LONG BEACH, Calif. (July 28, 2013) – The U.S. beach volleyball teams of April Ross and Jennifer Kessy along with Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson won the inaugural women’s and men’s World Series Cups on Sunday in Long Beach, Calif.
The World Series Cup was the final event of the World Series of Beach Volleyball. The Cup matches featured semifinals between two U.S. teams and two international teams and finals that matched the U.S. winners against the international victors.
Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Kessy (San Clemente, Calif.) defeated Brazil’s Brazil’s Taiana Lima and Talita Da Rocha Antunes, the No. 1 ranked team in the world, 15-21, 21-18, 17-15 in 1 hour in the women’s final. Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Patterson (Van Nuys, Calif.) beat Latvia’s No. 3 ranked Alesandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins in the men’s final, 22-20, 20-11 in 40 minutes.
Each U.S. team won $15,000 while the second-place team each took $10,000.
Ross and Kessy were 0-2 this season Lima and Talita in FIVB tournaments. After losing the first set and working hard to win the second, the U.S. pair reached match point at 15-14 in the third set, only to have Kessy hit the ball out of bounds.
“When I poked the ball out of bounds to win the match… I let myself for one second be upset at myself and then I went back and completely forgot it,” Kessy said. “If I would have dwelled on it longer, that’s when they start to come back.”
Kessy got another chance on the next play and got the kill. A Ross attack won the match for the U.S.
Ross said she learned from the team’s 21-15, 13-21, 16-14 loss to Brazil’s Maria Antonelli and Agatha Bednarczuk in the second round of elimination in the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam.
“We were in that same situation in the FIVB tournament against Brazil,” Ross said. “I spent a lot of time thinking about the mistakes we made at the end of the third set and how to change that to do better. I’m sure Jen did the same thing.”
Kessy was named the match Most Valuable Player and won a cruise to the Caribbean from Celebrity Cruises after finishing with 30 kills, 13 digs and three aces. Ross added 12 kills, seven digs and two blocks. For Brazil, Lima finished with 17 kills, 14 digs and two aces while Talita had 11 kills, five blocks and two aces.
Gibb and Patterson won their semifinal match on Sunday morning over compatriots Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.), 21-19, 21-17, to advance to the finals. Gibb and Patterson did not want to repeat the loss they suffered to Rosenthal and Dalhausser in the semifinals of the Long Beach Grand Slam.
“We served Phil real tough and stayed on him hoping that takes him out of being a jump-serving animal and a blocking animal,” Patterson said. “We made him think a little more about his side-out game and his passing.”
In the final, the U.S. was leading 18-15 when Latvia came back to tie it at 18-18 before Gibb and Patterson pulled out the 22-20 victory. The second set was highlighted by three straight blocks by Gibb that took his team from a 12-6 lead to a 14-6 lead. Gibb and Patterson were 1-1 against the Latvian team this season and had lost to Samoilovs and Smedins in the final of the Corrientes Grand Slam in Argentina.
Gibb and Rosenthal said holding off the Latvian comeback in the first set helped them win the second.
“Because we ended up winning that first set when they were coming back, that definitely helps us achieve the momentum and stay aggressive in our serve and relaxed in our style,” Patterson said.
“That was huge for us,” Gibb added. “Sometimes domestically you get out with a lead and (the opposition) gets intimidated and you get to walk away with one. You never get that on the World Tour.”
Gibb was named the MVP of the final and won a Caribbean cruise after finishing with nine kills, seven blocks and one ace. Patterson added 16 kills, seven digs, one block and one ace. For Latvia, Samoilovs finished with 10 kills and six digs. Smedins added eight kills, three digs and four blocks.
U.S. Players Give Back
Prior to the finals of the World Series Cup, U.S. beach volleyball players Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.), Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Jessica Gysin (Los Gatos, Calif.) along with indoor national team player Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) participated in a four-on-four beach volleyball match with players from the Special Olympics.