Kessy, Ross Advance to Phuket Semifinals

Nov. 04, 2011, 12:37 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 4, 2011) – The second-seeded U.S. women’s beach volleyball team of Jen Kessy and April Ross has reached the semifinals of the Phuket Thailand Open, the final event of the 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour.

The 11th-seeded U.S. team of Lauren Fendrick (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Brooke Hanson (Woodland Hills, Calif.) is also still alive in consolation and must win two matches on Saturday to reach the semifinals.

Both U.S. teams played grueling matches on Friday in their efforts to advance.

Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) won their third-round match over Czech Republic’s seventh-ranked Kristyna Kolocova and Slukova Marketa, 11-21, 21-11, 15-9 in 52 minutes.

In Friday’s quarterfinals, Kessy and Ross battled Australia’s surprising 19th-seeded Louise Bawden and Becchara Palmer, 21-19, 18-21, 15-11 in 76 minutes; the longest match of the tournament so far.

In the tiebreaker set, Kessy and Ross were down 4-7 and scored five consecutive points to take a 9-7 lead. Australia never got closer than two points after that.

“Both the Czech Republic and Australian teams came out blazing against us, but we kept our cool and turned each match around into our favor,” Ross said in an FIVB release. “We want to play better and we weren’t that far off but both of these teams came out strong and we had to change our game plans in both to pull out the wins. Defense is what put us over the top today and against Australia in the tiebreak, we didn’t make many mistakes and that helped us well.

“We’re getting better but the competition is tougher than ever as well. We need to pass better and fix a few minor things to keep moving forward.”

China’s top-ranked Chen Xue and Xi Zhang advanced to the other semifinal.

Fendrick and Hanson could play them, but first must defeat Canada’s 17th-seeded Heather Bansley and Elizabeth Maloney on Saturday. The winner of that match will play Bawden and Palmer for the chance to play in the semifinals.

Fendrick and Hanson opened play on Friday by winning a battle over Great Britain’s 21st-ranked Shauna Mullin and Zara Dampney, 22-20, 20-22, 15-11 in 57 minutes.

In their next consolation match, they scored an upset over Brazil’s third-seeded Maria Clara Salgado Rufino and Carolina Solberg Salgado, 21-18, 15-21, 20-18 in 1:06.

In their third consolation match of the day, Fendrick and Hanson defeated Australia's eighth-ranked Natalie Cook and Tamsin Hinchley, 21-13, 21-17 in 37 minutes.

For more information and photos, click here.