For the fourth year in a row and sixth time in her career, April Ross has been named USA Volleyball’s 2016 Women’s Beach Player of the Year after teaming with Kerri Walsh Jennings to win the bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and finish second in the 2016 FIVB World Tour rankings.
Ross was also named Best Server on the World Tour.
A two-time Olympian, Ross also holds a silver medal from the London 2012 Olympic Games, where she and Jennifer Kessy fell to Walsh Jennings and her former partner, Misty May-Treanor, in the gold-medal match. After May-Treanor’s retirement, Ross and Walsh Jennings joined forces in 2013 to become one of the dominant teams in women’s beach volleyball.
"I'm really honored to be named USA Volleyball's player of the year again this year; I can't believe it's my sixth time," Ross said. "The past season was definitely the best one of my career and I have to thank Kerri, Marcio (Sicoli), Jon (Daze) and Gustavo (Rocha) for that. I've learned so much from all of them the past four years. I'm very thankful I was given that opportunity. I love the USAV family so it makes this award all the more meaningful, so thanks to them as well!"
The tandem recorded a total of 10 podium finishes in 2016, including five gold medals. They won all three Grand Slam events they entered, taking gold in Rio, Moscow and Long Beach, California.
They earned the No. 3 seed for the 2016 Olympic tournament, posting nine podium finishes during qualification, including golds at the Grand Slams in Rio and Moscow and Opens in Cincinnati and Fuzhou, China. Their second-round win at the Olympics marked their 150th win together.
Reaching the semifinals in Rio, the pair faced Brazilians Agatha and Barbara before a raucous home crowd. Despite a tenacious battle, the Americans fell to the eventual silver medalists. The bronze-medal match against No. 1 seeded Larissa and Talita proved to be just as challenging, but Ross and Walsh Jennings held on for a dramatic three-set win, only their second win against the Brazilians.