Branagh and Youngs Advance to Semifinals of Gstaad Grand Slam

July 10, 2009, 5:53 p.m. (ET)

Maura Gladys
Intern, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6886
E-Mail: maura.gladys@usav.org

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 10, 2009) - Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and Elaine Youngs (El Toro, Calif.) were the lone U.S. women's beach team to advance to the semifinals of the 2009 Gstaad Grand Slam in Switzerland, part of the SWATCH FIVB World Tour.

Branagh and Youngs got there by defeating Simone Kuhn and Nadine Zumkehr of Switzerland, 2-0 (21-16, 21-16) in the second round, and Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler of Germany, 2-1 (21-16, 18-21, 15-12) in the third round on Friday.

Branagh and Youngs will square off against second-seeded Talita Da Rocha Antunes and Maria Antonelli of Brazil in the semifinals on July 11. If they win, they will advance to the championship match where they will play the winner of the semifinal between Marleen Van Iersel and Sanne Keizer of the Netherlands and Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta Da Silva of Brazil.

The top-seeded team of Jen Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) was upset, 1-2 (21-19, 20-22, 13-15) in the third round by third-seeded Juliana and Larissa. Kessy and Ross advanced to the third round by beating Isabelle Forrer and Sarah Schmocker of Switzerland, 2-0 (21-12, 21-10) in a quick, 24-minute game, but the Brazillians, whom Kessy and Ross defeated to win the world title last week in Stavanger, proved too much for Kessy and Ross to handle.

On the men's side, 16th-seeded Jake Gibb (Bountiful Utah) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.)   lost to Brazil's top-seeded Harley Marques and Alison Cerruti, 2-1 (21-16, 24-26, 15-9), setting up a tough first-round match with sixth seeded Benjamin Insfran and Pedro Salgado of Brazil. Gibb and Rosenthal lost, 1- 2 (19-21, 21-17, 15-17) to Insfran and Salgado in a tight match and were eliminated from the tournament.

Sixth-seeded Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) beat Rivo Vesik and Kristjan Kais of Estonia, 2-1 (18-21, 21-18, 15-12) in their last pool-play match, giving them a 3-0 record and a bye to the second round. They will face Insfran and Salgado on Saturday.

Casey Jennings (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) were also victorious in their last pool play match, defeating Philip Gabathuler and Jan Schnider of Switzerland, 2-1 (21-19, 18-21, 15-11). They earned a bye to the second round and will take on Martin Laciga and Jefferson Bellaguarda of Switzerland.

Play continues Saturday, with the women's semifinals and finals, and the men's second and third round.

Matches can be seen live at Universal Sports.

More information and complete results and photos are available at http://www.fivb.org/EN/BeachVolleyball/index.asp.

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