Two U.S. Beach Teams to Play for Gold Medals
B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 25, 2009) – The USA Volleyball beach teams of Jen Kessy and April Ross and Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers will play for the women's and men's gold medals at the SWATCH FIVB Grand Slam tournament in Marseille, France.
The US$600,000 World Series 13 Grand Chelem, the third of four straight Grand Slam tournaments, is the first "pure" single-elimination international beach volleyball event in nearly eight years.
In the men's bracket, Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) will be seeking to win their country's first-ever men's gold medal in Marseille after ending the 25-match winning streak of current world champions Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann of Germany on Saturday afternoon to advance to the finals.
Dalhausser and Rogers will face seventh-seeded Adrian Gavira Collado and Pablo Herrera of Spain in Sunday's finale where the winning team will share the $43,000 first-place prize. Dalhausser and Rogers will be only the second men's team from the United States to compete for a gold medal in the 15-year history of the Marseille event with Carl Henkel and Sinjin Smith placing second in 1996.
With their 2-0 (21-18, 21-15) win in 48 minutes over the top-seeded Brink and Reckermann, the fourth-seeded Dalhausser and Rogers avenged a semifinal setback to the Germans at the world championships three weeks ago in Norway while advancing to their 10th SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal match where the Americans have topped the podium six times.
"It was just our day to win as we had the better service game and handled the wind better than Julius and Jonas," Dalhausser said. "The Germans have been unbelievable this season and we just caught them on a day when the wind played to our advantage."
Brink and Reckermann had won four of the past five SWATCH FIVB World Tour events this season featuring their gold medal finish earlier this month in the Stavanger world championships. The Germans broke the international Beach Volleyball record for most consecutive match wins by a men's team with an opening win Friday and added two more victories later in the day to advance to their seventh-straight semifinal this season.
In the women's bracket, third-seeded Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) will face Greece's 20th-ranked Vassiliki Arvaniti and Maria Tsiartsiani in Sunday's gold medal match.
Kessy and Ross, the reigning world champions after winning the title three weeks ago in Norway, advanced to the finals with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-13) win in 38 minutes over second-seeded Talita Antunes and Maria Antonelli of the Brazil. It was the Americans' first win over Talita and Antonelli as the Brazilians defeated Kessy and Ross twice at the end of May for the Korean gold medal in Seoul.
"The Greeks have played very well as a team this week and are starting to come into their own. They are very athletic," Kessy said.
Ross added, Arvaniti and Tsiartsiani "have really been impressive the past two days. Look who they defeated Friday. Defeating EY and Nicole (Elaine Youngs and Nicole Branagh) and Shelda and Ana Paula (Bede and Connelly of Brazil) in back-to-back matches Friday is a great feat for any team on this tour."
After winning their fourth SWATCH title at the Stavanger world champions, Kessy and Ross have placed fifth and ninth the past two weeks in Switzerland and Russia, respectively. "It was tough getting our focus back after winning the world championships," Kessy added as her team will be playing in their ninth SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal match. "We were on such a high. Maybe, we should have taken the week off after Stavanger.
Sunday's winners will share the $43,000 first-place prize as Kessy and Ross will be playing in their fourth gold medal match this season as the Americans are playing in Marseille for the first-time.
More information and a complete list of entries are available on the FIVB beach volleyball web site at www.fivb.org/en/BeachVolleyball/index.asp.