FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Long Beach Grand Slam | 18 - 23 August 2015

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Press release

Three ranked FIVB World Tour pairs upset in ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball


American Summer Ross (left) attempts to block against European champion Kira Walkenhorst of Germany in an opening pool play match Wednesday at the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach

Long Beach, Calif., USA, August 19, 2015 - With the top four teams on the FIVB World Tour winning as expected here Wednesday at the US$800,000 ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, the fifth-, sixth- and seventh-ranked pairs on the international circuit were upset in their opening pool play matches on the TrueCar Court at Alamitos Beach.

This week’s third annual visit to this southern California port city also marked the returned to the FIVB World Tour by three-time Olympic and world champion Kerri Walsh as she teamed with April Ross to win their opening match over a Main Draw qualifying team from Germany in the 11th women’s stop on the 2015 international calendar.

Brazilians Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas (No. 1-ranked team on FIVB World Tour), Maria Antonelli/Juliana Felisberta (No. 3) and Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca (No. 4) won their opening matches Wednesday as did Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan, the No. 2-ranked pair on the international circuit.

However, No. 5 Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy of Australia, No. 6 Jamie Broder/Kristina Valjas of Canada and No. 7 Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst of Germany were all defeated in their opening pool play matches against lower-seeded pairs from Germany and the United States.

American upset winners were Lane Carico/Summer Ross and Jen Fopma/Brittany Hochevar while Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude of Germany surprised Broder and Valjas with a 2-1 (20-22, 21-17, 15-13) victory in 57 minutes over the Canadians in a Pool B match where Brazilians Talita and Larissa are also competing with Americans Nicole Branagh/Jen Kropp.

Carico and Ross, who had to qualify for the Main Draw by winning two matches Tuesday, posted a 2-0 (25-23, 21-14) win in 44 minutes over Ludwig and Walkenhorst.  The Germans won the last FIVB World Tour event three weeks ago in Japan before topping the podium at the European championships two weeks ago in Austria.

Fopma, who played the last two weekends with Ross in American domestic events while Walsh was tending to her right shoulder problems, and Hochevar earned one of the two Main Draw “wild card” spots for the Long Beach Main Draw.  The women proved the promoter right by scoring a 2-0 (21-16, 21-19) win in 39 minutes over Bawden and Clancy.

Ross and Walsh Jennings opened play Wednesday with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-18) win in 42 minutes over Victoria Bieneck and Julia Grossner of Germany.  Walsh Jennings’ last world tour appearance was five weeks ago in Switzerland where she and Ross placed fourth.  After eliminating Agatha and Barbara in the Gstaad quarter-finals by playing the second set with a dislocated shoulder, Walsh Jennings forfeited their final two matches.

The Americans’ next opponent Wednesday will be Carolina Horta and Liliane Maestrini of Brazil.  The last time the two teams met was in the Moscow Grand Slam where the Americans were leading 5-2 in the first set of a pool play match in May before Walsh Jennings dislocated her right shoulder for the first-time this season.

The 32-team Main Draws for ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball for both women and men features pool play with the top three group finishers advancing to the elimination rounds.  Pool winners are guaranteed a first-round “bye” in the knockout rounds when the 24-team elimination bracket begins Friday.

The ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball is the second of two events in the United States this season that are part of the qualifying process for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.  The first 2015 American Olympic qualifier was held in mid-June at St. Petersburg, Fla.  Prior to the St. Petersburg Grand Slam, the last Olympic Beach Volleyball qualifying event in the United States was staged in September 2003 at Carson, Calif.

Following the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, the final Grand Slam event on the 2015 FIVB World Tour will be played August 25-30 in Olsztyn, Poland.  The “test” event for the Rio 2016 Olympics will be staged on September 2-6 at exactly the same location for the Summer Games’ Beach Volleyball competition on Copacabana Beach.

Prior to returning to the United States for the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (September 29-October 4), the international circuit will stage “open” tournaments in Russia (Sochi, September 8-13) and China (Xiamen, September 22-27).


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