Ross, Walsh Win FIVB Gold in Moscow

By BJ Evans | June 15, 2014, 10 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 15, 2014) – The U.S. beach volleyball team of April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings claimed their first 2014 Grand Slam gold medal while Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal claimed bronze on Sunday at the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam.

Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross
  Kerri Walsh Jennings, left, and April Ross celebrate.

Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Walsh Jennings (Saratoga, Calif.), seeded No. 2 in the main draw, defeated reigning FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour champions and No. 1 seeds Talita Antunes and Taiana Lima of Brazil in the final, 21-17, 22-24, 15-13.

In the men’s bronze medal match, Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.), seeded No. 1, defeated Italy’s No. 5 Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo, 21-19, 15-21, 15-11.

In the men’s semifinals, Dalhausser and Rosenthal fell to Poland’s No. 14 Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel, 21-16, 21-16. In the women’s semifinal, Ross and Walsh Jennings defeated Netherlands’ No. 13 No. 13 Marleen van Iersel and Madelein Meppelink, 21-14, 21-17.

The women’s gold medal match swung back and forth between the two determined teams until Ross and Walsh Jennings nudged ahead right at the end of the third set before winning with their second match point.

“They came to win, they are a very good team and we were the No. 1 and 2 seeds in the tournament so I think we both wanted to be here,” Ross said. “I loved how we pulled it out in the end. We played as a team and it feels really good to win again.”

It is Ross and Walsh Jennings’ second gold medal of 2014 after they won the season opening Fuzhou Open in China. They first teamed up in mid-2013 and won the Sao Paolo and Xiamen Grand Slams before the end of the year.

Ross and Walsh Jennings now move on to the Berlin Grand Slam, the second of seven Grand Slams in an eight week period. 

“It is so huge,” Walsh Jennings said. “Every win is important on the World Tour and we cherish and learn from every one. I virtually gave away set two because I set like a rookie and I’m so proud with how we stuck together. April didn’t quit on me, she didn’t get mad at me.

“They were relentless and it is great to start this long run of matches with a win and now it is on to Berlin.”

For Talita and Lima the silver medal is their first of the season and sets them up well for a period that features seven Grand Slams in eight weeks.

 “It was a hard game,” Talita said. “I think they served better than us, but it was a good match, a final. I think the people here enjoyed it and it was good for them to watch and good for Kerri and April to win.

“It is good to be back in a final again, but now we have to forget about this and think about Berlin. We won there last year and I think there is a good vibe there for us.”