Walsh Jennings/Sweat Grab Gold in Jinjiang

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | May 26, 2019, 7:42 p.m. (ET)

Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat with their medals

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 26, 2019) Brooke Sweat (right in photo above) and Kerri Walsh Jennings took a stride on their path toward the 2020 Olympic Games by winning the FIVB World Tour four-star event in Jinjiang, China on Sunday.

Sweat/Walsh Jennings beat Australia’s Taliqua Clancy/Mariafe Artacho, 21-17, 21-19 in the final on Sunday. In the semifinal, the U.S. pair beat Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda Santos Lisboa, 21-19, 19-21, 15-13.

Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb had the best finish for the U.S. men in fourth place, further securing their lead in Olympic qualifying points. Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena finished tied for fifth after losing to eventual tournament winners Anders Mol/Christian Sorum of Norway in the quarterfinals.

The women’s gold medal was Walsh Jennings’ first on the FIVB World Tour since 2016 and Sweat’s first ever. The pair won $20,000 and 800 FIVB points and now leads all U.S. women’s beach teams in Olympic qualifying points, pulling ahead of April Ross/Alix Klineman.

 “It’s been so long, it just feels good, it feels good to play well as a team, it feels good to improve, it feels so good to finish on top,” Walsh Jennings told the FIVB. “The world is so good at volleyball, so you have to be the best on that day to win and we played great and it was so fun.”

Sweat added: “It’s my first gold, so to get it with Kerri in such a great tournament, we played some great teams. I’m so excited and looking forward to more.”

Still working to build up their entry points as a team, Sweat/Walsh Jennings had to win a qualification match to make it into the main draw. They ended up losing only one set in the tournament.

In the third round, they beat the U.S. team of Kelly Claes/Sarah Sponcil, 21-13, 23-21. Claes/Sponcil finished fifth.

“We’re crawling our way up the ranks, not just with the world, but the U.S. teams too,” Sweat said. “We just want to keep going and as long as we keep getting better and better. We’re not going to be worried about points. But it’s awesome now and we will get back to work again soon.”

The team is schedule to play next at the FIVB World Tour four-star event on May 28-June 2 in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

U.S. RESULTS IN JINJIANG
Women

1 Brooke Sweat/Kerri Walsh Jennings USA
2 Taliqua Clancy /Mariafe Artacho AUS
3 Ana Patricia Silva/Rebecca Cavalcanti Barbosa
5T Kelly Claes/Sarah Sponcil
9T Sara Hughes/Summer Ross
17T Emily Day/Betsi Flint

Men
1 Anders Mol/Christian Sorum NOR
2 Evandro Goncalves/Bruno Oscar Schmidt BRA
3 George Sauto Meior/Andre Loyola Stein BRA
4 Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb USA
5 Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena USA
9T John Hyden/Ryan Doherty USA
17T Casey Patterson/Chase Budinger USA