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16 women’s teams remain at FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam after first elimination round

USA's Jennifer Kessy, left, and April Ross, the top-seeded team, overcame a pool play loss to enter single elimination where they also won their first match Wednesday at the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam.

Long Beach, Calif., USA, July 24, 2013—With the women’s field being narrowed down to 16 teams out of the original 32 that started the main draw following Wednesday’s final pool play match and first round of the single elimination bracket, action will become even more heated Thursday when the women’s round of 16 and nationally televised quarterfinals are held at the $440,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam double-gender tournament. The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is back in the USA for the first time in a decade. While the men’s teams played the second of three pool play matches on Wednesday, the women reduced their field to 16 teams as the second and third place teams from the eight pools baked and battled under the warm California sunshine.

The 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is back in the USA for the first time since 2003. With the event being held for the first time in Long Beach the purpose-built site is located on the expansive glistening sands of Marina Green Park on East Lakeshore Drive. Matches at the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam, presented by ASICS, are scheduled to start at 8:00 a.m. Thursday. The women’s round of 16 will start at noon. General admission is free to the event and VIP tickets are on sale through the event website at The last matches Thursday will be the women’s quarterfinals with two at 4 p.m. and one each at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. The men meantime will play their last of three pool play matches starting at 8 a.m. and come back to play their first round of elimination matches starting at 2 p.m.

In the first elimination round that capped Wednesday’s schedule, Germany’s No. 7-seeded Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler defeated Canada’s No. 31-seeded Melisa Humana-Paredes/Taylor Pischke, 21-18, 21-15 in 35 minutes;  USA’s No. 12-seeded Jennifer Fopma/Brooke Sweat stopped Czech Republic’s No. 23-seeded Martina Bonnerova/Barbora Hermannova, 21-8, 21-11 in 28 minutes; USA’s No.1-seeded April Ross/Jennifer Kessy held on to beat Germany’s No. 14-seeded Victoria Bieneck/Julia Grossner, 21-11, 14-21, 16-14 in 54 minutes and Switzerland’s No. 9-seeded Nadine Zumkehr/Joana Heidrich beat  Australia’s No. 11-seeded Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy, 21-13, 21-15 in 34 minutes.

In the final four first round elimination matches late Wednesday afternoon, Slovak Republic’s No. 13-seeded Natalia Dubovcova/Dominika Nextarcova beat Canada’s No. 21-seeded Jamie Broder/Kristina Valjas, 21-14, 21-17 in 36 minutes; USA’s No. 15-seeded Emily Day/Summer Ross surprised Finland’s No. 16-seed Erika Nystrom/Emilia Nystrom, 21-10, 21-15 in 30 minutes; Canada’s No. 24-seeded Sarah Pavan/Heather Bansley eliminated Italy’s No. 22-seeded Daniela Gioria/Laura Giombini, 21-14, 13-21, 15-12 in 50 minutes and Germany’s No. 20-seeded Jana Kohler/Anni Schumacher knocked off Austria’s No. 19-seeded Barbara Hansel/Katharina Schutzenhofer, 17-21, 13-21, 15-11 in 50 minutes.

The first round winners advanced to meet the eight pool winners on Thursday as the winners all earned a first round bye.

In Thursday’s round of 16 matchups, Germany’s Holtwick/Semmler will meet Switzerland’s No. 17-seeded Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre; USA’s Fopma/Sweat will challenge USA’s No. 8-seeded Lauren Fendrick/Brittany Hochevar; USA’s Ross/Kessy will line up against Brazil’s No. 5-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Maria Antonelli and Switzerland’s Zumehr/Heidrich will go against Brazil’s No. 4-seeded Maria Claira Salgado/Carolina Salgado.

The second group of matches will seeSlovak Republic’s Dubovcova/Nextarcova play against Brazil’s No. 3-seeded, Barbara Seixas/Liliane Maestrini; USA’s Day/Ross meet Spain’s No. 6-seeded Liliana Fernandez/Elsa Baquerizo; Canada’s Pavan/Bansley will play Czech Republic’s No. 10-seeded Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova and Germany’s Kohler/Schumacher will tangle with No. 2-seeded Taiana Lima/Talita Antunes.

The FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam, presented by ASICS, is the showcase part of the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a SoCal beach festival that includes 4-person and 6-person recreational events, a youth tournament and nightly music concerts. Also part of the event is the inaugural ASICS World Series Cup featuring two teams in each gender from the USA against two international teams with the finals on Sunday. In addition to the international live FIVB telecasts, the event also includes 23 hours of live or same-day telecasts split between NBC Sports Network, Universal Network and NBC TV Network.

The women’s semifinals and medal matches of the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam will be held on Friday with the men’s semifinals also on Friday and men’s medal matches closing the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam on Saturday. Play Wednesday through Friday will start at 8 a.m. and at 11 a.m. on Saturday for the men’s medal matches.

The gold medal teams in each gender in the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam will each split $33,000, the silver $22,000, the bronze $16,500 and fourth place $12,900. The women’s medal matches will be held on Friday and the men’s medal matches on Saturday. The FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam is the 291st FIVB international men’s event since the FIVB began play in 1987 and the 253rd FIVB women’s tournament since women started international competition in 1992.

The 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is comprised of 10 Grand Slam events and the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. Not part of the World Tour but still counting towards the FIVB World Rankings, the FIVB yearly calendar also includes seven Open events, five double-gender and two women-only. There is a double-gender FIVB Open event being playing this week as well in Anapa, Russia.

After another week off next week, the 10-Grand Slam 2013 FIVB World Tour will continue in two weeks in Germany at the $440,000 FIVB Berlin Grand Slam. The season finale of the tour will be in Brazil in mid-October at the $440,000 FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam.

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