COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 15, 2012) – The U.S. women’s beach volleyball teams of Jen Kessy and April Ross along with Kerri Walsh and Nicole Branagh are undefeated after one day of main-draw play at the Mazury Orlen Grand Slam in Stare Jablonki, Poland.
The Mazury Orlen tournament is the final Grand Slam event on the 2012 SWATCH FIVB World Tour.
On the men’s side, the Olympic teams of Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) along with Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Calif.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) will compete in Thursday’s main draw along with Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Nick Lucena (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.).
Kerri Walsh (San Jose, Calif.) and longtime partner Misty May-Treanor (Santa Monica, Calif.) won their third consecutive gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in a fitting conclusion to a historic partnership.
Days after making history, Walsh paired up with Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and focused on the next victory.
“I love my job and I love winning,” Walsh said in an FIVB press release. “Even at the Olympics I was already thinking about coming here. It is my job and I want to win. I’m here to win.”
Walsh and Branagh received the No. 12 seed in Poland. They opened pool play on Wednesday with a win over their No. 21-seeded U.S. compatriots Lauren Fendrick (Carlsbad, Ind.) and Brooke Hanson (Ventura, Calif.), 21-14, 21-19 in 35 minutes.
Next, Walsh and Branagh tallied a victory over Austria’s Barbara Hansel and Magdalena Jirak (No. 28), 19-21, 21-12, 15-8 in 43 minutes.
“It is always an honor to play with Kerri,” Branagh said in an FIVB press release. “I think when we play together we play well and we have had some success. It is fun to play with her. I’m happy to be part of the team and I’m looking forward to a great tournament.”
Walsh and Branagh will close pool play on Thursday against the Netherlands’ fifth-seeded Madelein Meppelink and Sophie van Gestel.
Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.), seeded No. 1 in Poland, are coming off a silver-medal finish at the 2012 Olympic Games. They opened pool play with a win over Poland’s 32-seeded Agnieszka Pregowska and Renata Bekier 21-13, 21-6 in 29 minutes.
Next, Kessy and Ross defeated the Slovakian team of Natalia Dubovcova and Dominika Nestarcova (No. 17), 21-11, 21-13 in 29 minutes.
Kessy and Ross will conclude pool play on Thursday against Brazil’s 16th-seeded Maria Clara Salgado Rufino and Liliane Maestrini.
The first round of single elimination is also slated for Thursday.
Fendrick and Hanson received the No. 21 seed in Poland. After falling to Walsh and Branagh in the first match of pool, Fendrick and Hanson defeated the Netherlands’ fifth-seeded Madelein Meppelink and Sophie van Gestel, 21-19, 14-21, 15-12 in 44 minutes.
Fendrick and Hanson will close pool play on Thursday against the Austrian team of Barbara Hansel and Magdalena Jirak (No. 28).
Angie Akers (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Brittany Hochevar (Fowler, Colo.), seeded No. 27, lost their first pool-play match to the Germany’s Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler (No. 6), 21-17, 21-15 in 33 minutes.
Next, they defeated Austria’s 11th-seeded Louis Bawden and Tamsin Hinchley, 21-10, 21-17 in 33 minutes.
Akers and Hochevar will close pool play on Thursday against the Swedish team of Isabelle Forrer Anouk Verge-Depre (No. 22).
On the men’s side, Gibb and Rosenthal, seeded No. 2 in Poland, will face the Ukrainian team of Popov Sergiy and Valeriy Samoday (No. 31) in their first pool-play match. Next, they will face Italy’s 18th-seeded Paolo Ingrosso and Matteo Ingrosso.
Gibb and Rosenthal will conclude pool play on Friday against Germany’s 15th-seeded team of Sebastian Fuchs and Eric Koreng.
The first round of single elimination is also slate for Friday.
Dalhausser and Rogers, seeded No. 4 in Poland, will open pool play against Sweden’s 29-seeded Micro Gerson and Philip Gabathuler. Next, they will face the Russian’s 20th-seeded Dmitri Barsouk and Yury Bogatov.
Dalhausser and Rogers will close pool play on Friday against the Kazakhstani team of Alexey Sidorenko and Alexandr Dyachenko (No. 13).
Fuerbringer and Lucena, seeded No. 6, round out the U.S. representation in Poland. They are slated to face Sweden’s 27th-seeded Hannes Brinkborg and Stefan Gunnarsson in their first match of pool play.
Next, Fuerbringer and Lucena will take on the Russian team of Konstantin Semenov and Serguei Prokopiev (No. 22).
Fuerbringer and Lucena will close pool play on Friday against Brazil’s 11th-seeded Ricardo Alex Costa Santos and Vitor Goncalves Felipe.
Bradley Keenan (Westminster, Calif.) and John Mayer (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) fell in the first round of qualifying to Poland’s 23-seeded team of Michal Makowski and Dawid Popek, 21-12, 21-18 in 34 minutes. They did not advance to Thursday’s main draw.
For complete information on the 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour, visit their web site.