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13 Women’s duos win first two of three rounds of Pool Play Wednesday at Alamitos Beach

USA's Emily Day, pictured, and teammate Summer Ross are one of 13 unbeaten teams in pool play as three USA teams are undefeated after two pool play matches at the ASICS World Series of Beach volleyball, a $1,000,000 FIVB Grand Slam
Long Beach, USA, July 23, 2014 — Making their presence felt in a major way, 13 women’s teams from seven countries won their first two of three pool play matches Wednesday at the double-gender ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a US$1,000,000 FIVB Grand Slam.

Being held in Long Beach, Calif., the unbeaten duos are led by three teams each from Brazil, Germany and the United States along with one each from China, Netherlands, Slovak Republic and Spain.

This year’s ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a $1,000,000 FIVB Grand Slam, is the third of four consecutive FIVB Grand Slam tournaments being held in four separate countries—Switzerland, The Netherlands, the United States and Austria. The tournament will be featured in extensive coverage by the NBC family of networks Friday through Sunday. Overall the event is a SoCal beach festival that includes 4-person and 6-person recreational events, a youth tournament and nightly music concerts. The event also includes live or same-day telecasts split between NBC Sports Network, Universal Network and NBC TV Network.

Emerging from Southern California’s sun-soaked sands with unblemished 2-0 records are USA’s top-seeded April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings, Germany’s third-seeded Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler, Spain’s fourth-seeded Liliana Fernandez/Elsa Baquerizo, Brazil’s fifth-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas, Germany’s sixth-seeded Karla Borger/Britta Buthe, Brazil’s seventh-seeded Taiana Lima/Fernanda Alves and Netherlands’ eighth-seeded Marleen Van Iersel/Madelein Meppelink.

The other six unbeaten women’s tandems are China’s ninth-seeded Fan Wang/Yuan Yue, Germany’s 10th-seeded Laura Ludwig/Julie Sude, USA’s 12th-seeded Emily Day/Summer Ross, USA’s 13th-seeded Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Seat, Slovak Republic’s 14th-seeded Dominika Nestarcova/Natalia Dubovcova and Brazil’s 18th-seeded Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes.

Using tie-breakers, leading the eight pools heading into Thursday’s final pool play match are USA’s A. Ross/Walsh Jennings, Brazil’s Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes, Slovak Republic’s Nestarcova/Dubovcova, Spain’s Fernandez/Baquerizo, Brazil’s Bednarczuk/Seixas, Germany’s Borger/Buthe, Brazil’s Lima/Alves and China’s Wang/Yue.

In the four final pool play matches Thursday morning between unbeaten teams, Slovak Republic’s Nestarcova/Dubovcova will meet Germany’s Holtwick/Semmler; Spain’s Fernandez/Baquerizo will be challenged by USA’s Fendrick/Seat; Brazil’s Bednarczuk/Seixas will compete against USA’s Day/S. Ross; Brazil’s Lima/Alves will face off with Germany’s Ludwig/Sude; and China’s Wang/Yue will play Netherland’s Van Iersel/Meppelink.

Not playing as a team for the first time in nearly a decade, Brazil’s Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta, one the utmost feared teams in the history of the sport when they set just about every FIVB record possible until they ended their partnership following their bronze medal victory in the 2012 London Olympic Games met on opposites sides of the net Wednesday.

Playing with new teammate Talita Antunes, Larissa and Talita dispatched Juliana and new teammate Maria Antonelli, in two sets, 21-15, 21-17 in 39 minutes.

The ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a $1,000,000 FIVB Grand Slam has used a format of a single-day qualification tournament on Tuesday to determine the final eight spots in each gender’s 32-team main draw tournaments, round-robin pool play which began on Wednesday. It will conclude with a single-elimination bracket for the final 24 teams. With the event being held for the second straight year in Long Beach the purpose-built site is located on the sands of the Alamitos Beach adjacent to Marina Green Park on East Shoreline Drive. General admission is free to the event and VIP tickets are on sale through the event website at

Enjoying spending some time in their home country as the FIVB World Tour travels the world, Team USA had plenty to say:
Commented Emily Day, "I think we made some pretty good defensive plays. We got good block. Summer got some good touches and I could run the ball down. It was an all-around solid match for us."

Her teammate Summer Ross said, "Their serves were really tough. They were rockets... It feels really great to be home and we have all our friends and family here. I think they are helping. They intimidate teams."

Playing in just their 11th tournament as a team with five gold medals and two fifth place finishes out of their first 10 events, USA’s A. Ross/Walsh has now won 23 consecutive pool play matches and were talkative following their twin wins.

Said Walsh Jennings, "Every weekend there's another FIVB Grand Slam somewhere in the world. Every weekend there's a championship, so if you lose, you feel it so heavily... I think the best way to learn and grow is to be thrown into the lions' den and that's definitely what we're doing. There's going to be glorious moments and there are going to be frustrating moments... We're finding our consistency."

Ross remarked, "I'm happy with (our play today) for sure. One thing I learned from the last two tournaments. We watched some matches and sometimes we get frustrated when we're not scoring points and that's what happened in the first part of set one (today)."

Men and women’s single-elimination play will begin on Friday with the quarterfinals for men also on Friday. Women’s quarterfinals and men’s and women’s semifinals will be held on Saturday. The medal matches closing the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a $1,000,000 FIVB Grand Slam will be held on Sunday. Thursday will start at 8:30 a.m. Friday is scheduled to start at 9 a.m., Saturday at 8 a.m. and at 10 a.m. on Sunday for the medal matches.

The total entry list for the 2014 ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a $1,000,000 FIVB Grand Slam includes 79 men’s teams from 29 countries and 60 women’s teams from 26 countries selected by their respective national federations.

The ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a $1,000,000 FIVB Grand Slam, will be the 307th FIVB men’s tournament since its first event in 1987 and the 271st FIVB women’s tournament since FIVB began women’s competitions in 1992. Gold medal winning teams in each gender in Long Beach will split $70,000, silver will receive $52,000, bronze winners get $40,000 and the fourth place finishers will earn $30,000 of the $1,000,000 total purse.

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