U.S. Beach Teams Open FIVB Tour in Brazil

April 22, 2009, 12:13 a.m. (ET)

B.J. Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone:  719-228-6800        
E-Mail: bj.evans@usav.org

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 21, 2009) – Seven U.S. teams are in Brasilia, Brazil this week for the KIA Open, part of the SWATCH FIVB World Beach Volleyball Tour.

Leading the way are 2008 Olympic gold medalists and defending world champions Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.).

Dalhausser and Rogers have already won two AVP events this spring in Panama Beach, Fla., and Riverside, Calif. On June 25-July 5, they will be looking to defend their world championship in Stavanger, Norway. They are the top-ranked team in Brazil.

U.S. Olympians Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) are ranked 12th in the Brazil main draw while the U.S. team of Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Casey Jennings (Las Vegas, Nev.) is ranked 11th.

Finally, the U.S. team of Nick Lucena (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Brad Keenan (Westminster, Calif.) must win in the qualification tournament to advance to the main draw. They will face Trygve Leite and Magne Kobbevik of Norway in the first round of qualifying on Wednesday.

In an exhibition match played on Tuesday, Dalhausser and Rogers scored a 21-19, 21-19 victory over Athens 2004 Summer Games champions Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos of Brazil.

In the women’s bracket, U.S. Olympians Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and Elaine Youngs (El Toro, Calif.) are seeded second behind U.S. teammates Jen Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.).

In another exhibition match played Tuesday, Brazil’s Sandra Pires playing her final competitive match on the centre court at the US$380,000 KIA Open, teamed with Talita Antunes to score a 22-20, 21-19 win over Branagh and Youngs.

The U.S. women's team of Lauren Fendrick (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Ashley Ivy (Arlington, Texas), ranked 10th, will open play against Switzerland's Simone Kuhn and Nadine Zumkehr, ranked 23rd.

Tuesday’s exhibition schedule concluded with a four-man match featuring Brazilians against a team made up of players from Germany, Norway and the United States with the host country winning 13-21, 21-19, 18-16.

Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes, who dropped the Beijing 2008 Olympic gold medal match to Dalhausser and Rogers, led the Brazilian team along with Harley Marques, Marcelo Negrao and Mauricio Lima.  Dalhausser and Rogers competed for the international team along with U.S. beach legend Sinjin Smith, Germans Mischa Urbatzka and Florian Huth, and Norwegian Bjorn Maaseide.

The KIA Open continues Wednesday with the opening women’s main draw matches and men’s qualification. The men’s main draw begins Thursday.

For more information, visit the FIVB beach volleyball site at www.fivb.org/en/BeachVolleyball/index.asp.