Kessy/Ross named USA Volleyball Beach Team of the Year
Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) won the title for their success both internationally, where they were ranked fourth on the FIVB World Tour, and domestically, where they were the top-ranked players in the USA Volleyball Beach Rankings.
The 2012 season also saw outstanding performances by Misty May-Treanor (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Kerri Walsh Jennings (Saratoga, Calif.), who won their third-straight Olympic gold medal along with a gold medal in Gstaad, Switzerland and a silver medal in Moscow, and Jenny Kropp (Grand Island, Neb.) and Whitney Pavlik (Laguna Beach, Calif.), who dominated the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Tour with six victories.
On the FIVB World Tour, Kessy, 35, and Ross, 30, won a bronze medal in Rome and a gold medal in Thailand to go with the silver they won at the 2012 Olympic Games. They also had six fifth-place finishes on the Tour.
In the United States, Kessy and Ross won the women’s titles at the AVP tournaments in Cincinnati and Santa Barbara and the NVL event in Baltimore.
For Kessy, the highlights of the season were qualifying for the Olympic Games, reaching the podium in London, and winning the gold medal in Thailand. The toughest part of the season was not reaching the podium in some of the early FIVB World Tour events.
“We didn’t have our best year leading into the Olympics,” Kessy said. “In Rome we got on the podium (with a bronze). You want to win every tournament. But the main goal was winning at the Olympics.”
The finishes off the podium were difficult for Ross as well.
“I thought we were going to be a bigger presence on the podium going into the Olympics,” Ross said. “I can remember being upset about it. Maybe it helped us in the end. I wasn’t overconfident going into London.”
London was the highlight of the season for Ross, particularly her team’s 15-21, 21-19, 15-12 victory in the semifinals over Brazil’s No. 1-seeded Larissa França and Juliana Felisberta Da Silva, a team that had defeated the Americans in their previous nine meetings and who were named the FIVB’s Team of the Year.
“That was the most fun and meaningful match I’ve played in my entire life,” Ross said.
The future is somewhat uncertain for Kessy and Ross. They are currently training for the 2013 FIVB World Cup tournament that is scheduled for Brazil early in the season (the date and city have yet to be announced). They have their sights set on winning the 2013 FIVB Beach World Championship in Stare Jablonki, Poland.
Kessy has talked about retiring after 2013 while Ross is looking toward the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.