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Ross confirms Walsh link-up

April Ross (right) and Jennifer Kessy have had plenty of reasons to smile since linking up in 2007
Stare Jablonki, Poland, July 1, 2013 – April Ross has confirmed that she will be joining up with three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh before the end of the season. 

Ross is currently in action at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Mazury 2013, where she and partner Whitney Pavlik made a winning start against their fellow Americans Lauren Fendrick and Brittany Hochevar 2-0 (21-15, 21-15). Her regular partner Jennifer Kessy, with whom Ross won the 2009 World Championships in Stavanger and the silver at the London 2012 Olympic Games, is absent with hip and Achilles injuries. 

Ross and Walsh are registered together as a team for the Gstaad Grand Slam in Switzerland that immediately follows the World Championships and is Walsh’s return to action after she took time off following the birth of her third child.

However, Ross will return to play with Kessy for the Long Beach Grand Slam that runs from July 22-27, though ultimately the plan is to play with Walsh before the year’s end. 

“I’m excited to be playing with Kerri,” Ross said. “Going towards Rio we plan to be partners and go for Rio. We don’t plan to be together until maybe September or October, just to get a little experience going into 2014. 

“We’re 100 percent planning on it, Jen is in on it. It was a collaborative thing and I wanted to make sure that Jen was ok with it. It has been such a special partnership with Jen, I didn’t want it to end badly in any way, so we all worked it together and that is what is we are all happy with.” 

Old friends

As a team Ross and Kessy have won medals at 32 FIVB beach volleyball events, including 10 gold medals. Most recently, they took silver on June 23 at the Rome Grand Slam. However, it was during their run to the final that Kessy aggravated injuries that ruled her out of the World Championships. 

“She’s out this week and next week,” Ross added. “She really pushed her injuries in Rome and we did do really well in Rome, but she took a beating and a couple of the doctors thought she shouldn’t push it any farther, because if she did play on it, she might need surgery. So she’s taken the precaution she needs to. She’s out this week and next week and then plans to be in Long Beach.”

With Kessy ruled out Ross turned to Pavlik, a player she has known since her junior days and with whom she has played with in domestic events in the USA. 

Pavlik only made her FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour at The Hague Grand Slam this year and then made her second a week later in Rome. However, she admitted she was taken by surprise when Ross asked her to be her partner in Poland.

“It was in person and it caught me off guard,” Pavlik said. “She was like “I have something to tell you’ and I thought, ‘what’s wrong?’ I thought something might have happened to somebody. When she asked, I thought ‘is that is it? Of course I’ll play with you.’”

The pair were quickly into their stride and while Fendrick and Hochevar put up stiff resistance, Pavlik and Ross were able to hold them off on both occasions. 

“It can go either way,” Ross said. “To be pitched against our fellow Americans in the first match of World Champs and that can be a good thing or a bad thing and I think for Whitney it is a good thing.

"We knew them a little bit better, but they are also a very good team and we felt we had to play the best team in our pool. To play them first is tough and I am proud with how we played.”

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