LONG BEACH, Calif. (July 25, 2013) – A little less than a year ago, Emily Day and Summer Ross won the gold medal at the World University Championships.
On Thursday, Ross (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Day (Torrance, Calif.) showed they had graduated as they were the lone U.S. women’s team to advance to the semifinals of the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam, part of the World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach, Calif.
In the men’s bracket, three U.S. teams advanced to the second round: No. 1 seeded Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Casey Patterson (Van Nuys, Calif.), No. 4 Phil Dalhausser (Ventura, Calif.) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and No. 11 Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Ryan Doherty (Toms River, N.J.).
Ross and Day, who are seeded 15th in Long Beach, will face Brazil’s No. 2 Taiana Lima and Talita Da Rocha Antunes in Friday’s second semifinal at 11:30 a.m. PT. In the first semifinal, No. 7 Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler of Germany will play Brazil’s No. 4 Maria Clara Salgado Rufino and Carolina Solberg Salgado at 10:30 a.m.
Ross and Day tried to keep their first FIVB semifinal in perspective.
“It’s just another match to us,” Day said. “We can’t start thinking about medals and (FIVB ranking) points. It’s just another match and we will prepare the same way.”
“It’s just another day at the beach,” Ross added.
Ross and Day had to win two matches on Thursday to advance. They defeated Spain’s No. 6 Liliana Fernández Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo McMillan in the second round, 21-18, 21-15 in 39 minutes before beating Slovakia’s No. 13 Natalia Dubovcova and Dominika Nestarcova, 21-17, 13-21, 11-15 in 46 minutes in the third.
Among the U.S. men’s teams still competing, Gibb and Patterson along with Dalhausser and Rosenthal advanced straight to the second round by going 3-0 in pool play.
Gibb and Patterson will play Germany’s No. 13 seeded Markus Böckermann and Mischa Urbatzka at 8:15 a.m. on Friday. Rosenthal and Dalhausser will face Canada’s No. 12 Ben Saxton and Chaim Schalk at 9:15 a.m.
Doherty and Rogers finished 2-1 in pool play and advanced to the first round where they eliminated their U.S. teammates No. 30 Casey Jennings (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Stafford Slick (Hermosa Beach, Calif.), 21-13, 19-21, 15-12 in 53 minutes.
The match came down to the third set. Win the score tied 5-5, Rogers and Doherty each scored with a kill followed by a Stafford hitting error that gave Rogers and Doherty the 8-5 lead. Jennings and Slick could never completely close the gap.
“Todd started playing some really good defense,” Doherty said. “He was popping a lot of stuff up for me on two. That got us back in the groove a little bit.
“That block off my face at 13-11, that always helps. Todd actually said, ‘It’s about time you start using your head when we play.’”
Three U.S. women’s teams bowed out of the tournament on Wednesday. Lauren Fendrick (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Brittany Hochevar (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) finished fifth after losing to Holtwick and Semmler, 21-16, 21-18 in 38 minutes in the quarterfinals.
No. 1 seeded April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Jennifer Kessy (San Clemente, Calif.) fell in the second round to Brazil’s No. 5 Agatha Bednarczuk and Maria Antonelli (21-15, 13-21, 16-14 in 52 minutes). No. 12 Jennifer Fopma (Bellflower, Calif.) and Brooke Sweat (Fort Myers, Fla.) were eliminated by Fendrick and Hochevar in the second round, 21-18, 22-20.