Kessy, Ross Advance to Gold Medal Match

April 24, 2009, 5:40 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 24, 2009) – The top-seeded U.S. beach volleyball team of Jen Kessy and April Ross advanced to Saturday’s gold medal match where it will play a rematch against Brazil's fifth-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca at the KIA Open in Brasilia, Brazil.

According to an FIVB release, Brazil and the United States have combined to win 352 of the 415 men’s (182) and women’s (170) gold medals awarded on the international circuit as Saturday’s final will feature the two countries playing for a women’s SWATCH FIVB World Tour title for the 74th-time with the United States holding a 43-30 edge.

The U.S. team of Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and Elaine Youngs (El Toro, Calif.), ranked second, will also have a rematch against 11th-seeded Sara Goller and Laura Ludwig of Germany to determine the bronze medal.

In Friday’s first semifinals, Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) defeated Goller and Ludwig, 2-0 (21-16, 21-15) in 37 minutes. Branagh and Youngs fell to Juliana and Larissa, 1-2 (16-21, 21-18, 12-15) in 55 minutes.

Kessy and Ross snapped a four-match losing streak to Juliana and Larissa when they beat the Brazilians on Thursday in the fourth round, 2-1 (20-22, 21-14, 15-11) in 54 minutes. Branagh and Youngs beat Goller and Ludwig in the fourth round, 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) in 39 minutes.

Kessy and Ross, who will be competing in their fourth-straight SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal match with title finishes at the end of last season in Thailand and China.

Among the U.S. men’s teams, only top-seeded Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) remains alive. But they are playing in consolation after falling to Brazil’s eighth-seeded Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes, 0-2 (19-21, 16-21) in 53 minutes in the third round.

They came back to defeat Brazil’s fifth-seeded Pedro Cunha and Pedro Salgado, 0-2 (14-21, 16-21) in 54 minutes. On Saturday, Dalhausser and Rogers will face 28th-seeded Rodrigo Monteiro and Bernardo Romano in an opening elimination match with the winner playing Germany’s 10th-seeded Christoph Dieckmann and Kay Matysik for a spot in the semifinals opposite Brazil’s fourth-ranked Alison Cerutti and Harley Marques.

Three other U.S. men’s teams – 11th-ranked Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Casey Jennings (Las Vegas, Nev.), Nick Lucena (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Brad Keenan (Westminster, Calif.), ranked 32nd, and 13th-ranked Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) – were all eliminated from the competition.

Lucena and Keenan, who fought their way through qualifying to make the main draw, will finish tied for ninth after falling to Brazil’s 28th-seeded Rodrigo Monteiro and Bernardo Romano, 1-2 (21-17, 18-21, 9-15) in 52 minutes.

Fuerbringer and Jennings will also finish tied for ninth after losing to second-seeded Reindeer Nummerdor and Richard Schuil of the Netherlands, 1-2 (21-18, 16-21, 10-15) in 63 minutes.

Gibb and Rosenthal finished tied for 13th after being defeated in consolation by Fuerbringer and Jennings, 1-2 (22-20, 19-21, 13-15) in 66 minutes.

For more information, visit the FIVB beach volleyball site at