Showdown in Moscow: Boss, Ross Set Sights on Branagh, Youngs

July 04, 2008, 3:42 a.m. (ET)

B.J. Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800

COLORADO SPRING, Colo. (July 3, 2008) – The battle for the second slot on the U.S. women’s Olympic beach volleyball team could be decided this weekend at the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Grand Slam tournament in Moscow.

The U.S. team of Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and Elaine Youngs (El Toro, Calif.) carried 4,300 Olympic qualifying points into the start of the Moscow tournament on Wednesday. Right behind them, with 4,220 points, are Jen Boss (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.).

Olympic qualifying points are determined by adding the points accumulated in a team’s top-eight finishes in SWATCH FIVB World Tour events between Jan. 1, 2007 and July 21, 2008. So moving ahead in the points isn’t as simple as Boss and Ross finishing ahead of Branagh and Youngs in Moscow.

Branagh and Youngs’ top-eight finishes prior to Moscow include one first place, one second, four thirds and two fifths. Boss and Ross’ top-eight finishes include one first, one second, one third, one fourth and four fifths. A first-place finish in Moscow is worth 800 points. Second is worth 720 and third nets 640.

The U.S. team of Misty May-Treanor (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Kerri Walsh (Santa Clara, Calif.), the defending Olympic gold medalists, lead all teams in Olympic qualifying points and have locked up a ticket to Beijing. They are not competing in Moscow.

Both Branagh/Youngs and Boss/Ross won all their pool-play matches on Wednesday and Thursday in Moscow and have advanced to Friday’s second round of elimination where Branagh and Youngs, seeded first, will face Norway’s 22nd-ranked Kathrine Maaseide and Susanne Glesnes. Boss and Ross, ranked fifth, will face Brazil’s 17th-seeded Maria Antonelli and Vanilda dos Santos Leão.

The U.S. women’s team of Tyra Turner (Fort Myers Beach, Fla.) and Rachel Wacholder (Laguna Beach, Calif.) has 3,660 Olympic qualifying points. Turner and Wacholder are ranked eighth in Moscow and also advanced to the second round where they will play Belgium’s 12th-seeded Liesbet Van Breedam and Liesbeth Mouha.

On the men’s side, the U.S. teams of Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.), seeded first, Casey Jennings (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.), ranked eighth, and Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.), seeded 11th, all won their first two pool play matches on Thursday.

Dalhausser/Rogers and Gibb/Rosenthal lead the U.S. men’s teams in Olympic qualifying by a significant margin over Jennings and Fuerbringer, who didn’t come together as a team until the end of the 2007 season.

There is one more SWATCH FIVB World Tour event to be played – July 14-20 in Marseilles, France – before the end of the Olympic qualification period.

Complete results, photos and more information are available on the FIVB beach Web site at