FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Moscow Grand Slam | 26 - 31 May 2015

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Press release

“Mama” Kessy Advances in women’s Moscow Grand Slam


Jen "Mama" Kessy (right) and Emily Day celebrate a USA points against Canada Friday morning

Moscow, Russia, May 29, 2015 - Nine-plus months after giving birth to baby daughter Aila, Jen Kessy is back playing Beach Volleyball on the FIVB World Tour as she and new partner Emily Day have won three of four matches this week at the US$800,000 Moscow Grand Slam.

As the last American team competing in the fourth FIVB World Tour event for women on the 2015 calendar, Kessy and Day advanced from their pool Thursday and opened play here Friday in the 24-team elimination bracket by defeating Jamie Broder and Kristina Valjas of Canada 2-0 (21-16, 21-18) in 38 minutes.

The Canadians entered this week’s event as the top-ranked team on the international circuit after winning a gold medal in the season-opening event last month in China where Broder and Valjas posted a semi-final win over April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings, the United States’ top-ranked team.

With the Friday morning win, Kessy and Day face the Brazilian Salgado sisters (Carolina and Maria Clara) in the afternoon with the winner advancing to the evening quarter-finals at the Vodny Stadium Beach Sports Center.  The Salgados played in the same pool with Ross and Walsh Jennings, who had to forfeit their final two matches in the group due to the right shoulder injury for the later American player.

The 37-year old “mama” Kessy captured the silver medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games with Ross as the pair dropped the finale to Misty May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings.  After London when May-Treanor retired, Ross switched to team with Walsh Jennings in 2013.  Kessy took a break to have her first child with French Beach Volleyball player Andy Ces (born August 14, 2014).

During her season away from Beach Volleyball, Kessy never considered competing internationally again or even trying to attempt qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.  Her goal was to find a new partner and only play in domestic tournaments in 2015.

After watching last year’s world tour event in southern California, she felt she could compete against the other American teams behind Ross and Walsh Jennings for a possible second USA spot in Rio.

“If there was a team like April and I were, ranked like fourth in the world right now, I’m not sure I would be 100 percent in as I am right now,” Kessy said in an interview with NBC OlympicTalk last November.  “I see the opening and opportunity. It really has lit a fire. I can’t really back down from it.”

So here is “Mama” Kessy back playing internationally with Day in the first “big” event during the qualifying process for the Rio Summer Games.  The Americans are playing in their first-ever FIVB World Tour event together while the Salgados are competing in their 128th-sanctioned FIVB tournament with two gold medals, 17 podium placements and 23 “final four” finishes together.

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