Stanford grad Alix Klineman has enjoyed unparalleled success in AVP beach volleyball the past two weeks. Along with teammate Lane Carico, Klineman reached the semifinals in two tournaments.
On Sunday, the sixth-seeded Klineman and Carico fell in the semifinals of the Hermosa Beach Open to top-seeded Emily Day and Brittany Hochevar, 21-17, 25-23.
Last week, Klineman and Carico reached the championship match, losing to the top-seeded team.
Before San Francisco, Klineman's best finish was seventh-place, earlier this year with a different partner.
Klineman and Carico haven't played much beach volleyball as a tandem, though they were high school teammates in the indoor variety. The duo has made an immediate impact.
Carico has far more beach experience (and success) but has matched well with Klineman, who was still part of the USA senior indoor national program as late as last year. The continued partnership can only lead to continued success.
Stanford grads Brittany Howard and Karissa Cook also improved on their finishes from last week.
Howard and Corinne Quiggle reached the fourth round of the contender's bracket at Hermosa Beach, two games shy of the semifinals. They finished in a seventh-place tie as the lowest seeded team among the top 12.
The pair, seeded 20th in the main draw and 14th in the qualifying draw, knocked out the second-seeded Kim DiCello and Emily Stockman, 11-21, 21-18, 18-16, along the way.
No. 9 Sheila Shaw and Xi Chang beat Howard and Quiggle, 18-21, 21-16, 15-10. Last week, Howard and her teammate were eliminated on the first day.
The 14th-seeded Cook and Katie Spieler reached the third round of the contender's bracket, a week after falling in the qualifying final.
Cook and Spieler won their first main draw match and were sent into the contender's bracket by third-seeded Jennifer Fopma and Kelley Reeves.
Spieler and Cook came back to beat two higher-seeded teams before No. 8 Jace Pardon and Brittany Tiegs ended their run. They settled for a ninth-place tie as the second-lowest seed among the top 12.
Klineman was one of four players to serve up at least 10 aces during the tournament. She finished second with 12, behind Geena Urango, who went into the semifinals with 18.
She was also among the leaders in blocks and had a hitting percentage over .400. Howard was fourth in hitting percentage at .505 (61 kills, nine errors, 103 attacks). Cook hit .409 for the tournament.
On the FIVB World Tour, Cardinal grad Kerri Walsh Jennings and teammate Nicole Branagh were unable to play in Sunday's third-place match of the Warmia Mazury Olsztyn Open, a day after Walsh Jennings sustained a shoulder injury late in their semifinal match.
The setback will impact whether Walsh Jennings and Branagh will be able to compete at next weekend's World Championships in Vienna.