04.07.2019 - Hamburg, Germany
Stafford Slick and Billy Allen put an end to Evandro Goncalves’ dream of winning back-to-back Beach Volleyball World Championship titles as the American veterans pulled a Round of 32 21-19, 21-18 win over the 2017 world champion and his Brazilian partner and Rio 2016 Olympic champion Bruno Schmidt to send them back home in 17th place at the Rothenbaum Stadium.
The 37-year-old Allen and the 34-year-old Slick, who qualified to compete in Hamburg via the NORCECA pathway, shocked the Brazilian stars with an aggressive serving game and a dominant net performance by Slick, who scored five points in blocks.
Jubilant after the match, Slick celebrated the surprising victory, which happened in the American Independence Day.
“We’re ecstatic,” a smiley Slick said afterwards. “We have nothing but respect and great things to say about Bruno and Evandro. They’ve been crushing on the World Tour for a long time and we were fortunate to sneak one away from them today. It’s always special to compete with USA over my heart, but today it means a little bit more.”
A frustrated Evandro regretted the team’s bad performance and pointed out the Brazilians’ weaknesses against the Americans.
“It was their day,” he reflected. “They played really well, especially on serving, and that wasn’t the case for us, especially for me. It’s frustrating because I had huge goals here and we had good momentum and expected a better finish. To leave the tournament now is sad, but we need to keep our heads up because there is another big one coming up next week in Gstaad. We also have to learn our lesson, which is to focus on your next opponents and not think too much down the road and I believe we failed on that today.”
The Americans will now cross paths other medalists form the Rio 2016 Olympics, Italians Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai, who needed all three sets (21-16, 16-21, 15-7) to navigate through Iranians Bahman Salemi and Arash Vakili.