USA Volleyball Features Beach Update: Player...

Beach Update: Players continue on in Brazil

By Corinne Calabro | March 15, 2016, 1:06 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A successful week in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil helped improve the standings of four teams in provisional Olympic rankings. This week, beach athletes conclude the swing in Brazil at the Vitoria Open.

With points earned at the FIVB Rio Grand Slam last week, women's leaders Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat moved from 12th in provisional Olympic rankings to 10th. Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross were previously 22nd due to an absence of play dating back to the Rio Open in September of 2015. Their gold-medal finish bumped them up to tie for 15th with Jennifer Kessy and Emily Day, who did not move in the rankings.

U.S. BEACH NEWS | 2016 TOP 25 FINISHES | ABOUT OLYMPIC QUALIFICATION

Point leaders for the men, Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson improved by one spot, to fifth. Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena's fifth-place finish earned them 10th, up from last week's 14th place. As John Hyden is out with an injury, he and Tri Bourne have fallen in the rankings from ninth to 14th.

With the movement in rankings, Fendrick/Sweat maintain their lead on the U.S. women's leader boards while Walsh Jennings/Ross have eight events tied at 15th and Kessy/Day have 14 events. Gibb/Patterson have 12 events, Dalhausser/Lucena have nine and are the second ranked U.S. men's team now. Each country is able to qualify two teams per gender to the Olympics. The top 15 (17 including Brazil's host-qualified teams and World Championship teams) by June 13, 2016, will qualify via Olympic rankings.

Provisional Olympic Rankings | As of March 14, 2016
     
  Women   Events Points     Men   Events Points
10  Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat   13  4,330   5 Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson   12  4,980
t15  Jennifer Kessy/Emily Day   14 3,860   10 Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena   9 4,580
t15  April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings   8 3,940   14 John Hyden/Tri Bourne   12 4,240


WALSH JENNINGS AND ROSS WIN GOLD IN RIO
At last week's Rio Grand Slam, Kerri Walsh Jennings made her return to the FIVB World Tour by winning gold with partner April Ross. The pair last played together in Sept. 2015 at the Rio Open, and battled through a pair of three-setters before sweeping the finale against Poland. It is the pair's first gold medal since 2014 and their first podium finish since the Long Beach Grand Slam in Aug. of 2015. Their return also saw their 100th win as a team, they enter the Vitoria Open with a team record of 102-19.

WATCH THE RIO GRAND SLAM FINALS
Watch the medal matches of the Rio Grand Slam via the FIVB YouTube channel. Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross' gold-medal match victory is now available for viewing, here.

FIVB WORLD TOUR CONTINUES IN BRAZIL
In the final event of three-consecutive tournaments in Brazil, the Vitoria Open will begin on Tuesday with the finals taking place on Sunday.

The U.S. has four men's teams competing and five women's teams. Gibb/Patterson are seeded second, Sean Rosenthal/Theo Brunner 19th and also in the main draw are Tri Bourne/Mark Burik, 22nd. Ross/Walsh Jennings are the top women's team, at fourth, Fendrick/Sweat are seventh and Kessy/Day 14th. Jeremy Casebeer/Derek Olson, Summer Ross/Lane Carico, Brittany Hochevar/Jennifer Fopma will begin play in the qualification rounds. Originally scheduled to play in Vitoria, Dalhausser and Lucena withdrew from the tournament.

USA NETS GOLD AT NORCECA GUATEMALA CITY
The United States earned gold for both genders at the opening tournament of the 2016 NORCECA Continental Tour. Trevor and Taylor Crabb won the event, going 6-0 during the weekend and claiming their second career gold on the NORCECA Tour. Ali McColloch and Kelly Reeves also made the podium, winning the women's gold in their first tournament together as a team. Also from the U.S., Billy Allen and Stafford Slick earned bronze.

U21 TEAM COMPETES IN AUSTRALIA
One U21 team will compete in Australia in a four-country tournament March 21-22. Sarah Sponcil and Torrey Van Winden represent the U.S. in the Four Nations tournament in part of the Australian Volleyfest against Australia, Brazil and Japan. The pair will be coached by Eduardo Bacil

Sponcil and Van Winden won the U21 USAV Beach High Performance team trials in Chula Vista, Calif., in February and will be the USA's main draw entry at the FIVB U21 World Championship in Switzerland in May. "It will be wonderful for Torrey and I to get a taste of the international circuit and represent our country. We are looking forward to meeting the girls from Australia, Japan and Brazil," Sponcil said.

Read more about the Four Nations tournament here

WEEK IN REVIEW
FIVB Rio Grand Slam
- Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross won gold, their first since July 27, 2014; first in 2016 Olympic qualification
- Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena finished fifth, their ninth Top 5 finish in Olympic qualification
- Tied for ninth: Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson; Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat
- Tied for 25th: Theo Brunner/Sean Rosenthal; Jennifer Kessy/Emily Day
- Eliminated in qualification were: Ryan Doherty/John Mayer, Tri Bourne/Mark Burik; Lane Carico/Summer Ross
- Eliminated in country quota were: Jennifer Fopma/Brittany Hochevar

NORCECA Guatemala City
- Trevor and Taylor Crabb won gold, their third-straight win of a tournament including the past two USA NORCECA playoffs
- Billy Allen and Stafford Slick finished third
- Ali McColloch and Kelly Reeves won gold for the women
- Kendra Vanzwieten and Kimberly DiCello finished sixth

UPCOMING EVENTS | Add to your schedule
March 15-20 Vitoria Open
April 4-8 Doha Open (Men only)
April 12-17 Xiamen Open
April 14-17 AVP New Orleans
April 19-24 Fuzhou Open
April 26-May 1 Fortaleza Open
May 3-8 Sochi Open
May 5-8 AVP Huntington Beach Open
May 10-15 Antalya Open
May 11-16 U21 World Championships
May 17-22 Cincinnati Open
May 20-22 NVL Port St. Lucie
May 24-29 Moscow Grand Slam
June 2-5 AVP Seattle
June 7-12 Hamburg Grand Slam
June 14-19 Olsztyn Grand Slam
June 16-19 AVP New York City
June 24-26 NVL San Antonio
June 28-July 3 Porec Major

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