COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 13, 2013) – The U.S. women’s beach volleyball team of Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross took gold while the men’s team of Phil Dalhausser and Casey Jennings finished with silver on Sunday at the FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam.
|Medalists at the FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam.|
In the women’s final, Walsh Jennings (Saratoga, Calif.), who is married to Casey Jennings, and Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.), seeded No. 10 in the main draw, outlasted Germany’s No. 5 Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, 19-21, 31-29, 15-12 in 1 hour, 5 minutes. Walsh Jennings and Ross won $33,000 for the victory.
In the men’s final, No. 18 Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Jennings (Las Vegas) lost a battle to Brazil’s No. 2 Pedro Solberg Salgado and Bruno Oscar Schmidt, 23-21, 19-21, 15-13 in 1:07.
The first set was tied point for point 16 times including the first 11 points and the lead changed hands four times. The second set was even closer with 17 ties and eight lead changes before it was decided. In the deciding third set, Brazil pounded away to build an 8-4 lead. Dalhausser and Jennings came back to tie the score at 11-11, but never took the lead.
Kerri Walsh and Casey Jennings are the first-ever couple in the 27-year history of the FIVB World Tour to play in their respective gold medal matches in the same event.
In the women’s match, the teams battled ferociously for every point. Germany’s Ludwig and Walkenhorst overcame an 8-13 deficit to defeat the Americans in the first set, 21-19. The second set was tied 20 times with the last at 28-28 before USA’s Ross and Walsh Jennings won it at 31-29.
In the third set, Ross and Walsh Jennings exploded for the first two points gradually pulling away to 8-4 and 10-5 leads before Ludwig and Walkenhorst rallied to close within two at 11-9, but the Americans hung tough and pulled out the set, match and gold medal championship by a three-point margin, 15-12.
“Kerri and I approach every tournament in the same way,” Ross said. “We’re going to enjoy this until the next tournament, but we’ll be ready to play every point, every game. We respect all of our opponents we play the hardest we can every match.”
Walsh Jennings was thrilled with the victory: “It was amazing. I think the final went just like the whole tournament was for us. We had really tough, really close matches. The Germans came out and played amazing. We were expecting that. I’m so glad we didn’t panic and stayed aggressive.”