COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 3, 2012) – Five U.S. women’s beach volleyball teams are slated to compete Wednesday in the main draw of the 1 to 1 Energy Grand Slam in Gstaad, Switzerland.
Jennifer Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) received the No. 4 seed at Gstaad. Their first pool-play match on Wednesday will pit them against Switzerland’s No. 29-seeded Romana Kayser and Joana Heidrich. Next, they will face Italy’s 20th-seeded Gioria Daniela and Giulia Momoli.
Kessy and Ross will conclude pool play on Thursday against Belgium’s Liesbeth Mouha and Katrien Gielen (No. 13).
Misty May-Treanor (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Kerri Walsh (San Jose, Calif.), seeded No. 6, are slated to face the Netherland’s 27th-seeded Jolien Sinnema and Marloes Wesselink in their first pool-play match. Next, they will face Slovokia’s Natalia Dubovcova and Dominika Nestarcova (No. 22).
May-Treanor and Walsh will finish pool play on Thursday against Austria’s No. 11 Doris and Stefanie Schwaiger
Lauren Fendrick (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Brooke Hanson (Ventura, Calif.) received the No. 16 seed at Gstaad. In their first match, they will face No. 32-seeded U.S. teammates Jennifer Fopma (Bellflower, Calif.) and Brooke Sweat (Estero, Fla.). Next, they will face Germany’s Karla Borger and Britta Buthe (No. 17).
Fendrick and Hanson will close pool play on Thursday against Brazil’s Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta Da Silva (No. 1).
Jenny Kropp (Grand Island, Neb.) and Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) received the No. 22 seed. Their first match will pit them against Slovenia’s No. 28-seeded Andreja Vodeb and Simona Fabjan. Next, they will face the Netherland’s Madelein Meppelink and Sophia van Gestel (No. 12).
Branagh and Kropp will close pool play on Thursday against the Netherland’s 5th-seeded Sanna Keizer and Marleen Van Iersel.
Fopma and Sweat did not have enough FIVB ranking points to earn automatic entry in the main draw. They opened play on Monday in a country quota bracket.
Their first match pitted them against their U.S. teammates Emily Day (Torrance, Calif.) and Heather Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.), whom they defeated 21-12, 21-18 in 34 minutes. Next, they eliminated the U.S. team of Angie Akers (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Brittany Hochevar (Fowler, Colo.), 18-21, 21-18, 15-11 in 49 minutes to earn a berth in the qualification round.
Fopma and Sweat received the No. 14 seed in Tuesday’s qualifying bracket. They earned a victory over France’s No. 19-seeded Adele Bardouillet and Fanny Menissier 21-7, 21-9 in 24 minutes. Next, they defeated the Netherland’s Jolien Sinnema and Marloes Wesselink, No. 3 in qualifying, 18-21, 21-15, 15-13 in 47 minutes to advance to the main draw.
“Oh my gosh, we are so excited to enter the main draw in our first tournament together on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour.” Fopma said in an FIVB press release. “Our goal was to reach the main draw. Now we will set our goals even higher.”
Fopma and Sweat, seeded No. 32, will face Fendrick and Hanson in their first pool-play match. Next, they will face the Brazilian team of Franca and Felisberta Da Silva (No. 1).
Fopma and Sweat will conclude pool play on Thursday against Germany’s 17th-seeded Karla Borger and Britta Buthe.
On the men’s side, play commenced on Tuesday with a country quota bracket.
Casey Jennings (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Billy Strickland (Malibu, Calif.) defeated Brad Keenan (Westminster, Calif.) and John Mayer (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), 21-12, 25-27, 15-12 in 48 minutes.
“These country quota matches we have to play most tournaments are one thing to us, stress.” Keenan said in an FIVB press release. “I am a real hyper player so I pass a ball to the ball boy before I serve just to calm me down.”
Keenan and Strickland, seeded No. 8 in qualifying, received a first-round bye in qualifying. They are slated to face the German team of Markus Bockermann and Mischa Urbatzka (No. 9) in Wednesday’s second round of qualifying.
The U.S. men’s team of Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers, Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal and Matt Fuerbringer/Nick Lucena are slated to compete in Thursday’s main draw.
Gstaad marks the fifth FIVB event Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Calif.) and Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) will compete in this season. The Olympic bound duo withdrew from the last two events, Moscow and Rome, due to injury.
Gibb (Bountiful, Utah( and Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) were in a neck-and-neck race with Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Lucena (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) for the second spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic beach volleyball team. After taking first place in Rome, Gibb and Rosenthal cinched the spot. Fuerbringer and Lucena kept the race close to the bitter end, finishing fourth in Rome.
For complete information about the 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour, visit their web site.