US Beach Teams Hit Beijing for Grand Slam

May 10, 2012, 12 a.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Communications
Phone: (719) 228-6800

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 9, 2012) – U.S. women’s beach volleyball teams began pool play on Wednesday at the Beijing Grand Slam, part of the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour.

The No. 4-seeded team of Misty May-Treanor (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Kerri Walsh (San Jose, Calif.) and the No. 5-seeded team of Jen Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) both went 1-1 in pool play on Wednesday.

The 23rd-ranked team of Lauren Fendrick (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Brooke Hanson (Woodland Hills, Calif.) went 0-2.

The U.S. team of Angie Akers (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Brittany Hochevar (Fowler, Colo.), who played in the qualifying bracket on Tuesday, went 1-1 and did not advance.

May-Treanor and Walsh opened Wednesday with a loss to Finland’s 29th-seeded Emilia Nystrom and Erika Nystrom, 15-21, 21-17, 16-14 in 49 minutes. The U.S. pair came back in their second match to defeat Australia’s 20th-seeded Natalie "Nat" Cook and Tamsin Hinchley, 21-23, 21-17, 15-10 in 47 minutes.

“It’s a terrible start, we just need to keep working hard and need to stay confident,” Walsh said in an FIVB release. “We have lost a bit confidence for some reason but hard work can build confidence, so we are going to keep working hard, playing as a great team every single match, we just need to understand that.”

Beijing has been a lucky place for May-Treanor and Walsh. Three years after claiming their second Olympic gold medal, they came back to Beijing last year and rebounded from an opening loss to win the inaugural Beijing Grand Slam in the Olympic Stadium at the Changyang Park.

“I hope to replicate that,” Walsh said. “Of course we believe that we can win. I want to win this tournament so badly. We love it here in Beijing the sand is so beautiful, the crowd is so beautiful. We are a good team and we just need to play like we are.”

May-Treanor and Walsh will complete pool play on Thursday against Switzerland’s 13th-ranked Nadine Zumkehr and Simone Kuhn.

Kessy and Ross opened pool play with a victory over Italy’s No. 28-seeded Gioria Daniela and Giulia Momoli, 23-21, 21-12 in 37 minutes. However, the U.S. duo fell in their second match to Germany’s 21st-seeded Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler, 21-17, 21-16 in 35 minutes.

Kessy and Ross will close out pool play on Thursday against Australia’s 12th-ranked Louise Bawden and Becchara Palmer.

Fendrick and Hanson lost their pool play matches on Wednesday to Italy’s 10th-seeded Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti (21-14, 21-19 in 37 minutes) and Czech Republic’s seventh-ranked Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova (21-16, 21-14 in 34 minutes).

They will complete pool play on Thursday against Russia’s No. 26-seeded Evgenia Ukolova and Ekaterina Khomyakova.

The men’s main draw will also begin on Thursday. The U.S. team of Brad Keenan (Westminster, Calif.) and John Mayer (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) had hoped to play in the qualify, but was on the waiting list and did not gain entry.

Top-seeded Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.), who won gold medals in Brazil and Shanghai, will begin Thursday against 32nd-ranked Igor Hernandez and Jesus Villafañe of Venezuela. In their second match, they will face Latvia’s 17th-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilous and Ruslans Sorokins. They will complete pool play on Friday against Germany’s 16th-ranked Hase Klemperer and Eric Koreng.

The battle between Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.)/Nick Lucena (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah)/Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) for the second spot on the U.S. Olympic beach volleyball team will continue. Fuerbringer and Lucena go into the tournament with a 100 point lead over the 2008 Olympians.

Fuerbringer and Lucena, seeded seventh, will open pool play on Thursday against Georgia’s 26th-ranked Renato Gomes and Jorge Terceiro and will then face New Zealand’s 23rd-seeded Jason Lochhead and Kirk Pitman. They will finish pool play on Friday against China’s No. 10-seeded Linyin Xu and Penggen Wu.

Gibb and Rosenthal, ranked 11th, will play Germany’s 22nd-seeded Julius Brink and Sebastian Fuchs to begin pool play on Thursday. Their second match will pit them against Austria’s No. 27-seeded Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst. The U.S. pair will complete pool play on Friday against Brazil’s sixth-ranked Pedro Salgado and Marcio Araujo.

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