Beach Pro Tour - News

Pavan/McBain (CAN) vs. Kolinske/Harward (USA) - Round 2 #4969179

Hailey Harward in action

Kelley Kolinske & Hailey Harward were one of the three American teams among the eight women’s pairs that emerged victorious from Thursday’s qualifiers at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Jurmala Challenge to advance to Friday’s main draw action. Kolinske & Harward managed two big wins on the first competition day in Latvia and joined compatriots Brook Bauer & Katie Horton and Emily Stockman & Megan Kraft, as well as Brazil’s Talita Antunes & Thamela Coradello, Netherlands’ Emi van Driel & Brecht Piersma, Lithuania’s Monika Paulikiene & Aine Raupelyte, China’s Dong Jie & Wang Fan and Finland’s Taru Lahti-Liukkonen & Niina Ahtiainen, on the way to the last 24 in the women’s tournament.

Germany’s Robin Sowa & Lukas Pfretzschner and Paul Henning & Sven Winter, Australia’s Thomas Hodges & Zachery Schubert, Poland’s Piotr Kantor & Jakub Zdybek, Chile’s Noe Aravena & Vicente Droguett, China’s Ha Likejiang & Wu Jiaxin, Switzerland’s Adrian Heidrich & Leo Dillier and Italy’s Daniele Lupo & Enrico Rossi were successful in the men’s qualifiers to advance to the main draw.

· Watch the Beach Pro Tour Jurmala Challenge live on VBTV.

In the first qualification round, Kolinske & Harward, seeded 14th in the qualification bracket, came back from a set down against the strong German pairing of Isabel Schneider & Julia Sude to push the battle to an overtime tie-breaker and win by . Both American players reached 20+ points in the match with Kolinske raising four stuffs and two aces towards the match high of 24 points.

In the deciding second qualification round, Kolinske & Harward spoiled former world champion Sarah Pavan’s Beach Pro Tour debut with new partner Molly McBain, defeating them in straight sets. Each of the sets was resolved by the narrowest of margins and the second was even pushed deep into overtime before the US team could celebrate a win over the Canadians. Both McBain (21 points) and Pavan (17) were more prolific in scoring than Kolinske (15) & Harward (16), but also committed too many unforced errors to help the opponents make the main draw.

It is Kolinske & Harward’s sixth Beach Pro Tour appearance as a pair and they hope to reach the quarterfinals for the first time, after their ninth-place finishes at the Challenge events in La Paz, Itapema and Saquarema. Last season, Kolinske played alongside Sara Hughes, winning gold at the Itapema Challenge, while Harward had three appearances with Xolani Hodel and one with Kylie Deberg.

Another three women’s teams managed to qualify for the main draw after mounting comebacks from a set down in their second-round qualification matches. Qualification bracket leaders Paulikiene & Raupelyte overcame the resistance of Ukraine’s Valentyna Davidova & Ievgeniia Baieva on the way to a victory. Dong and two-time Olympian Wang turned the course of their match against Paraguay’s Erika Bobadilla & Michelle Valiente around to a win, while Ahtiainen & Lahti disposed of China’s Lin MeiMei & Zeng Jinjin with a victory.

Sowa & Pfretzschner had to deal with two three-set battles on Thursday on the way to the men’s main draw. In their first game, the Germans persevered against Switzerland’s Marco Krattiger & Florian Breer to grab a victory on the wings of nine kill blocks by Sowa. Then they edged France’s Calvin Aye & Quincy Aye to take a win.

Krattiger/Breer (SUI) vs. Sowa/Pfretzschner, L. (SUI) - Round 1 #4967638

Germany’s Sowa & Pfretzschner

Kantor & Zdybek disappointed the home crowd by knocking out Latvia’s pairing of Tokyo 2020 Olympian Edgars Tocs with Olivers Bulgacs in the first round after a comeback with eight kill blocks from Kantor. Three-time Olympian and London 2012 bronze medallist Martins Plavins and his current partner Mihails Samoilovs of Latvia, on the other hand, were eliminated in the second round by the top-seeded team in the men’s qualifier bracket, Aravena & Droguett, in a straight-setter.

Heidrich raised nine kill blocks as he and Dillier came back from a set down to deliver a knockout of Australia’s Christopher McHugh & Paul Burnett in the deciding round. Ha & Wu also recovered after losing their first set of the second-round match against Germany’s Philipp Huster & Simon Pfretzschner to celebrate a main draw spot after a victory.

Main draw action on Friday starts at 09:00 local time (06:00 UTC) with women’s pool play.