USA’s Walsh Jennings/ Ross leading women’s field to Saturday semis at FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam

Long Beach, California, USA, Aug. 26, 2016 – After an emotional final three days of the Rio 2016 Olympics, Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross were greeted by many fans in their return to California. Not all of the well-wishers had any idea how difficult their job would be in the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball-FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam.

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“When people are saying ‘Oh yeah, we’re going to come watch you Saturday and Sunday,’ and they’re saying that on Wednesday, it’s like well, maybe you don’t understand how tough this Tour is,” Ross said. “We believe we’ll be there. I just want people to respect how deep the tour is and how good the world is.”

Walsh Jennings and Ross made it to the weekend with two victories on Friday that enabled them to reach Saturday’s semifinals. But they didn’t have to deal with foreign challengers as the defeated fellow Americans Summer Ross and Lane Carico and fellow United States Olympians Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat to get there.

The 2016 FIVB World Tour regular season is concluding in the United States with the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball being held through Sunday on a colorful purpose-built venue at Alamitos Beach adjacent to Marina Green Park on East Shoreline Drive. The men’s quarterfinals and semifinals along with the women’s semifinals will be played on Saturday. The medal matches and awarding ceremonies for each gender will be played Sunday.

While the cornerstone of the beach volleyball celebration is the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam (regular season finale of the 2016 FIVB World Tour), the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball encompasses a wide variety of additional elements . Also part of the beach festival has been live entertainment, a special celebrity center court match, an expansive vendor’s village, multiple open, junior and youth beach volleyball tournaments and the very special legends of the game tribute dinner all at the event venue.

For complete details regarding the entire ASICS WSOBV lineup of events and activities including premium seating tickets, visit the event website at

In the semifinals, the top-seeded Walsh Jennings and Ross will face Germany’s Chantal Laboreur and Julia Sude, the No. 5 seeds. The winner will face either No. 7 Liliana Fernandez/Elsa Baquerizo of Spain or No. 13 Katrin Holtwick/Ilke Semmler of Germany.

In a testament to depth on the FIVB World Tour in 2016, neither of the German semifinalists reached the Olympics. In fact, Holtwick and Semmler reached the final four with a 21-19, 16-21, 15-9 win over German Olympians Britta Buthe and Karla Borger in the quarterfinals.

“This tour is so deep and I’m really happy that it’s here in Long Beach for people to see that it’s not just Brazil and the USA,” Walsh Jennings said. “The world is rad and I think this is enlightening to a lot of people.”

Walsh Jennings and Ross scored a 21-14, 21-18 win over Fendrick/Sweat to reach the semifinals. Fendrick/Sweat failed to get out of their pool in the Olympics, but were buoyed by a revenge victory of 21-13, 10-21, 15-11 over Poland’s Monika Brzostek and Kinga Kolosinska earlier in the day.

“Coming back definitely took some effort to get ready for this. Mentally and physically, it’s been a long season,” Fendrick said. “Our whole goal was getting to the Olympics and medaling in the Olympics.

“Playing them again, I had the Olympics on my mind and I really wanted to win that match.”

Elsa and Liliana, also Olympians, reached the semifinals with a surprisingly easy 21-17, 21-18 victory over second-seeded Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca of Brazil, the top-ranked team in the world heading into the Olympics.

It was a productive day of three victories over Olympians for Spain’s Elsa and Liliana, who stopped No. 10 Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland, 19-21, 21-14, 15-8, before taking out No. 12 Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug of Argentina, 21-19, 21-16.

Holtwick and Semmler also won three matches, topping No. 17 Melissa Humana-Paredes of Canada, 21-11, 21-17, and Olympians Barbora Hermannova and Market Slukova of Czecj republic, 21-17, 21-16, before taking out their fellow Germans.

Laboreur and Sude quietly went about their business after winning their pool on Thursday. They knocked out Maria Antonelli/Liliane Maestrini of Brazil, 21-18, 21-16, then ended the surprising run of Japan’s Miki Ishii and Megumi Murakami, 21-13, 21-16.
In only their fourth FIVB World Tour event, Ishii and Murakami had a three-match win streak, which included a victory over Olympians Jantine van der Vlist and Sophie Van Gestel of the Netherlands, 21-18, 21-18, followed by their upset of No. 4 Eduarda Lisboa/Elize Maia in a marathon, 31-29, 24-26, 19-17, in a match that lasted 1 hour, 6 minutes.

The Japanese duo had a previous record of 3-5 in their previous three FIVB events and were playing in the main draw of a tournament for only the second time.

While this is the fourth consecutive year that the FIVB World Tour has stopped in Long Beach, Calif., the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball featuring the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam is the 22nd men’s event of the season and 19th women’s event on the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour that started with three events at the end of 2015.

The gold medal teams at the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam will split $57,000 and 800 points, the silver $43,000 and 720 points, the bronze $32,000 and 640 points and fourth place $24,000 and 560 points.

Following the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, there are two more events scheduled on the 2016 FIVB World Tour calendar. First event scheduled is in the United States--the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball at the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam (Aug. 23-28) and the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals (Sept. 13-18, Toronto, Canada). The Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals, with $100,000 going to each winning team, will feature the top eight point leaders in each gender from the current FIVB World Tour plus four wild card teams in each gender.

The ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball at the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam in the United States is the 350th men’s tournament since the FIVB began play in 1987 and the 311th FIVB women’s tournament since their competition started in 1992.

FIVB 2016
Based in Lausanne, Switzerland as the international governing body for the Olympic sports of Beach Volleyball and Volleyball, the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball calendar features a purse of US$8.25 million with a season that extends from last October to this October, competing at 22 venues in 12 countries. The schedule includes four FIVB Grand Slams, four Swatch FIVB Major Series events, 13 FIVB Opens and the special Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals. The showcase event will be the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil (Aug. 6-18).

The 2015 portion of the 2016 FIVB World Tour calendar started in October in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and included two more open events prior to the remainder of the schedule resuming at the FIVB Kish Island Open in Iran in February.


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