COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA will go for gold at the FIVB Beach World Championships as April Ross and Lauren Fendrick take on the title match on Saturday, while Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena enter the quarterfinals.
Olympians April Ross/Lauren Fendrick will face Germany for the FIVB Beach World Championships gold medal on Saturday morning, at 8:30 a.m. ET. Fellow Rio Olympians, Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena will play Russia in the men's quarterfinals at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday. Brooke Sweat and Summer Ross tied for fifth after falling in their Friday quarterfinal against Germany.
In their first match of the day, A. Ross/Fendrick topped Canada's Brandie Wilkerson/Heather Bansley in straight sets, 21-16, 21-10.
"Every win feels good and obviously nothing is guaranteed," said Fendrick following their quarterfinal win. "We are still working and focused."
It was only a matter of hours between their quarterfinal match against Canada, to their semifinal match against Canada's Sarah Pavan/Melissa Humana-Paredes. Before the semifinal, A. Ross said, "A lot of times in the second match (of the day), knock on wood, you sometimes feel better. Hopefully that continues."
The duo hit their stride early in the tournament, winning their pool 3-0 to secure the first women's team berth into the Round of 32. Despite that record, the pair needed three sets to win both their Round of 32 and Round of 16 matches.
"There's a lot of intensity and for sure we are getting in a rhythm," A. Ross said. "That one day off was good for recovery and put a little hitch in our giddy-up. Now with three days of competition in a row, we're feeling pretty good in rhythm."
In the semifinal match, USA overcame Canada's Pavan/Humana-Paredes in a hard-fought three setter, 19-21, 21-16, 15-11. The U.S. rallied in the second and third sets to earn the victory, against Pavan's seven blocks to USA's one. A. Ross/Fendrick's side-out and five ace serves aided their effort in the win.
"Actually that's not the first time that fast start has happened in this tournament to us," said A. Ross. "We learn what they are doing in that time period and we don't freak out, we don't panic. We know we can play defense, we know we can serve, so we know if we believe and just stay in it, and keep chipping away that we're going to have a chance."
This will mark a personal best finish for Fendrick at the World Championships. A. Ross previously won the event in 2009 with Jennifer Kessy.
Not to be outdone, Dalhausser and Lucena had a tremendous day as well on Friday. The pair went the distance against Australia, beating Christopher McHugh/Damien Schumann 21-14, 19-21, 16-14 in a very closely played matchup.
"Nick played great," Dalhausser told the FIVB. "Definitely the intensity helped. We're always going to stick together. Anytime I would make a mistake, he'd be like, 'come on, let's go' instead of getting angry at me. We're kind of playing with house money right now, so we'll see what happens."
"Usually we can coast with no emotion and kind of play through a game," added Lucena. "But in those situations you can't, you have to leave it all out there. If they were going to beat us, I wanted them to get our best, so I was trying to get our best out of Phil. That's probably my best side-out game of the tournament, which is good timing."
Dalhausser/Lucena won their pool 3-0, and have notched two wins in the elimination bracket since then. This is their first FIVB Beach World Championships together as a partnership. They will play Russia's Nikita Liamin/Viacheslav Krasilnikov in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
Sweat and S. Ross earned their fifth-place finish after first going 2-1 in pool play, and following with two victories in the elimination rounds. Their run ended in the quarterfinals against 2016 Olympic gold medalists Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst of Germany, 21-15, 21-14.
"It wasn't our game, I got dug on a lot of rallies and they ended up winning the rally," said S. Ross. "They played really well, we didn't play well and the combo showed in the score. We had so many good games here and I'm excited. This is a good way to finish this FIVB Tour."
Team USA standings at the finish of play on Aug. 4:
Fendrick/Ross, play Germany for the gold medal
Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena, play Russia in the quarterfinals
T5th Brooke Sweat/Summer Ross, lost to Germany in the quarterfinal
T9th Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes, eliminated by Germany in the Round of 16
T17th Emily Day/Nicole Branagh, lost to Lauren Fendrick/April Ross in the Round of 32
T17thCasey Patterson/Theo Brunner, eliminated by Austria in the Round of 32
T17th Jake Gibb/Taylor Crabb, lost to Australia in the Round of 32
T17th John Hyden/Ryan Doherty, fell to Latvia in three sets in the Round of 32
|2017 FIVB Beach World Championships roster|
|Brooke Sweat||Summer Ross||Main Draw|
|Lauren Fendrick||April Ross||Jon Daze||Main Draw|
|Kelly Claes||Sara Hughes||Jose Loiola||Main Draw|
|Emily Day||Nicole Branagh||Marcio Sicoli||Main Draw|
|Phil Dalhausser||Nick Lucena||Jason Lochhead||Main Draw|
|Casey Patterson||Theo Brunner||Rich Lambourne||Main Draw|
|Jake Gibb||Taylor Crabb||Marcio Sicoli||Main Draw|
|John Hyden||Ryan Doherty||Ty Tramblie||Main Draw|
|Sean Scott||Team Lead/Video|
|Aimee Miyazawa||USAV Beach Head Athletic Trainer|
|Anthony Darmiento||USAV Strength and Conditioning|
|Kevin Pierce||Sports Medicine, DC DACBSP|
|Elmo Agatep||Team Doctor, M.D.|
UPCOMING EVENTS | Add to your schedule
July 28-Aug. 6 FIVB Beach World Championships
July 31-Aug. 2 USA Junior Beach Championships
Aug. 17-20 AVP Manhattan Beach
Aug. 22-27 FIVB World Tour Finals
Aug. 31 – Sept. 3 AVP Chicago
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