|Casey Patterson, right, receives the ball as Jake Gibb gets ready to make a play.|
LONG BEACH, Calif. (July 22, 2013) – U.S. beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings, the three-time Olympic gold medalist, has withdrawn from the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam, citing an abdominal strain.
Whitney Pavlik (Laguna Beach, Calif.), who was going to play in the Grand Slam with Walsh Jennings (Saratoga, Calif.), will instead partner with Annett Davis (Long Beach, Calif.) for that event.
Walsh Jennings has said she will still compete in the World Series Cup with Pavlik. The World Series Cup will feature two teams in each gender from the United States against two international teams with the finals on Sunday (July 28).
Qualifying for the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam began on Monday with the U.S. women’s team of Summer Ross (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Emily Day (Torrance, Calif.) and the men’s team of Nick Lucena (Davie, Fla.) and John Hyden (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) both receiving byes into the main draw, which begins Tuesday for both genders.
The other U.S. women’s teams competing in the main draw will be April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Jennifer Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.), Lauren Fendrick (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Brittany Hochevar (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) and also Jennifer Fopma (Bellflower, Calif.) and Brooke Sweat (Fort Myers, Fla.), who received a wild card entry.
The U.S. men’s teams competing will be Phil Dalhausser (Ventura, Calif.) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Jake Gibb (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Casey Patterson (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Todd Rogers (Solvang, Calif.) and Ryan Doherty (Ventura, Calif.) and also Casey Jennings (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Stafford Slick (Hermosa Beach, Calif.).
Gibb and Patterson, as the top-seeded U.S. team, have been awarded the No. 1 seed in the men’s tournament. Ross and Kessy were awarded the No. 1 seed in the women’s bracket. The women’s teams will each play two pool play matches on Tuesday while the men’s teams will play one.
The FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam is the sixth event on the 2013 World Tour and is the showcase part of the World Series of Beach Volleyball, a SoCal beach festival that includes the World Series Cup, four-person and six-person recreational events and nightly music concerts.
In addition to the international live FIVB telecasts, the event also includes 23 hours of live or same-day telecasts split between NBC Sports Network, Universal Network and NBC TV Network.
The women’s semifinals and medal matches of the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam will be held on Friday with the men’s semifinals also on Friday and medal matches closing the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam on Saturday. Play Tuesday through Friday is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. and at 11 a.m. on Saturday for the men’s medal matches.
A total of 78 teams from 24 countries (41 men’s teams from 17 countries and 37 women’s teams from 19 countries) selected by their national federations officially started the tournament. The event this year in Southern California is the 10th FIVB beach volleyball event ever held in the United States, fifth in Southern California and first since the Tour visited a U.S. Olympic Training Center in Carson, Calif., in 2003. In addition to two FIVB World Tour stops in Hermosa Beach, Calif. (1995, 1996), and Carson in 2003, the other SoCal FIVB event was the inaugural FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in 1997 held on the UCLA campus in Westwood.
The 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is comprised of 10 Grand Slam events and the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. Not part of the World Tour but still counting towards the FIVB World Rankings, the FIVB yearly calendar also includes seven Open events, five double-gender and two women-only. There is a double-gender FIVB Open event being playing this week as well in Anapa, Russia.
The gold medal teams in each gender in the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam will each split $33,000, the silver $22,000, the bronze $16,500 and fourth place $12,900. The women’s medal matches will be held on Friday and the men’s medal matches on Saturday. The FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam is the 291st FIVB international men’s event since the FIVB began play in 1987 and the 253rd FIVB women’s tournament since women started international competition in 1992.