COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 15, 2012) –The U.S. men’s beach volleyball teams of Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal and Matt Fuerbringer/Nick Lucena both won their first single-elimination matches on Friday at the smart Grand Slam Rome, keeping the Chase for London close to the bitter end.
On the women’s side, the U.S. teams of Jennifer Kessy/April Ross and Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh have advanced to the quarterfinals.
Going into the smart Grand Slam Rome, Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) had a 200-point lead over Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Lucena (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) in the race to claim the second spot on the U.S. Olympic team roster. The first spot is projected to go to Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Calif.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.), who will most likely be among the top seeds in London despite withdrawing from Rome.
Gibb and Rosenthal, seeded No. 5 in Rome, closed pool play on Friday with a win over Brazil’s No. 21-seeded team of Thiago Santos Barbosa and Rhooney de Oliveira Ferramenta, 21-17, 21-13 in 37 minutes.
They finished pool play at 2-1 and in the first round of single elimination they defeated Switzerland’s 26th-seeded team of Martin Laciga and Jonas Weingart, 21-18, 21-13 in 36 minutes.
On Saturday, they are slated to face the German team of Sebastian Dollinger and Stefan Windscheif (No. 15) in the second round.
Fuerbringer and Lucena went into Rome knowing they would have to perform almost flawlessly to overtake Gibb and Rosenthal.
In their final pool-play match, Fuerbringer and Lucena, seeded 12th, beat the Netherland’s No. 28 seed Jon Stiekema and Christiaan Varenhorst 21-16, 21-19 in 40 minutes.
Despite losing to Gibb and Rosenthal in pool play on Thursday, Fuerbringer and Lucena finished pool play at 2-1 and advanced to the first round of single-elimination where they upset Germany’s Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann (No. 3), 21-15, 19-21, 15-9 in 56 minutes.
“Halfway into the match, we had to say to ourselves, ‘If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.’ ” Fuerbringer said in an FIVB press release. “Today we were fortunate enough to come out and make some plays and they made us beat them.”
The victory earned Fuerbringer and Lucena a slot in the second round on Saturday against Italy’s No. 10-seeded team of Matteo Ingrosso and Paolo Ingrosso, and kept their Olympic dream alive for one more day.
To follow the Chase for London since the begining of the season, visit the USAV website.
Two Women’s Beach Teams Undefeated in Rome
Both U.S. women’s beach volleyball teams are still undefeated at the smart Grand Slam Rome, part of the 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour.
Kessy (San Juan Capistrano) and Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.), seeded No. 4 in the main draw, received a first-round bye in the elimination bracket. In their second-round match, they defeated Belgium’s No. 21-seeded team of Liesbeth Mouha and Katrien Gielen, 21-16, 22-20 in 40 minutes.
The duo is slated to face Germany’s No. 24-seeded team of Karla Borger and Britta Buthe in their quarterfinal match on Saturday.
May-Treanor (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Kerri Walsh (San Jose, Calif.), the No. 6 seeds, also received a first-round bye. In the second round, they defeated the Czech Republic’s No. 8-seeded Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova, 25-23, 19-21, 15-13 in one hour.
The two-time Olympic champions, coming off a second-place finish in Moscow, will face the Italian duo of Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti (No. 5) in Saturday’s quarterfinal match.
Nicole Branagh (Torrance, Calif.) and Tyra Turner (Fort Myers Beach, Fla.), seeded No. 14, competed in the first round of single-elimination play on Friday. They fell to Germany’s 13th-seeded Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler, 15-21, 21-19, 11-15 in 51 minutes. They finish Rome in 17th place.
For more information about the 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour, visit their website.