Photo by Stephanie Perez.
The single-elimination section of the $800,000 World Series of Beach Volleyball on Alamitos Beach in Long Beach began today with three rounds for the women and two for the men.
US Olympic bronze medalists Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross were among eight teams receiving first-round byes and are scheduled to play today against the winner of the morning match between fellow Americans Summer Ross and Lane Carico and Spain's Ester Ribera Boter and Amaranta Fernandez Navarro.
Misty May-Treanor, who teamed with Walsh Jennings to win three Olympic gold medals, described Ross as “the future of the sport,” according to the release.
The Rosses are not related.
Ross teamed with Caitlin Racich to win the inaugural American Volleyball Coaches Association collegiate sand volleyball national pairs championship while playing for Pepperdine in 2012 and won the Association of Volleyball Professionals Seattle Open in June with Carico.
On Thursday, the top-seeded Americans Walsh Jennings and Ross completed play in Pool A with a 21-19, 18-21, 15-13 victory in a lengthy match of 53 minutes against Brazilians Maria Antonelli and Lili.
This was the third victory in three matches for Walsh Jennings and Ross, avenging a loss in June in Hamburg, Germany, according to the release.
US Olympians Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat also won their pool. Now three US teams are among the 24 teams that advanced to the single-elimination rounds, including USC seniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes.
“To make it into the elimination rounds is very cool,'' stated Hughes, who teamed up with Claes to win the World University Championships in July and assist the Trojans to the NCAA championship earlier in May.
They faced the Swiss team Tanja Huberli and Nina Betschart in a first-round match this morning.
For the men, the top-seeded American Olympians Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena won both their matches on Thursday to complete pool play 3-0. The two defeated 17th-seeded Martins Plavins and Haralds Regza of Latvia in 35 minutes with a 21-18, 21-15 victory. Michal Kadziola and Jakub Szalankiewicz of Poland also lost to the Americans in 32 minutes with points at 21-15, 21-17.
Dalhausser and Lucena were given a first-round bye and will face the winner of the match between Canada’s Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter and Germany’s Jonathan Erdmann and Bennet Poniewaz in the second round.
Following the quarterfinals, Legends Night will honor retiring USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal, along with two of the greatest beach teams of all time, tonight, starting at 7:30PM. Watch Gold Within, a documentary on Kerri Walsh Jennings and get your grub on with local eatery Restauration for $20.
City News Service contributed to this report.