COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 13, 2012) –The U.S. women’s beach volleyball teams of Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh, Jennifer Kessy/April Ross, and Nicole Branagh/Tyra Turner all won their first pool play matches on Wednesday at the smart Grand Slam Rome, part of the 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour.
Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) were seeded No. 4 in the Rome main draw. In their first pool-play match, they defeated Great Britain’s 29th-seeded Shauna Mullin and Zara Dampney 21-9, 21-13 in 33 minutes.
The duo will close pool play on Thursday against the Czech Republic’s No. 20-seeded Hana Klapalova and Lenka Hajeckova and Germany’s No. 13-seeded Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler.
The first round of single elimination play will be held on Friday.
May-Treanor (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Walsh (San Jose, Calif.) received the No. 6 seed in the main draw. They opened pool play on Wednesday with a win over Russia’s No. 27-seeded Anastasia Vasina and Anna Vozakova, 21-13, 22-20 in 36 minutes.
The two-time Olympic champions, who are coming off a silver-medal finish at the Moscow Grand Slam, will conclude pool play on Thursday against Brazil’s Angela Vieira and Liliane Maestrini (No. 22) and Australia’s Bawden and Palmer (No. 11).
Branagh (Torrance, Calif.) and Turner (Fort Myers Beach, Fla.) received the No. 14 seed at Rome. In their first main-draw match of the season, they defeated the Greek team of Maria Tsiartsiani and Vasiliki Arvaniti (No. 19) 20-22, 21-10, 15-12 in 51 minutes.
On Thursday, the duo will conclude pool play against Switzerland’s No. 30-seeded team of Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Verge-Depre and Brazil’s No. 3-seeded team of Talita Da Rocha Antunes and Maria Antonelli.
The Chase for London Reaches its Final Leg
The smart Grand Slam Rome marks the last chance for teams to earn points toward qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games.
The U.S. men’s beach volleyball team of Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal heads into Rome with a 200-point advantage over Matt Fuerbringer and Nick Lucena in the race to claim the second spot on the U.S. Olympic beach team.
The first slot on the U.S. Olympic team is projected to go to Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Calif.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.). They are expected to be a top seed in London despite withdrawing from Rome.
The men’s side of Rome opened play on Wednesday with a single-elimination qualifying bracket. Bradley Keenan (Westminster, Calif.) and John Mayer (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) went into qualifying seeded No. 22. In the first round, they defeated Australia’s No. 11-seeded Christopher McHugh and Joshua Slack 21-17, 13-21, 15-10 in 46 minutes. They suffered a second-round loss to Denmark’s 6th-seeded Bo Soderberg and Anders Lund Hoyer, 14-21, 9-21 in 34 minutes.
Casey Jennings (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Billy Strickland (Malibu, Calif.) received the No. 18 seed in qualifying. They earned a first-round win over Spain’s Raul Mesa and Inocencio Lario Carillo (No. 15) 21-16, 21-18 in 47 minutes. In the second round, they fell to Switzerland’s 2nd-seeded Martin Laciga and Jonas Weingart 19-21, 11-21 in 34 minutes.
Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) along with Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Lucena (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) had enough FIVB ranking points to automatically advance to the main draw and are slated to compete in their first matches on Thursday.
To follow the Chase for London since the begining of the season, visit the USAV website.
For complete information on the 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour, visit their website.