Americans Nick Lucena, Phil Dalhausser and Sarah Sponcil, Kelly Claes ousted in beach


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Another American team is out of the Olympic beach volleyball tournament at the Tokyo Games.

A Qatari pair that is ranked No. 1 in the world beat Nick Lucena and 2008 gold medalist Phil Dalhausser 14-21, 21-19, 15-11 on Sunday in the first round of knockout play.

The Americans reached the quarterfinals in Rio de Janeiro before losing to the eventual champions, Brazilians Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt.

Dalhausser and Lucena went 2-1 in round-robin play, losing only to a Dutch team that won the world championships in 2013. That left them with a tough matchup against Cherif Samba and Ahmed Tijan, who cruised through the preliminaries without losing a set.

The Americans scored four straight points in the first set to turn a 6-5 edge into a five-point lead and cruised to a 21-14 lead.

The U.S. women’s team of Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes also lost in three sets on Sunday after winning the first set. Canada’s Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson beat the U.S. pair 22-24, 21-18, 15-13 at the Shiokaze Park venue.

Sponcil and Claes trailed 11-6 in the first set but rallied to take their first lead at 19-18. They won it on their third set point when Bansley’s hit rolled across the net and landed at the feet of the chair umpire.

The Americans scored the first five points of the second and led 10-4 before Canada closed to 10-9 and took its first lead at 17-16. It was 19-17 when a successful challenge brought Canada to double set point.

Canada appeared to take a 13-11 lead in the third set on a hit that was initially ruled out. A challenge declared the ball in, even though replays appeared to show it missed the tape. Canada disputed the result, and on further review, it was ruled out.

Wilkerson knocked down a pass that got too close to the net for a triple set point, and Canada won it when Wilkerson hit it over on two to a wide-open part of the court.

Claes and Sponcil entered the Games as the hottest team in the world, winning the past two events of the pandemic-extended qualifying period to grab the second U.S. spot in Tokyo. In the process, they knocked out five-time Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read More:Americans Nick Lucena, Phil Dalhausser and Sarah Sponcil, Kelly Claes ousted in beach

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