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April Ross, Alix Klineman Continue Hot Start With Win At Itapema, Brazil

By Karen Price | May 19, 2019, 12:25 p.m. (ET)

(R) April Ross dives for a ball at the FIVB World Tour four-star tournament championship on May 19, 2019 in Itapema, Brazil.


Trailing early in the tiebreaker set against Canada on Sunday, the U.S. beach volleyball team of Alix Klineman and two-time Olympic medalist April Ross were looking at another come-from-behind situation at the FIVB World Tour four-star tournament championship match in Itapema, Brazil.

No problem.

They’d already done it once in the title match against Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, coming back from an 18-16 deficit to win the set 25-23. Canada then took the second set to set up the tiebreaker and held an early lead in the third set. However, the U.S. tied it 6-6 and eventually built up a two-point lead at 10-8. Canada’s shot sailed wide to set up match point, and the Americans brought it home to claim the 25-23, 18-21, 15-10 win.

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Ross and Klineman teamed up in 2018 and immediately proved themselves a force on the AVP Tour, winning three tournaments, including the championship last September in Chicago. Overall they medaled in two FIVB events and seven AVP events in 2018. 

They also beat Pavan and Humana-Paredes in three sets in the AVP season opener at Huntington Beach, California, at the beginning of the month for their fourth-straight AVP Tour win dating back to last season. As of May 13 they were eighth in the FIVB world rankings.

Ross won an Olympic silver medal in 2012 with partner Jennifer Kessy, and then teamed with Kerri Walsh Jennings to win bronze in 2016.

Ross and Klineman faced a tough road to the title in Itapema. They had to overcome the hometown team of Agatha Bednarczuk and Duda Lisboa in three sets in the quarterfinal, before facing the Dutch team of Marleen van Iersel and Joy Stubbe in a rematch in the semifinals. Van Iersel and Stubbe had beaten the American duo in pool play, but Klineman and Ross won 21-18, 21-17 on Saturday.

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.