As far as months go, July could hardly be shaping up any better for April Ross and Alix Klineman.
Fresh off a silver medal performance at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships last weekend, the duo was immediately back in action at the FIVB World Tour Five-Star tournament in Gstaad, Switzerland, and this time the medal they’re bringing home is gold.
Ross and Klineman dropped the first set of the final match, but it was a mere blip on the radar. They came back to win the next two and defeat the Brazilian duo of Carolina Solberg Salgado and Maria Antonelli, 15-21, 21-17, 15-12 on Sunday.
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Earlier in the day it appeared Ross and Klineman were headed for a much different result. After beating fellow Americans Brooke Sweat and Kerri Walsh Jennings, with whom Ross won an Olympic bronze medal in 2016, in the quarterfinals on Saturday to advance to the semifinals, Ross and Klineman found themselves in trouble early on against the Swiss team of Tanja Huberli and Nina Betschart. They trailed, 14-7, in the first set and had to mount a mighty comeback effort to register a 22-20 win. They then took the second set, 21-17, to advance to the gold medal match.
Klineman and Ross started playing together in 2018. This was their 15th FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament together, their fifth final four appearance of 2019 and their second win of the season. As of July 8, Ross and Klineman were second in the Olympic rankings with 5,640 points and second in the world rankings with 6,120 points.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.