Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross defeated a Spanish volleyball team to claim victory Sunday in the final of the World Series of Beach Volleyball (WSOBV) as the series came to a close in Long Beach, held on the sands of Alamitos Beach. Meanwhile, the third-seeded Brazil team beat top-seeded Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena in the men’s final.
Walsh Jennings’ and Ross’ win came after claiming Olympic bronze in Rio, and was the first time they led two of the three sets in the final match, defeating Lili and Elsa of Spain, 21-16, 21-16.
“We're always shooting for the gold medal and we put ourselves in the position we want and it's about executing when the time comes,'' said Walsh Jennings, who previously teamed with now-retired Long Beach resident Misty May-Treanor for Olympic gold medals in 2004, 2008 and 2012. “We won ugly the first couple matches and this is the first time it felt kind of pretty.''
“I think it was a close (match) even if the numbers don't say it,'' Elsa said. ``It was an interesting match, we could have done better probably but we are happy about our tournament and getting the silver medal. We played great, very consistent.''
Walsh Jennings and Ross have consistently defeated the Spanish team, going 4-0 against them in their competitive history. Lili and Elsa lost in the 16th round of the Rio Olympics and were seeded seventh going into the WSOBV.
Dalhausser and Lucena lost two of the three sets in their match against Pedro and Evandro of Brazil.
“They stole that first set from us, which is kind of disappointing because then maybe we win the match,'' said Dalhausser, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist. “We were up 17-14 and they grabbed it from us. But they earned it. They played great.
“We did a good job the first and second set of fending off (Evandro's) serve but then he got it going in the third. He got me on my line. It's just on you so fast, so you have to make a decision right away. Evandro played great today. Pedro sided out really well whenever he had the opportunity.''
Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude defeated fellow Germans Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler for silver in the women’s division, and second-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins of Latvia defeated 20th-seeded Alex Rangheiri and Marco Caminati of Italy for silver in the men’s division.
The winning teams in the finals each split $57,000, while the runners-up split $43,000. The third-place finishers received $32,000 and the fourth-place finishers cleaned up with $24,000.
City News Service contributed to this report.