American Beach Teams Sweep Gold Medals in France

July 26, 2009, 5:55 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 26, 2009) – The USA Volleyball beach teams of Jen Kessy and April Ross and Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers swept the women’s and men’s gold medals on Sunday at the US$600,000 World Series 13 Grand Chelem, part of the SWATCH FIVB Grand Slam tournament in Marseille, France.

After third-seeded Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) defeated Vassiliki Arvaniti and Maria Tsiartsiani of Greece, 2-0 (21-16, 21-17) in the 42-minute women’s finale on the Plages Gaston Defferre centre court, the fourth-seeded Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) captured their first SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal this season by defeating seventh-seeded Adrian Gavira Collado and Pablo Herrera of Spain, 2-0 (21-8, 21-14) in 35 minutes.

The gold medal teams each shared the $43,000 first-place prizes.

“Todd has been telling me that the single-elimination format is very good,” said the 29-year old Dalhausser, who was named the SWATCH most outstanding player for the tournament. “I think the format gives you a chance to focus on the matches more and eliminate concerns about who you might play if you lose like in a double- elimination format.”

Sunday’s win by the Americans also avenged a quarterfinal elimination setback to Gavira and Herrera two weeks ago in the Swiss Grand Slam where the Spaniards finished third. 

“The young Spaniards are a very good team. We knew we had to play a lot better this time against them,” Dalhausser said. “We played very well from the start of the match and kept the pressure on them. This is a good win for us.”

Dalhausser and Rogers won their seventh SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal match in 10 finales.

While Kessy and Ross had posted one upset win in their run to the gold medal in their first-ever appearance in Marseille on the Plages Gaston Defferre courts, Arvaniti and Tsiartsiani’s road to the finals featured seed-break-through victories over the 13th-, fourth-, fifth- and eighth-seeded beach volleyball pairs from Austria, the United States, Brazil and Germany, respectively.

“From this tournament on, the Greeks will be a tough pair to beat for any team on this tour,” said Kessy, who was named the SWATCH most outstanding player of the tournament. “We have played them three times now, so we feel fortunate to defeat them each time. They are getting better with every match and their confidence with each other is growing with each tournament.”

Kessy and Ross, who advanced to their seventh SWATCH FIVB World Tour final in their last nine international starts, defeated Arvaniti and Tsiartsiani in an elimination match at the world championships three weeks ago in Norway before scoring a pool play victory a week later in the Swiss Grand Slam in Gstaad.

In becoming the sixth American team to win a Marseille gold medal, Kessy and Ross also secured their fifth SWATCH FIVB World Tour title together in 26 starts together while competing in their ninth international finale.

The SWATCH FIVB World Tour’s final Grand Slam stop in 2009 will be played in Austria where the women’s competition begins Monday in Klagenfurt followed by the men’s first matches Tuesday.