COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 19, 2013) – U.S. women’s beach volleyball teams had a good day at the FIVB Rome Grand Slam on Wednesday while Sean Rosenthal celebrated his birthday with a victory as well.
On the women’s side, the U.S. team of April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Jennifer Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.), seeded No. 7, went undefeated in Wednesday’s main draw pool play, defeating Canada’s No. 26 Jamie Lynn Broder and Kristina Valjas (21-12, 16-21, 15-12 in 55 minutes) and then Finland’s No. 23 Emilia and Erika Nystrom (18-21, 21-17, 15-12 in 52 minutes).
The No. 24 seeded team of Jennifer Fopma (Bellflower, Calif.) and Brooke Sweat (Fort Myers, Fla.), who had to qualify for the main draw, upset local favorites Gioria Daniela and Laura Giombini of Italy, seeded No. 8, 17-21, 21-7, 15-12 in 45 minutes. Fopma and Sweat went 1-1 on the day, falling to Brazil’s No. 9 Maria Clara Salgado Rufino and Carolina Solberg Salgado (21-16, 16-21, 15-8 in 48 minutes).
No. 19 seeded Lauren Fendrick (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Brittany Hochevar (Fowler, Colo.) also got an upset, defeating Czech Republic’s No. 14 Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova (21-17, 21-13 in 38 minutes) before falling to No. 3 Madelein Meppelink and Sophie van Gestel of Netherlands (21-13, 15-21, 15-11 in 48 minutes).
Although the team of Emily Day (Torrance, Calif.) and Whitney Pavlik (Laguna Beach, Calif.) went 0-2 in pool play on Wednesday, both their matches went three sets, including a 17-21, 21-11, 17-15 loss in 52 minutes to Brazil’s No. 5 Talita Da Rocha Antunes and Taiana Lima.
In the men’s bracket, No. 3 Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) defeated Spain’s No. 30 Pablo Herrera and Adrián Gavira, 21-19, 21-14 on Rosenthal’s birthday.
It was a tough opening match for the U.S. pair, as Herrera, an Olympic silver medalist, and Gavira are one of the most experienced teams on the World Tour. The Spaniards slipped in the rankings after Herrera had to take time off due to a knee injury.
“That’s the best fourth seed I’ve seen in a pool and it’s happened because Pablo hasn’t played much because of injury; when you see them you know you’re in a tough pool,” Rosenthal said. “They’re a great team and it’s good to get out of this heat with a win.”
The temperature in the Eternal City topped 86 degrees.
Rosenthal and Dalhausser are in their first season together after teaming up at the end of 2012 and Rome is their fourth FIVB beach event together.
“It’s good. I’m excited for the future and I know if we play our game we can be a good team,” Rosenthal added. “It’s just about getting used to each other and how each other sets.
“We have lot of kinks to work out, but so far we’re close to happy with how we’ve started. We started with a win and we’ve fallen down every time since, but there are a lot of great teams out here and you can’t take anyone for granted.”
Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Casey Patterson (Van Nuys, Calif.), seeded No. 4 in the main draw, defeated Spain’s No. 29 Francisco Alfredo Marco and Christian García on Wednesday, 21-15, 21-14.
Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Ryan Doherty (Toms River, N.J.), seeded No. 18, fell to Kazakhstan’s No. 15 Alexey Sidorenko and Alexandr Dyachenko, 21-15, 21-19.
Pool play for both men and women will continue on Thursday.
For more information about the FIVB Rome Grand Slam, click here.