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Women’s FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam finishes Pool Play

USA's April Ross extends across the Argentinean sand Friday morning as she and teammate Jennifer Kessy finished pool play undefeated to earn a bye into the second elimination round Friday evening at the FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam.

Corrientes, Argentina, May 24, 2013—With two rounds of single elimination phase still to be played today, things are heating up in Corrientes as the women have completed pool play at the $440,000 FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam double-gender tournament.  Winning their respective pools to earn a first-round bye in the 24-team single elimination portion of the event were three teams each from Brazil and Germany along with one each from the Netherlands and the United States.

With the top three teams in each of eight pools advancing to the elimination rounds with the second and third-place teams competing in the first round early this afternoon. With the winners of each pool meeting the winners of the first round matches this evening, the women’s portion of round 2 of the 10-event 2013 FIVB World Tour will conclude Saturday with the women’s quarterfinals, semifinals and medal matches. With the event being held for the first time in Corrientes, the purpose-built site is located on the sands of Arazati Beach – Costanera Sur.

For the women, the six undefeated Pool winners with 3-0 marks were Brazil’s Maria Antonelli/Agatha Bednarczuk, Brazil’s Taina Lima/Talita Antunes, Germany’s Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler, Germany’s Julia Grossner/Victoria Bieneck, Netherlands’ Madelein Meppelink/Sophie van Gestal  and USA’s Jennifer Kessy/April Ross.

Winning their pools with 2-1 records were Brazilian sisters Maria Clara Salgado/Carolina Salgado and Germany’s Karla Borger/Britta Buthe,

Argentina Olympians Ana Gallay/Maria Zonta were the only home-country team to advance, moving forward with a 1-2 pool record. Argentina’s Gallay/Zonta almost pulled off another upset this morning but fell in three sets to the Salgado sisters, 21-18, 13-21, 15-13 in 54 minutes.

The lighted stadium court has been built to seat 7,500 spectators. With competition in finish the evening, the women’s quarterfinals, semifinals and medal matches will be held on Saturday with the men’s semifinals and medal matches closing the tournament on Sunday. The men’s semifinals and medal matches will start at 2:30 p.m. local time on Sunday for the men’s final four matches.

USA’s Kessy/Ross, the 2012 Olympic silver medalists, continued their powerful tournament start in winning their pool with wins over teams from Argentina and Kazhkstan on Thursday and Canada this morning. 

Pushed to three sets in their final pool play match Friday morning after winning their first two on Thursday 2-0, USA’s Kessy/Ross came back from losing the first set 18-21 to defeat Australia’s Taliqua Clancy/Louise Bawden, 18-21, 21-9, 15-8 in 45 minutes to earn their first round bye. The Australians finished 1-2 advancing to a first round match later today.

Both Kessy and Ross were pleased with their start in the tournament.

Kessy commented after her team’s win this morning, saying, “We are really happy to win our pool anytime, all the teams are here really tough so any time you can win your pool is a big deal and this tournament especially because if we would have lost, we would have played three matches today instead of two.”

Ross remarked afterwards, “Usually after the Olympics it feels like there are a lot of new teams and maybe they're not as good, but this time I feel like the competition level is still going up, everybody is still getting better so it's even harder this year than it was last year.”

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