FIVB Beach Event in Thailand on Tap for U.S. Women's Teams

Nov. 05, 2008, 6:43 p.m. (ET)
B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800

Release by:
Jeff Lajoie
Intern, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 5, 2008)
- Four U.S. women's beach volleyball teams are entered in the main draw of a SWATCH FIVB World Tour event in Phuket, Thailand, which began play Nov. 4 and will run through Nov. 9 at Karon Beach.

Americans Gretchen Duffner (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Alicia Zamparelli (Glendale, Calif.) were the lone U.S. squad in action on Wednesday, winning a qualification match against Julaluk Radarong and Manerat Udomchavee of host Thailand, 21-19, 17-21, 20-18, to advance to the main draw.

"I'm very happy to win the match," the FIVB quoted Duffner through a translator. "This is our first time in the FIVB's competition and we are a bit nervous trying to give out our best form here. To get a chance to play in the main draw is our priority and it's a dream come true now. We have no pressure at all playing in the main draw. It will be tough out there, but we will do our best again. We trained together only a couple months before coming here and coming this far is very satisfactory."

Seeded 31st out of 32 teams in the main draw, Duffner and Zamparelli will meet the second-seeded American pair of Jen Boss (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) on Thursday in round one. Boss and Ross, fresh off a second place finish in last month's FIVB event in Dubai, are the top-ranked U.S. tandem in Thailand. The pair has eight top-five finishes during the FIVB World Tour in 2008.

Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and Tyra Turner (Fort Myers Beach, Fla.) will partner for the first time in Thailand, and the pair is seeded third in the main draw. Branagh won the FIVB event in Dubai last month, competing with two-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh (Saratoga, Calif.) to capture the title. Turner and partner Nancy Mason (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) finished 13th in Dubai.

Branagh and Turner begin play in Thailand on Thursday with a first round contest against young Mexican teammates Xitlali Herrera and Rosario Reyes.

Lauren Fendrick (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Ashley Ivy (Arlington, Texas) round out the U.S. contingent in Thailand, and the pair is seeded fifth in the main draw. Fendrick and Ivy have had an impressive FIVB season, winning a pair of satellite events in Egypt and Liechtenstein this summer before finishing in seventh place in last month's Dubai Open.

Fendrick and Ivy kick off their tournament on Thursday with a match against Norway's Ragnhild Aas and Siri Bjørkesett.

For more information on the FIVB event in Thailand, visit the FIVB web site.