Beach Teams Off to Hot Start in Phuket

By Darci Miller | Oct. 30, 2013, 11:51 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 30, 2013) – It was a strong first day of main draw pool play at the FIVB beach volleyball Phuket Open in Phuket, Thailand for the U.S. women’s beach teams on Wednesday, as two duos sit atop their respective pools.

The No. 3 team of April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Jennifer Fopma (Bellflower, Calif.) went 2-0 in its matches in Pool C. Ross and Fopma first defeated  No. 30 Ekaterina Makroguzova and Nadezda Makroguzova of Russia, 21-10, 21-15 in 32 minutes. They then faced 19th-seeded Miller Elwin and Henriette Iatika of Vanuatu, earning a 21-15, 26-24 win in 41 minutes. Their final pool play match is on Thursday against No. 14 Gioria Daniela and Laura Giombini of Italy (1-1).

Also going undefeated in its first two matches was the No. 6 duo of Brooke Sweat (Fort Myers, Fla.) and Jennifer Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) in Pool F. Sweat and Kessy defeated No. 27 Melinda Adelin and Laura Longuet of France, 21-8, 21-13 in 31 minutes, followed by a win by forfeit over No. 22 Teresa Mersmann and Isabel Schneider of Germany. Sweat and Kessy narrowly took the first set, 26-24, before the Germans bowed out of set two at 10-4.

Lane Carico and Summer Ross 
 Lane Carico (left) attacks against compatriot Summer Ross on
Wednesday in Phuket, Thailand.

“It’s always tough to play a team you’ve never seen before, you’ve never played before and they did really well,” Kessy said in an FIVB press release. “They had really good ball control, good defense, good serving so I think we got a little bit behind in the first set and then battled back to win 26-24. Luckily we won that game and then I think the heat just got to the Germans and they forfeited so we’re really happy to come out with a win.”

Kessy has competed in the Phuket Open with former partner Ross many times in the past, with the duo winning two golds and a silver at the event in previous years.

“As long as the tournament has been going I have been coming here,” Kessy said. “I hadn’t played a lot this year and I saw that Brooke needed a partner for this tournament and I thought, 'absolutely.' So I was so excited to come back.”

Sweat and Kessy will close out pool play on Thursday against No. 11 Chen Xue and Xinyi Xia of China.

In Pool H, the teams of Lane Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Heather Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) as well as Emily Day (Torrance, Calif.) and Summer Ross (Carlsbad, Calif.) each went 1-1. Carico and Hughes (No. 25) opened play with a win over No. 8 Rumpaipruet Numwong and Khanittha Hongpak of Thailand (21-13, 21-14 in 32 minutes). Ninth-seeded Day and Ross faced No. 24 Yuan Yue and Yuanyuan Ma of China and fell 21-15, 16-21, 15-11 in 48 minutes. The two U.S. duos then squared off against each other, with Day and Ross earning a hard-fought 22-24, 21-14, 15-3 win in 55 minutes.

To close out pool play on Thursday, Day and Ross will take on Numwong and Hongpak, and Carico and Hughes will face Yue and Ma.

The first and second rounds of elimination will be played Nov. 1 with the third round and semifinals on Nov. 2 and the medal matches on Nov. 3.