April Ross dives for the ball during the women's beach volleyball semifinal at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 05, 2021 in Tokyo.
The “A-Team” will be playing for beach volleyball gold in Tokyo.
Alix Klineman and April Ross were rarely troubled in their semifinal win Thursday morning on the sand at Shiokaze Park, defeating the Swiss team of Anouk Verge-Depre and Joana Heidrich 21-12, 21-11. Ross was efficient with her serves and lethal in scoring with a game-high 15 kills. Klineman was a force at the net with four block points and had nine kills of her own.
“I think we were just fired up,” was Ross’s summation of the dominant victory on the NBC broadcast.
Ross knows as well as anyone what it takes to succeed at the Olympic tournament, as she will be playing for her third medal hoping for her first gold. Klineman is an Olympic rookie, having been partners with Ross since 2018. Klineman expanded on what has been working for her team, which hasn’t dropped a set since the preliminary round.
“I think the more that we expect a tougher fight, I think the more we just come really prepared,” she said. “They’re a really good team, they were playing amazing coming into this so we were expecting a battle, sometimes things work a little bit better than you even expect and that was kind of the case today, but we’re just so grateful to come out with a win and a lot of respect for that team.”
Klineman and Ross never trailed in the match, and it was only once ever tied, at 1-1 in the second set. That was despite brutally hot conditions in the waterfront venue. Temperatures were in the high 80s even at the 9:00 a.m. local start time. The players will just have over 24 hours to rest and get ready for the gold-medal game against either Latvia or Australia.
“We’re gonna be working around the clock to just recover and scout and prepare,” Klineman said.
Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020? Visit TeamUSA.org/Tokyo2020 to view the medal table, results and competition schedule.