COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 3, 2019) – Kerri Walsh Jennings/Brooke Sweat and Stafford Slick/Billy Allen (see photo above) won the U.S. country quota matches on Tuesday to qualify for the $600,000 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals in Rome.
The last event on the 2018-2019 international beach volleyball calendar, the winning teams at the FIVB World Tour Finals will claim the $40,000 first-place prizes while capturing 1,200 Olympic qualifying points for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Walsh Jennings/Sweat defeated Emily Day/Betsi Flint, 21-15, 21-10 to advance to the qualification round in Rome.
“We are determined to have a good finish this week,” Walsh Jennings told the FIVB, “so today was a good start because Emily and Betsi are a good team. We had to show up with all we had, and we did it. We took care of the ball, Brooke played great and I think we played great defense. Tomorrow, we got to keep doing things the same way.”
Walsh Jennings added that her team didn’t mind playing extra games.
“We’re hungry for points. It’s been a great season and now that we’ve made it through to the next round, everything is exciting. There was the bulk of the season that was mentally and emotionally challenging, but physically it has all been good, so it’s been fun. This is a great opportunity and that’s how we’re looking at every match.”
Allen/Slick defeated Reid Priddy/Theo Brunner, 6-21, 23-21, 15-13.
“They had us on the first set," Allen told the FIVB. "They played well, and we couldn’t really stop them. They served me the whole time and I had to just find a way to sideout. Stafford stuck with me and set me great and we capitalized on those one or two opportunities we had. We weren’t stopping them at all but then Stafford stepped up his serving a little bit and got a couple of good serves down their line. That kind of catapulted us back into the game.”
Allen said his team was "happy to be in the qualifier, but there’s still a lot of work to do. It’s the last tournament of the season and it’s just the second five-star in which we have a chance to play in the main draw. We’re hoping to take advantage of it because it’s really important for points.”
Allen/Slick will play Italy’s Alberto Di Silvestre/Tobia Marchetto in the first round of qualification on Wednesday.
Walsh Jennings/Sweat advanced straight to the second round of qualification where they will await their opponent.
Casey Patterson announced on Instagram that he and Chase Budinger pulled out of the Rome tournament due to a back injury Patterson suffered at AVP Chicago.
U.S. TEAMS FOR FIVB WORLD TOUR FINALS
Sept. 3-8 in Rome
2 Alix Klineman/April Ross (Coach Jen Kessy_
9 Kelly Claes/Sarah Sponcil
10 Kelley Larsen/Emily Stockman (Coach Evie Matthews)
Kerri Walsh Jennings/Brooke Sweat (Coach Rich Lambourne)
7 Nick Lucena/Phil Dalhausser (Coach Jason Lochhead)
14 Trevor Crabb/Tri Bourne (Coach Jose Loiola)
17 Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb (Coach Rich Lambourne)
Billy Allen/Stafford Slick (Coach John Mayer)
National Team Coach Tyler Hildebrand
Team Leader Sean Scott
Chiropractor: Karla Wolford
Athletic Trainer: Mike Martinez
Sports Psychologist: Peter Haberl
Video and Statistics: Tyler Widdison
Emily Stockman/Kelley Larsen won the women’s NORCECA qualifier on Aug. 28 in Hermosa Beach, Calif., while Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb won the men’s.
Stockman/Larsen won the women’s final by forfeit over Kerri Walsh Jennings/Brooke Sweat. Emily Day/Betsi Flint placed third with a 28-26, 21-18 win over Sarah Sponcil/Kelly Claes.
Crabb/Gibb won the men’s final 21-19, 21-17 over Ryan Doherty/Miles Evans. Stafford Slick/Billy Allen took third by forfeit over Travis Mewhirter/Kyle Friend.
Stockman/Larsen and Sweat/Walsh Jennings along with Crabb/Gibb and Doherty/Evans will compete at the NORCECA Tour final on Oct. 4-6 in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic.
The next NORCECA qualifier will be Sept. 25 in Hermosa Beach.
April Ross/Alix Klineman and Jake Gibb/Taylor Crabb took the women’s and men’s titles respectively at the AVP Tour event in Chicago on Sept. 2.
Ross/Klineman beat Emily Day/Betsi Flint in the women’s final, 21-12, 21-15. Gibb/Crabb beat Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena in the men’s final, 21-19, 21-10.
USA Volleyball will host the Beach Open National Championships for adults on Sept. 28-29 in Hermosa Beach. Register now at http://go.usav.org/19BVBOpen.
Emily Hartong/Geena Urango and Brandon Joyner/Michael Boag will compete at the NORCECA Tour event in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic on Sept. 13-15.
Melissa Fuchs/Lindsey Fuller and Aurora Davis/Allie Wheeler along with Travis Mewhirter/Kyle Friend and Chris Austin/Kris Johnson will compete at the NORECA Tour event in Bonaire on Sept. 27-29.