The Chase for London Moves to Moscow

By Deb Stadick | June 05, 2012, 12 a.m. (ET)

Photo: Courtesy FIVB

Kerri Walsh, left, blocks against Jennifer Kessy during their match on May 11 in Beijing, China.

Deb Stadick
Intern, Communications
Phone: 719-228-6800

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 5, 2012) – With just two weeks left in the qualifying process for Olympic beach volleyball, the 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour moves on to Russia on June 6-12 for the Moscow Grand Slam.

Moscow marks the second-to-last chance for the U.S. men’s beach teams of Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) along with Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Nick Lucena (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) to qualify for the second spot on the Olympic team.

Going into Moscow, Gibb and Rosenthal are 40 points ahead of Fuerbringer and Lucena (4,960-4,920). Gibb and Rosenthal, who placed fifth at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, took their first lead of the season in the race after a ninth-place finish in the Prague Open, where Fuerbringer and Lucena finished 25th.

The first spot on the U.S. Olympic team is projected to go to Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.), who have already earned enough points to qualify. The duo has medaled in three of four events this season, garnering first-place finishes in Brazil and China.

The three men’s teams will compete in the main draw, which begins on Saturday.

The U.S. women’s teams of Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Hanson, Angie Akers/Brittany Hochevar, and Nicole Branagh/Tyra Turner begin play on Wednesday in a country quota bracket.

Fendrick (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Hanson (Ventura, Calif.) advanced to the main draw in three of four SWATCH World Tour events this season. They finished 17th in each.

Akers (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Hochevar (Fowler, Colo.) advanced to the main draw at each FIVB event this season. In the last two events, they earned a pair of 33rd-place finishes.

Branagh (Torrance, Calif.) and Turner (Fort Myers Beach, Fla.) last played together internationally at the end of 2008. They recently finished third together at the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Tour event in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The U.S. beach teams of Misty May-Treanor (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Kerri Walsh (San Jose, Calif.) along with Jennifer Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) have both earned enough FIVB points to qualify for London.

Both pairs are still looking for their first international podium finish of 2012 and both will begin play on Friday in the main draw.

Complete information about the FIVB World Tour is available on the FIVB web site.