BEACH VOLLEYBALL Preview: Vikings Mol & Sorum try to repeat in World Tour Final in Rome

Beach superstars Christian Sorum (left) and Anders Mol of Norway (Photo: FIVB)

The longest season in the history of FIVB beach volleyball finally comes to a close this weekend with the World Tour Finals at the Foto Italico in Rome, Italy. Started way back in August of 2018 (!), the top teams in the world will face each other one more time … before starting the 2019-20 season.

The top seeds:

Men:
1. Anders Mol/Christian Sorum (NOR) ~ Defending champions; seven titles this season
2. Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Oleg Stoyanovskiy (RUS) ~ 2019 World Champions
3. Alison Cerutti/Alvaro Filho (BRA) ~ Two wins, four medals this season
4. Evandro Goncalves Oliveira/Bruno Oscar Schmidt (BRA) ~ One win, three medals
5. Grzegorz Fijalek/Michal Bryl (POL) ~ Two silvers, two bronzes this season

Also seeded in the top 10 are Nick Lucena and Phil Dalhausser of the U.S. at seventh.

Mol and Sorum confirmed their world-class status by winning the World Tour Final in 2018, defeating Fijalek and Bryl in the final. The Norwegians have been sensational this season, winning the Las Vegas Open, Itapema Open, Jinjiang Open, Ostrava Open, Gstaad Major, the Tokyo Open and the Vienna Major (7) in addition to a bronze medal at the World Championships. In their 11 World Tour events as a pair together, Mol and Sorum are 61-4.

They were defeated by Germans Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler in the World Championships in Hamburg (seeded ninth in Rome) and had to settle for the silver medal. But they are clearly the favorites.

Women:
1. Sarah Pavan/Melissa Humana-Paredes (CAN) ~ 2019 World Champions
2. Alix Klineman/April Ross (USA) ~ 2019 Worlds silver medalists
3. Maria Antonelli/Carol Salgado (BRA) ~ Two silvers, one bronze this season
4. Agatha Bednarczuk/Duda Lisboa (BRA) ~ Two wins, four medals this season
5. Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli (SUI) ~ Moscow Open winners in mid-August

The U.S. has two more seeded teams in the top 10: Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil at no. 8 and Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman at no. 9.

Pavan and Humana-Paredes scored two major victories at the World Championships and the Vienna Major in about a month. Klineman and Ross won three tournaments and won five total medals so far. At the Worlds final, the Canadians squeezed out a two-set victory, both by 23-21 scores and Klineman and Ross want to reverse that.

The quarterfinals and semifinals will be on Saturday (7th) and the medal matches on Sunday (8th). Look for results here.

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