Lucky losers continue winning way

Gstaad, Switzerland, July 7, 2016 - With a majority of the “eyeballs” focused on the Olympic-bound and Swiss players as the FIVB World Tour returns to this Alps village for the 17th-straight season, someone did notice the uniform shorts from Taylor and Trevor Crabb of the United States.

Despite losing their first Gstaad match in the country quota rounds Tuesday morning, the Crabb brothers gained some notoriety by benefitting from some late withdrawals to regain a spot in the $800,000 Gstaad Major where the American pair won qualifying matches Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon to earn a spot in Thursday’s opening pool play rounds.

Seeded 25th in the 32-team Main Draw and playing in shorts with “crab” logos in red, white and blue, the Crabbs opened play successfully Thursday morning with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-14) Pool H win in 30 minutes over eighth-seeded Nico Beeler and Alexei Strasser of Switzerland.

While Beeler and Strasser are the top-ranked Swiss team (38th) on the FIVB World Tour, the Crabbs are No. 8 among American participants (ranking No. 77 internationally) as the Gstaad Major is only their third international event and first in Europe.

The competition will get tougher for the Crabbs Thursday afternoon when the Americans challenge ninth-seeded and two-time Italian Olympians Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai, the 19th-ranked on the FIVB World Tour and winner of three international events.  To end pool play Friday mid-day, the Crabbs will play 24th-seeded Oivind Hordvik and Bjarte Usken of Norway.  Lupo and Nicolai posted a 2-1 (21-17, 23-25, 15-10) win in 49 minutes over the Norwegians in their first match Thursday.

Ironically, Hordvik and Usken benefitted with a “lucky loser” entry into the Gstaad Major Main Draw after losing their last qualifying match Wednesday to another team from Norway.  With a late withdrawal from the “money” rounds, Hordvik and Usken won the “lucky loser” draw over Americans Ryan Doherty and John Mayer, who defeated the Crabbs Tuesday in the country quota playoff.  Doherty and Mayer lost their final qualifying match Wednesday to a team from Spain.

“To play Ryan and John in the country quota was a tough draw for us,” said the 24-year old Taylor Crabb to after their opening Gstaad Major Main Draw win Thursday.  “But we’re happy to be able to get in and now we’re making the most of our second chance.”

“There’s certainly less stress than straight elimination in qualification,” added the 26-year old Trevor Crabb.  “We’re more relaxed and we’ll be making the best of our first Major.”

When asked about forming their partnership and what it is like playing with your brother, Trevor offered that they “grew up playing against each other.  We played indoor together at college but it was always in our minds that we wanted to play together and so far it’s been working out.”

Taylor added that he thinks his team’s “chemistry helps, because we’re brothers.  If you watch us you’ll see we don’t talk much. We kind of feel and know what we want on court. That’s a little advantage we have over guys that come together and don’t really know each other.”

As wrote, “No team in FIVB World Tour history has lost a country quota match and won a tournament. Could the Crabb brothers make history this week? Only time will tell!”

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Gstaad Major website
Qualification - Men
Qualification - Women
Main draw - Men
Main draw - Women
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