U.S. Beach Teams Sweep Long Beach Gold

By BJ Evans | July 27, 2014, 10:31 p.m. (ET)

LONG BEACH, Calif. (July 27, 2014) – The U.S. beach teams of April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings along with Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal swept the gold medals on Sunday at the World Series of Beach Volleyball, an FIVB Grand Slam in Long Beach.

The U.S. team of Todd Rogers and Theo Brunner added to the hardware with a bronze medal.

Long Beach Medalists
  From left, Sean Rosenthal, Phil Dalhausser, Todd Rogers and 
  Theo Brunner stand on the podium in Long Beach.

Fans packed the stadium to watch as top-seeded Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Walsh Jennings (Saratoga, Calif.) won their fourth FIVB gold medal of the season, defeating fifth-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas of Brazil, 21-17, 21-17.

A similarly packed house was on hand to watch Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) defeat Poland’s No. 2 Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel, 22-24, 21-17, 15-9.

No. 25 Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Brunner (Ridgefield, Conn.) won the bronze medal match over Germany’s 16th-seeded Alexander Walkenhorst and Stefan Windscheif, 21-17, 18-21, 15-12.

“I thought it was a great team win for us,” Ross said of her win with Walsh Jennings that earned them $70,000. “We split blocked again the entire time because Kerri was playing so well on defense. I feel like I had a little bit of success at the net and I feel like that is just how we play. We see what’s working and we are able to adjust.”

In the first set, the score was tied five times with the last at 6-6, and with the score 8-7, the USA ran off five of the next six points to take a 13-8 lead and Brazil never threatened.

In the deciding second set, the score was tied 11-11 when the U.S. scored on a Walsh Jennings crosscourt kill and a Ross block to pull away.

Ross recorded 11 kills, two blocks and six digs. Walsh Jennings recorded a game-high 21 kills, one block and eight digs.

For Dalhausser and Rosenthal, their third gold medal of the season was revenge for last weekend’s loss to Fijalek and Prudel in the final of The Hague Grand Slam.

When asked about avenging the loss, Rosenthal said, “the home crowd, maybe Geeter (Chris McGee) back here announcing, maybe the fact that we played five three-set matches this week. Maybe it’s the never-say-die attitude for both of us right now. Maybe it put us to the test early and we were getting tested here coming into the finals.

“I felt pretty good in the first set. I made some tentative swings and gave up a few points. The second set we got a few points going and in the third set we sided out at 5-5 and then we got them in a little bit of passing trouble, which made Phil’s block that much bigger. We jumped up to 9-5 and we never let go after that.”