Summer Ross Named Beach Female Athlete of the Year

Dec. 09, 2010, 6:51 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800
E-Mail: bj.evans@usav.org

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 9, 2010) – Summer Ross (Carlsbad, Calif.) has been named the USA Volleyball Beach Female Athlete of the Year for 2010 and has been nominated for the United States Olympic Committee SportsWoman of the Year.

Ross, who turns 18 this month, and partner Jane Croson (Lakewood, Calif.) made history when they became the first U.S. team to win the gold medal at the FIVB Youth (Under-19) World Championships on Aug. 1 in Porto, Portugal.

Ross topped that accomplishment in September when she and partner Tara Roenicke (Alta Loma, Calif.) became the first U.S. team to win the gold medal at the FIVB Junior (Under-21) World Championships in Alanya, Turkey.

Ross also became the first athlete of either gender to win both the FIVB Youth World Championships and the FIVB Junior World Championships in the same year.

When Ross looks back at her summer, what does she think of?

“I just thought it was fun,” she said. “All the tournaments we played in; they were just really fun. We wanted to win. But we also wanted to have fun; no pressure.”

Summer Ross, right, and Tara Roenicke show the gold medals they won at the 2010 FIVB Junior World Championships. FIVB photo. Photo: FIVB Summer Ross, right, and Tara Roenicke show off the gold medals they won at the 2010 FIVB Junior World Championships.. “We’ve been working with Summer the past three years with the goal of the U19 gold in mind, so we are thrilled that she met and exceeded this first major goal,” said Ali Wood Lamberson, USA Volleyball’s Director of Beach Programs, who coached Summer along with USAV’s Jon Aharoni.

“But Summer brings so much more than her on-court success to our program. She personifies the team culture that USAV Beach is working to establish by combining humility and dedication with passion and competitiveness. That is a rare combo in such a young athlete.”

Ross also had success on the 2010 AVP Tour before it ceased operations on Aug. 13.

Despite being the 38th seed in qualifying at the event in Santa Barbara (April 29-May2), Croson and Ross made it to the main draw, where they lost in the first round to Misty May-Treanor (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.). However they battled back in the consolation bracket and won two matches, finishing 13th overall.

The team also qualified for the main draw at the AVP Tour event in Hermosa Beach (July 16-18).

Ross also qualified for two AVP main draws with Bulgarian Olympian Petia Yanchulova.

But it was on the international stage where Ross gained the most recognition along with her two partners.

In Portugal, Croson and Ross were seeded third after finishing fifth in the event in 2009. They made it through pool play with a 6-2 set record. They swept their next two matches, becoming the first U.S. women’s team to make it to the semifinals at the Youth World Championships.

They swept Australia’s 13th-seeded Taliqua Clancy and Eliza Hynes in the semifinals (22-20, 21-12). In the gold medal match, they faced Russia’s seventh-ranked Ekaterina Karapischenko and Maria Ushkova, both of whom had won medals at the event with other partners in 2009, and won, 2-1 (21-10, 18-21, 15-7) in 39 minutes.

“When Summer and Jane play together, they split blocking duties and Summer sees 30-50 percent of the serves, similar to Jen Kessy and April Ross,” Lamberson said. “They are a very terminal team and have the ability to end rallies and matches rather quickly. After the initial jitters in their first match in Portugal, they really did not struggle with more than a three-point deficit at any one time.”

In Turkey, Roenicke and Ross were seeded fourth at the Junior World Championships. They went 6-1 in pool play and swept their first-round match against Mexico before needing 53 minutes to defeat Czech Republic’s Martina Bonnerova and Barbora Hermannova, 2-1 (21-16, 19-21, 15-13) in 53 minutes.

They beat Brazil’s second-seeded Fabi Boogaerdt and Julia Schmidt in the semifinals, 21-15, 21-18, in 36 minutes,

The gold medal match proved to be the longest for either gender at the tournament. Roenicke and Ross prevailed over Italy’s veteran team of Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth, 2-1 (19-21, 26-24, 15-13) in 1 hour, 14 minutes.

“When Tara and Summer pair up, Summer rarely gets served, so she is focusing more on setting and blocking, similar to Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers, but without Phil’s wicked jump serve,” Lamberson said. “To win at the Junior Worlds, they had a lot of long, knock-down drag-out matches with Tara taking a lot of swings in transition. She is very persistent and really pushes Summer to play her best.”

Ross, who is home-schooled, will complete her high school studies in January and attend the University of Washington in March for the spring quarter. She will play on the Huskies’ indoor volleyball team.

USA Volleyball will announce its selections for Female Paralympic, Male Paralympic Athletes of the Year and Teams of the Year through Dec. 14.

U.S. Women's Natonal Team libero Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) was named the USA Volleyball Indoor Female Athlete of the Year. U.S. Men's National Team opposite Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawaii) was named the USA Volleyball Indoor Male Athlete of the Year.

Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) was named the USA Volleyball Beach Male Athlete of the Year.