COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 27, 2012) – Two U.S. women’s beach volleyball teams will play for medals on Sunday at the Bangsaen Thailand Open, the final event on the women’s 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour.
Jennifer Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.), seeded No. 2, won two consolation matches on Saturday to advance to the semifinals, where they defeated their U.S. compatriots Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and Lauren Fendrick (Carlsbad, Calif.), seeded No. 7, to advance to Sunday’s championship match.
Kessy and Ross will play Russia’s No. 3 Evgenia Ukolova and Ekaterina Khomyakova for the gold medal on Sunday while Branagh and Fendrick, who had beaten both the Russians and their U.S. teammates on Friday, will face Brazil’s No. 5 Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas de Freitas for bronze.
Kessy and Ross started Saturday with a three-set victory over against Greece’s No. 6 Maria Tsiartsiani and Vasiliki Arvaniti (19-21 21-18 15-13) in 1 hour, 3 minutes. After that, Kessy and Ross beat Kazakhstan’s No. 8 Irina Tsimbalova and Tatyana Mashkova in two sets (21-18 21-15) in 54 minutes on a hot and humid center court.
Kessy and Ross lost the first set against Branagh and Fendrick, 21-15. They turned things around in the second set, while Fendrick and Branagh started making more and more mistakes. Kessy and Ross took a big leap from 3-3 to 10-5 and again on Ross’ serve from 17-11 to 21-11.
“I think our legs were starting to get warm in the second set,” Kessy told the FIVB. “And our side-out was getting a lot better.”
In the tie-breaker, Kessy and Ross put in some more effort to finish with an easy 15-8 in a total time of 51 minutes.
“We just knew we would not have to save energy for anything now. In the first two matches today, we knew we had to play at least another game,” Ross said.
Kessy added, “But it was tough in this heat. During warm-up we were so delirious, we were laughing and giggling. But we said, just go and do it.”
More information about the event is available on the FIVB web site.