FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Cincinnati Open | 17 - 21 May 2016


Press release

USA’s Hester/Ledoux join seven USA women’s tandems in Cincinnati Open main draw

USA's Irene Hester blasts the Mikasa against Austria's Teresa Strauss as Hester and Caitlin Ledoux defeated the Austrians to become one of seven American teams in the women's main draw at the double-gender FIVB Cincinnati Open in Mason, Ohio.

Mason, Ohio, USA, May 17, 2016 — Continuing to battle their way into a higher level on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, USA’s Irene Hester/Caitlin Ledoux made it past their first hurdle Tuesday, winning their qualification tournament match to advance to Wednesday’s women’s 32-team main draw at the double-gender FIVB Cincinnati Open, presented by AVP.

Hester/Ledoux now join six other American women in the main draw at the only USA tour stop this year that counts in the world rankings for placement into the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

The seventh tournament in the stretch of eight straight events on the FIVB World Tour, presented by AVP, the FIVB Cincinnati Open is being played in the famed Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio. Next week the FIVB World Tour returns to Russia for the double-gender FIVB Moscow Grand Slam. Advancing to the main draw were three teams from the USA, two from Germany and one each from Canada, Czech Republic and Spain.

Playing in their 14th FIVB World Tour event, USA’s Hester/Ledoux advanced to their sixth main draw by coming from behind to defeat talented youthful Austria’s twin 20-year old sisters Nadine Strauss/Teresa Strauss in three sets, 16-21, 21-13 and 15-10 in 38 minutes.

USA’s Hester/Ledoux duo join fellow Americans Summer Ross/Lane Carico and Kim Dicello/Kendra Vanzwieten who advanced to the main draw by receiving byes to advance to the start of Pool Play on Wednesday.

The double-gender $150,000 FIVB Cincinnati Open, presented by AVP started Tuesday and concludes on Saturday. It is the 14th men’s event of the season and 11th women’s stop on the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour that started with three events at the end of 2015.

With seven teams in the main draw, USA qualifiers Hester/Ledoux, S. Ross/Carico and Dicello/Vanswieten join USA’s top-seeded Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross, USA’s third-seeded Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat, USA’s eighth-seeded Jennifer Kessy/Emily Day and 17th-seeded Brittany Hochevar/Jennifer Fopma. On the men’s side two USA qualifiers advanced to join four pre-seeded USA men to give the host country six men’s teams in the main draw and 13 total between the two genders.

While the AVP has held domestic tour events in the area every year since 2005, the FIVB is visiting the greater Cincinnati metropolitan area for the first time, The FIVB Cincinnati Open, presented by AVP is a double-gender event with 32 main draw teams per gender. The format is the same for each gender with the schedule having qualifying tournament for both genders on Tuesday to determine the final eight teams for each 32-team main draw. On Wednesday and Thursday, each gender will be split into eight, four-team pools to play three matches over the two days. The top three teams in the eight pools (24 total teams) will advance from pool play to the single-elimination knockout rounds.

On Friday, both genders will play three rounds of eliminations ending under the lights with the quarterfinals on two courts during the evening.

On Saturday, the final eight matches will be played all on the center court at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. Starting at 10 a.m. the women’s semifinals and medal matches followed by the two men’s semifinals at 4:30 p.m. After the men’s semis will be the women’s awarding ceremony followed by the men’s medal matches with the men’s awarding ceremony at approximately 10:30 p.m. closing the tournament.

Joining the three teams from the United States are Germany’s two teams of Kim Behrens/Anni Schumacher and Anika Krebs/Anna Behlen along with Canada’s Julie Gordon/Brandie Wilkerson, Czech Republic’s Kristyna Kolocova/Michala Michala Kvapilova and Spain’s Ester ibera/Amaranta Fernandez.

Starting slow against the young Austrians in the first set, USA’s Hester/Ledoux made some adjustments and bounced back, making several adjustments to control the second set and the deciding third set.

Hester, who played volleyball at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, commented afterwards, “We advanced to the main draw a couple of weeks ago in Fortaleza, Brazil as there wasn’t a women’s qualifier, so this one today feels even better because we earned it by played a very good young Austrian team. Caitlin and I decided to start serving the right side after the first set and made some switches in our defense.”

Ledoux, who played indoor at Long Beach State in Southern California, reacted to her team’s win, saying, “Irene and I have played together on the beach for three years and we continue to pursue our dreams and goals on the FIVB World Tour. We are so excited to advance to the main draw.  It’s really tough to travel this much for a one-and-done situation so we are going to make the most of it.  We play some on the AVP tour and we have two wins in NORCECA tournaments but all the best teams in the world are on the FIVB World Tour.”  

In all, 12 cities in the USA have hosted an FIVB event—Atlanta, Carson, Calif., Chicago, Cincinnati Clearwater, Fla., Fort Lauderdale, Hermosa Beach, Calif., Long Beach, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City and St. Petersburg, Fla. Through the 2015 events (three last year), the United States has now hosted a total of 30 FIVB World Tour events (15 men, 15 women).

The gold medal teams at the FIVB Cincinnati Open, presented by AVP, will split $11,000 and 500 points, the silver $8,000 and 450 points, the bronze $6,000 400 points and fourth place $4,500 and 450 points.

Additional information on the event is available online both at and While general admission to the tournament is free, tickets are available online for the VIP prime seating areas at

With placement points for the FIVB Olympic Rankings for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games continuing, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour continues with events over eight straight weeks through the end of May.

The FIVB World Tour was in Europe for two events over the last two weeks. Up first was in Russia two weeks followed by last week’s FIVB Antalya Open in Turkey (May 10-15). The tour is visiting the United States for the first time in 2016 this week for the FIVB Cincinnati Open, presented by AVP (May 17-21) in Mason, Ohio. Next week, the FIVB World Tour returns to Russia for the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam (May 24-29). After a one week respite, the final Olympic qualifying event on the FIVB World Tour will be the FIVB Hamburg Major Series in Germany (June 7-12).

The FIVB Cincinnati Open, presented by AVP, is the 343rd men’s tournament since the FIVB began play in 1987 and the 304th FIVB women’s tournament since their competition started in 1992.

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