With Kantor ailing, Losiak leads Polish bronze medal win

Moscow, Russia, May 29, 2016 - With his partner Piotr Kantor struggling with knee issues, Bartosz Losiak rose to the occasion here Sunday afternoon as his team secured their second “big” medal this season on the FIVB World Tour by defeating Americans Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson of the United States for the third place on the podium at the $800,000 Moscow Grand Slam.

Seeded 17th in the Moscow Grand Slam, Kantor and Losiak scored a 2-1 (19-21, 22-20, 15-12) bronze medal win in 56 minutes to gain a share of the $32,000 third-place prize.  For the second-seeded Gibb and Patterson, the Americans split $24,000 as they were competing in their first “final four” since placing second last August at the Polish Grand Slam in Olsztyn.

With both Polish players being 24 while Gibb is 40 and Patterson 36, the younger team has now defeated their American rivals five-straight times on the FIVB World Tour.  Gibb and Patterson won the first two matches against Kantor and Losiak at the start of the 2014 season before the Poles captured the next five matches with the Americans.

“That was a great win for us,” said Losiak after the match while Kantor was seeking medical attention.  “Piotr was really hurting, but he continued playing.  Defeating the Americans is great and winning another Grand Slam medal is terrific for us.  We really feel comfortable with our game and with this finish, we are set to compete in the Olympics.”

Despite the setback, Gibb and Patterson’s semifinal appearance cemented a second spot for the United States in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.  The pair was battling compatriots Tri Bourne and John Hyden for the second berth behind Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, who satisfied their Rio requirement of playing in 12 FIVB World Tour events together by placing 17th in the Moscow Grand Slam.

Bourne and Hyden placed ninth this week and cannot overtake Gibb and Patterson in the final Rio qualifying event two weeks from now in Hamburg, Germany.  

The Moscow Grand Slam men’s gold medal match will feature top-seeded Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil versus fifth-seeded Reinder Nummerdor and Christiaan Varenhorst of The Netherlands.  The meeting for the $57,000 first-place prize is a rematch of the gold medal match at the 2015 FIVB World Championships where Alison and Bruno defeated the Dutch for the title in The Hague.

After eight-straight weeks of FIVB World Tour play in Qatar, China, Brazil, Russia, Turkey and the United States, the international circuit will take a week off before resuming play June 7-12 in Hamburg for the first of five SWATCH Major Series events.

The $800,000 Hamburg Major will be the last FIVB World Tour qualifying event for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as the process started in April 2015 with events in China.  With 24 teams competing in each gender’s beach volleyball competition at the Rio Summer Games, the top 15 pairs, excluding Brazilians with a maximum of two teams per country, will qualify for the Copacabana quadrennial from the FIVB World Tour.

Brazil earned its two Olympic spots per gender by winning the 2015 men’s (Alison/Bruno) and women’s (Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas) FIVB World Championships along with host nation berths (Evandro Goncalves/Pedro Solberg and Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca).  The seven remaining berths for the Rio Olympics will be determined via the Continental Cup format.


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