HAMBURG, Germany - April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings were awarded the Team USA Team of the Month, for the month of May, as announced by the United States Olympic Committee on Tuesday.
In May, April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings won their third and fourth gold medals of the Olympic qualifying season, extending their gold-medal podium appearances to three consecutive with top finishes in Cincinnati and Moscow.
The pair are the top-ranked U.S. women's team and are third in Olympic rankings, which closes June 13 following this week's FIVB Hamburg Major. Ross and Walsh Jennings defeated Brazil's Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes, currently ranked No. 1 in Olympic rankings, for the first time ever to win gold at the Moscow Grand Slam.
The last time Walsh Jennings (Saratoga, Calif.) and Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.), who started playing together full-time in September of 2013, were awarded the Team USA Team of the Month accolade, it came after the pair also won two-consecutive FIVB events. They did so in October of 2013 off the heels of Grand Slam gold in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Xiamen, China.
In Xiamen, Walsh Jennings and Ross defeated world No. 1 Taiana Lima and Talita Rocha of Brazil in the final. With the win, Walsh Jennings set the all-time record for tournament victories by a women's beach volleyball player with 113.
This time around the duo have three-straight first-place finishes, dating back to the Fuzhou Open, Cincinnati Open and Moscow Grand Slam. The Hamburg Major is the final FIVB World Tour event in 2016 Olympic qualification, a period that spanned from Jan. 1, 2015 to June 13, 2016. In that time, Ross and Walsh Jennings have amounted four gold medals, two silver and two bronze and are positioned to end strong in Hamburg with the start of the main draw on Wednesday morning.
Each National Governing Body may nominate one female, one male and one team per discipline. An internal nominating committee selects five nominees from both the male and female categories, and three from the team category to advance to the voting round. Votes received from NGB representatives and select members of the media account for 50 percent of the final tally, with the other half determined by online fan voting via TeamUSA.org/Awards.