Three U.S. Beach Teams Undefeated in Brazil

April 23, 2009, 6:06 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 23, 2009) – Three U.S. beach volleyball teams remain undefeated at the US$380,000 Kia Open in Brasilia, Brazil – part of the SWATCH FIVB World Tour – while three others must fight their way through consolation.

On the women’s side, Top-seeded Jen Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) opened play on Thursday by beating Austria’s 25th-ranked Sara Montagnolli and Barbara Hansel (21-15, 21-10 in 38 minutes), then had to come back in round 4 to beat Brazil’s fifth-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca, 2-1 (20-22, 21-14, 15-11) in 54 minutes.

Kessy and Ross snapped a four-match losing streak to the Brazilian pair.

“We had our opportunities to win the first set, but I made some mistakes at the end,” said Kessy, who has three SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medals with Ross, in an FIVB release.

“We changed our serving tactics in the second set and forced Juliana and Larissa into some mistakes,” Ross added.  “We beat one of the best teams in the world today, so we are very happy.  It was a tough match and we just made the plays at the end.”

Second-seeded Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and Elaine Youngs (El Toro, Calif.) also made it to the semifinals. After posting a 2-1 (16-21, 21-18, 15-10) victory in 55 minutes over 23rd-seeded Simone Kuhn and Nadine Zumkehr of Switzerland in the third round, Branagh and Youngs took a 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) win in 39 minutes over 11th-seeded Sara Goller and Laura Ludwig of Germany in the fourth.

Both U.S. women’s teams will have to wait for consolation matches to be played on Friday before they know who their semifinal opponents will be.

The women’s medal matches will be played on Saturday.

In the men’s bracket, Beijing Olympic champions Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) will face their opponents from the gold medal match, Brazil’s eighth-seeded Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes, in the third round.

“We look forward to meeting Phil and Todd,” Marcio Araujo told the FIVB. “We had our chance against the Americans in Beijing, but Phil had a great third set with several blocks.  Although it is early in the season, this will be a great match between two great teams.”

Dalhausser and Rogers opened play on Thursday by defeating U.S. teammates Nick Lucena (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Brad Keenan (Westminster, Calif.), ranked 32nd, who had to fight their way through qualifying on Wednesday just to make it to the main draw. Dalhausser and Rogers defeated them 2-0 (21-12, 21-14) in 39 minutes.

Dalhausser and Rogers beat 17th-ranked Kristjan Kais and Rivo Vesik of Estonia, 2-1 (21-19, 15-21, 15-12) in 56 minutes in the second round.

Besides Lucena and Keenan, two other U.S. men’s teams also fell to the consolation bracket on Thursday.

Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Casey Jennings (Las Vegas, Nev.), ranked 11th, lost in the first round to Poland’s 22nd-ranked Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel, 1-2 (16-21, 21-14, 13-15) in 63 minutes. They won their first consolation match over Netherland’s 27th-seeded Emiel Boersma and Joppe Paulides, 2-0 (25-23, 22-20) in 55 minutes.

Fuerbringer and Jennings will face 20th-seeded Igor Hernandez and Jesus Villafañe of Venezuela in consolation play on Friday.

Thirteenth-ranked Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) won their first round match over 20th-seeded Patrick Heuscher and Sascha Heyer of Switzerland, 2-1 (29-31, 24-22, 15-12) in 75 minutes. But they lost in the second round to Brazil’s fourth seeded Alison Cerutti and Harley Marques, 1-2 (21-17, 14-21, 9-15) in 57 minutes.

Gibb and Rosenthal will play 30th-ranked Sebastian Dollinger and Thomas Kaczmarek of Germany on Friday.

Lucena and Keenan will face Poland’s 15th-seeded Michal Kadziola and Jakub Szalankiewicz on Friday.

The men’s semifinals will be played on Saturday and the medal matches on Sunday.

For more information, visit the FIVB beach volleyball site at