FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Cincinnati Open | 17 - 21 May 2016


Press release

USA’s Walsh Jennings/A. Ross advance 3-0 to single eliminations at FIVB Cincinnati Open

USA's Kerri Walsh Jennings digs the Mikasa up for April Ross as the top-seeded Americans went unbeaten in pool play to advance to Friday's second round of eliminations at the FIVB Cincinnati Open, presented by AVP, being held in Mason, Ohio.

Mason, Ohio, USA, May 19, 2016 — Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross are entering their next phase as a team and although they know what they’re ultimate goal is, they have no idea what’s in store for them. They continue heading in a ‘Rio’ direction as Olympic hopefuls as they finished undefeated in pool play with a 3-0 match record Thursday at the double-gender FIVB Cincinnati Open, presented by AVP.

Friday will include three rounds of eliminations ending with the quarterfinals under the lights at the famed Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio.  

FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Cincinatti Open
Men - Qualification results
Women - Qualification results
Men - Main draw results
Women - Main draw results

They only know that their coach, Marcio Sicoli, will come up with something that will give them the impetus to get to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and win the Beach Volleyball gold medal.

And no longer are they fazed by Sicoli’s phases.

The event, which is one of the last three Olympic qualifiers through the FIVB World Tour is being held through Saturday and is the seventh tournament in the stretch of eight straight events on the FIVB World Tour. Next week the FIVB World Tour returns to Russia for the double-gender FIVB Moscow Grand Slam.

“What he does is he has a very broad view and he fine-tunes it and hones in every phase,” Walsh Jennings said after they winning their pool in the FIVB Cincinnati Open presented by the AVP. “It’s really fun because he has this crazy, mad-scientist plan it feels like sometimes, and we have such faith in him. Everything he does to us and for us has such a purpose, too, it and it’s really cool to go through it. Once you go through it, you recognize ‘Oh, that’s what he was doing.’

“We had a real gnarly week last week and when all was said and done, he explained to us why and we’re like ‘Ah, you’re a genius.’ I don’t know and I don’t care, but I know it’s going to be right.”

Sicoli hasn’t been around to see his pupils reach the requirements necessary to qualify for the Olympics, since he has a wedding to attend --- his own.

“He’s the best coach in the world and we’re the best team in the world because of it,” Walsh Jennings said. “We don’t want to limit ourselves and Marcio has high expectations and he sees stuff that we don’t see in ourselves.”

Ross and Walsh Jennings were one of six United States teams to advance past pool play. The single-elimination portion begins Friday en route to Saturday’s championship match.

The 24-team field will be reduced to four teams for Saturday’s semifinals and medal matches.

The other Americans moving on are Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat plus Jen Kessy and Emily Day, the other two U.S. teams battling for one their country’s two Olympic spots. In a quirk of the draw based on the FIVB point system, Kessy-Day will face Americans Lane Carico and Summer Ross, and the winner takes on Walsh Jennings/Ross.

Kim Dicello and Kendra Vanzwieten and Irene Hester and Caitlin Ledoux round out the Americans advancing.

The other pool winners, who earn a bye in the first round of the knockout round, are second-seeded Sarah Pavan and Heather Bansley of Canada, Liliana Fernandez and Elsa Baquerizo of SpainKatrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler of Germany, Miller Pata and Lineline Matauatu of Vanuatu, Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova of Czech Republic, Tanja Huberli and Nina Betschart of Switzerland and Rimke Braakman and Jolien Sinnema of the Netherlands.

Which is right where Walsh Jennings and Ross expect to be at this time. However, even with their trademark focus and intensity, they did allow themselves a moment to mark the milestone when they reached it Wednesday.

“I never doubted either and it was just coming,” Ross said. “To actually have it in writing is --- it’s not even a relief, it’s a capping of one of our phases. We worked really hard for this, it’s a cap on that phase and now we can direct all our focus on the Olympics so it frees up our minds to really just go after what we want to do in Rio.”

“It took the pressure off,” Walsh Jennings said. “We had a moment of celebration, which is really important when you’re on a journey like this to stop and recognize the little achievements. It’s a big one, but it was a little one on the way to our biggest one.”

Playing in their 25th FIVB World Tour event as a team, USA’s three-time Olympic gold medalist Walsh Jennings (with Misty May-Treanor) and A. Ross, a silver medalist at the London 2012 Olympic Games (with Jennifer Kessy), have 13 final four finishes on the FIVB World Tour including eight gold medals since becoming a team.

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.

On Friday, both genders will play three rounds of eliminations for the remaining 24 teams from pool play, 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.

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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