Top USA beach names to face off against Brazil

Feb. 02, 2015, 11:06 a.m. (ET)
Teammates Jake Gibb (L) and Casey Patterson

COLORADO SPRINGS – The top names from USA Beach Volleyball will head to Rio de Janeiro to play against Brazil’s best lineup in Top of the World Brazil vs USA from Feb. 26 to March 1.

In what will be a preview of the 2016 Olympic Games, top teams from the USA and Brazil will play in a weekend tournament at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. Both countries will send their eight best doubles teams, four male and four female, a field that yields nine Olympic medalists.

From the U.S. are:
Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal
John Hyden and Tri Bourne
Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson
Nick Lucena and Theo Brunner
Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross
Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat
Jennifer Kessy and Emily Day
Jennifer Fopma and Summer Ross

“It’s a cool test event for the Rio Olympics,” Jake Gibb said. “It’s a trial event for all of the players. We will use this as a trial for the Olympic qualification which starts this year. It’s the same thing we did in Tempe in 2009. It was really cool, that event was one of my favorite I’ve ever played in. I’m hoping for the same thing here and the same result. We won in Tempe in the very last match. It’s like a Ryder Cup for volleyball where you get to play and win as a team. You have individual wins and win individual prize money, but you also win as a team.”

The competition boasts a $120,000 purse and all 36 matches will be broadcasted live, locally, on SPORTV. Each pair will play the other country’s lineup twice, with the best of each country moving on to the finals and third-place match, respectively.

“It’s a unique event, I’m excited to be part of it,” said Lauren Fendrick. “It’s in Rio, going to be played where the Olympics will be. We get to play against Brazil; the U.S. and Brazil are really strong teams. Not just us, but all of the teams will be strong. It will be a test good test for us in the preseason to see where we are at, what we need to improve on, what changes we need to make.”

Brazil team, Women: Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas, Maria Elisa Antonelli and Juliana Felisberta Silva, Carol and Maria Clara Salgado, Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes; Men: Peter Solberg and Evandro Goncalves, Alvaro Fiho and Vitor Felipe, Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos, Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt.