The championship hopes will end short of the medal podium for the U.S. pair of Harvard outside attacker Branden Clemens and UCLA outside attacker Jackson Bantle.
Clemens and Bantle lost to the Norway’s Christian Sandlie Sorum and Hendrik Nikolai Mol H 21-13, 21-15 in the second round of the FIVB Beach U-21 World Championships on Saturday in Larnaka, Cyprus, to be eliminated from the international tournament.
The U.S. pair, which was ranked No. 9 at the start of the tournament, reached the second round after defeating the Netherlands’ Jasper Bouter and Steven van de Velde 21-13, 21-19, 15-11 in the opening round. In addition, Clemens and Bantle went 2-3 during the pool-play stage to qualify for the knock-out stage.
This was the second consecutive year Clemens reached the Round of 16 at this international tournament. The junior last year with his partner Chris Long reached the second round before getting swept in an elimination match.
Clemens returned to the beach this summer after appearing in 23 matches for Harvard during the most recent college men’s volleyball season. As a sophomore, he ended the season with a 1.13 kills per game average and nine aces.
Bantle was a Freshman All-MPSF Team selection last season after finishing among UCLA’s leaders with a 1.67 digs per game average. In addition, he had 14 aces and 27 blocks during his freshman season.
Clemens and Bantle were one of two U.S. men’s pairs competing at the Beach World Championships.
UCLA setter Hagen Smith and USC outside attack Christopher Orenic finished the pool-play round at 1-4 to be eliminated from the tournament.