five blocks, two aces and 17 kills and his teammate Patterson had 17 digs and 19 kills. For the Netherlands, Nummerdor had 11 digs and 19 kills and Varenhorst had two aces, one black and 15 kills.
This was USA’s first FIVB World Tour gold medal since July 27, 2014 in Long Beach, Calif., USA and through the first six FIVB World Tour men’s events, the highest seeded team to win gold has been No. 7 meaning no teams seeded 1-6 have won a gold medal so far this year.
USA’s Gibb/Patterson finished with a perfect 7-0 record with its last four matches going three sets in St. Petersburg and Netherland’s Nummerdor/Varenhorst ended with a 6-1 record and six of their seven matches to go three sets.BRONZE MEDAL RESULTS
Completing a surprising week in Florida, USA’s 26th-seeded Lucena/Brunner defeated Austria’s seventh-seeded Doppler/Horst in straight sets, 21-19, 21-16 in 46 minutes. USA’s Lucena/Brunner finished the tournament with their first FIVB bronze medal as a team with a 6-1 record in six FIVB World Tour events as a team while Austria’s Doppler/Horst ended their week with a 4-4 record and their third final four finish in 27 FIVB World Tour events as a tandem. For Brunner, it was his second FIVB medal after also earning a bronze in Long Beach last year with Olympic champion Todd Rogers.
Austria’s Doppler/Horst jumped out to an 8-5 lead in the first set before USA’s Lucena/Brunner went on an 8-3 run to pull away and then the Americans finished the set on a 6-3 run.
In the second set, it was closer at first with nine ties and six lead changes up to 9-9 before USA’s Lucena/Brunner went on an 11-3 run. Austria’s Doppler/Horst fought off four match sets before dropping the final set.
In the stats department, USA’s Brunner had five ace serves, three blocks and 12 kills and teammate Lucena had two aces, 12 kills and six digs. For Austria, Doppler had two blocks and 11 kills and Horst had four aces, five digs and eight kills.SEMIFINAL RESULTS
In the semifinals on Saturday, USA’s Gibb/Patterson battled nearly point for point before outlasting their USA compatriots Lucena/Brunner, 22-20, 19-21 and 16-14 in 71 minutes. In the second semifinal, that was delayed for one hour, nine minutes because of lightning warnings for the second straight day, Netherlands’ Nummerdor/Varenhorst was able to hold on with some inspired play to defeat Austria’s Doppler/Horst, 21-15, 16-21 and 19-17 in 63 minutes.
In the all-USA matchup, Gibb/Patterson ended the match on a 6-3 run as Brunner had 8 blocks, 19 kills and three aces in the victory with teammate Gibb added five blocks, 16 kills and two aces. USA’s Gibb/Patterson duo now has a 2-0 career record over USA’s Lucena/Brunner on the FIVB World Tour.
In the second semifinal that included a 69-minute weather warning delay, Austria’s Doppler/Host led 11-9, but Netherland’s Nummerdor/Varenhorst ended the set on a 12-14 run. In the second set, Netherlands led 11-9 and Austria turned it around and ended on a 13-5 run to win the set.
The tiebreaker third set was a battle that saw Austria’s Doppler/Horst lead at 11-9, but Netherlands’ Nummerdor/Varenhorst closed the match on a 9-4 run after Austria had a 13-10 lead. Austria had two match points but Netherlands battled back as Varenhorst had six blocks in the match. Nummerdor and Varenhorst each had 10 kills for the Netherlands and Austria’s Doppler had 10 kills as well along with two blocks and three ace serves.QUARTERFINAL RESULTS
In the first two quarterfinals held early Saturday morning at Spa Beach Park, USA’s eighth-seeded Gibb/Patterson came from behind to eliminate Mexico’s surprising 24th-seeded Juan Virgen/Lombardo Ontiveros, (Qualifier seed No. 2) in three sets, 19-21, 21-17 and 15-12 in 32 minutes and USA’s 26th-seeded Lucena/Brunner continued their stunning run by winning in two sets over Australia’s 20th-seeded Christopher McHugh/Isaac Kapa, 21-14, 21-18 in 32 minutes.
In the other two quarterfinals, Netherlands’ third-seeded Nummerdor/Varenhorst came from behind to knock off Spain’s 13th-seeded Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira, 17-21, 21-19 and 16-14 in 55 minutes and Austria’s seventh-seeded Doppler/Horst held off the comeback attempt by Italy’s 12th-seeded Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo, winning in three sets, 21-16, 14-21 and 15-10 in 48 minutes.
The quarterfinal losers will officially leave St. Petersburg with fifth place finishes and purses of $17,000 per team.smart QUOTES
After his team’s gold medal victory, USA’s Patterson commented, "It's amazing. My partner played out of his mind. After that first set, where we played terrible, I mean we couldn't do anything right. My partner stepped it up, sided out every ball, stuffed like eight balls, I was just break dancing in the background. Jake played amazing, so I'm still just along for the ride. We’re just two stubborn kids."
"I mean it was dark this morning when we were warming up for our first match. We're two old guys that are too stubborn to give up. We can't let these young kids take us with energy. My guy (Gibb) sides out like a champ, stuffs balls in that second set to win it for us. He just played steady the whole time – that was huge. We're stoked. That's a long day for us, but we prepare for it so it's good. I think once we started flowing on defense. Once Jake started stuffing some balls, and we started getting some good touches, it changed and we both started feeling it."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.