A little more than a week ago, Tri Bourne was asked about a recent trend of late, how his game appears to reach new levels when he’s given an added sense of urgency. It was evident in the Tepic Elite16 in March, when he and Chaim Schalk were down, 12-13, in the third set in a qualifying match to Austrians Moritz Pristauz and Robin Seidl. It was then that Bourne took over the match, touching off a three-point run to win the match and qualify for the main draw.
It was evident weeks later in Itapema for a Challenge event. Down 12-7 in the third set of an elimination match to Poland’s Piotr Kantor and Maciej Rudol, Bourne again began operating on a different plane, igniting a 16-14 comeback victory. And it was evident twice more, just last week, after dropping the first set of the AVP New Orleans semifinals and finals to Tim Brewster and Kyle Friend, and Troy Field and Billy Allen, respectively. How’d those matches finish?
Bourne and Schalk won both.
And so it was, once more, that Bourne and Schalk again found a new level at the Uberlandia Elite16. Down 16-11 in the second set to Canadians Sam Schachter and Dan Dearing, a point at which most viewers would have justifiably switched courts on Volleyball TV, a third set sure to come, Bourne and Schalk worked their magic. They flipped the five-point deficit into a 21-19 second-set win to earn another main draw berth.
“Phil [Dalhausser] knew he was the big dog for some time and now there’s a passing of the guard. Somebody has to be that guy now, and it’s not going to be easy. Someone’s got to do it,” Bourne said on SANDCAST this week, which aired, fittingly, on the same day as the qualifier. “Someone has to go to a different level. When I felt it at times, I needed to figure out how to replicate that. It’s a different willingness to go there. You have to not be yourself for a little bit. That’s the beauty of professional sport. Just going to a different place and competing at some different level. Trying to replicate that and seeing if I can bring it to the world tour.”
He’s brought it, all right, as he and Schalk have now qualified for two main draws in two times trying in the Elite16s this season. Their day began with a 21-19, 21-18 win over the Netherlands’ Ruben Penninga and Leon Luini, a match in which Bourne tallied five blocks and even Schalk, the defender, tallied two of his…
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