Four U.S. Beach Volleyball Teams, including the men's team of Stanford grad Matt Fuerbringer and Nick Lucena, and the women's team of Cardinal grad and Olympian Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor, survived Friday's competition at the $600,000 FIVB Beach Volleyball A1 Grand Slam in Klagenfurt, Austria.
May-Treanor and Walsh advanced with a pair of wins. They beat Germany's seventh-seeded Sara Goller and Laura Ludwig, 21-13, 21-18 in 34 minutes and came back to defeat Spain's 11th-seeded team of Lilana and Baquerizo, 21-17, 21-16 in 33 minutes.
"We're playing against good teams and it's that tough time of the season where everyone is peaking and capable of playing great matches," Walsh said. "It's good to be back in the semis and Misty and I are playing very well this week, it feels wonderful."
The four-time A1 Grand Slam champions will take to the sand Saturday in the semifinals against the Netherland's eighth-seeds, Keizer and Van Iersel.
Fuerbringer and Lucena won their Friday match against Denmark's 31st-seeded team of Bo Soderberg and Anders Lund Hoyer, 22-20, 21-13 in 41 minutes. The duo will face Sweden's 25th-seeds Sascha Heyer and Sebastian Chevallier next.
Stanford grad Foluke Akinradewo and the U.S. national team held off No. 9 Serbia, 25-22, 25-19, 23-25, 20-25, 15-10, Friday to open the FIVB World Grand Prix in the first preliminary weekend held at Luohe, China.
The U.S., ranked second in the FIVB world ranking and defending FIVB World Grand Prix champions in the premier annual international volleyball tournament, continues Pool D action in China against No. 19 Kazakhstan on Saturday and against No. 6 China on Sunday. The Americans have now won 12 consecutive FIVB World Grand Prix matches counting the final 11 victories in last year's event.
Akinradewo, last year's FIVB World Grand Prix most valuable player, led the United States with a team-high 23 points, based on 14 kills and a match-high eight blocks.