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Walsh Jennings/Ross Place Second in FIVB Tourney

Aug 24, 2015 08:54AM ● By DigMB Staff

Kerri Walsh Jennings sets the ball against the Brazilian duo of

America's best women's beach volleyball duo fell to a tough Brazilian team Sunday in Long Beach in the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball.

Manhattan Beach resident Kerri Walsh Jennings and Costa Mesan April Ross, reuniting for the first time after a shoulder injury sidelined Walsh Jennings in mid-July, went down 21-18 and 21-16 against Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca. It was the fourth time this season and the eighth time in the past 13 months the duo claimed a title at an FIVB World Tour event. 

Seeded second in the 32-team Main Draw for the 11th women’s event on the 2015 FIVB World Tour calendar, Talita and Larissa won in 54 minutes over the eighth-seeded Ross and Walsh Jennings, the event’s defending champions. 

The contest was the first meeting between the two teams on the FIVB World Tour--Talita and Larissa formed their partnership last July in the same tourney, taking ninth place last summer.  They then ended the 2014 season by winning four straight gold medals in Austria, Poland, Brazil, and Argentina before topping podiums this season in Russia, Croatia, and Switzerland.

The women’s title match was also the 91st-time that Brazil and the United States had vied for a FIVB World Tour gold medal with Brazil adding their 41st victory in the head-to-head meetings.  The last meeting title meeting between the two countries was the 2014 Long Beach gold medal match when Ross and Walsh Jennings defeated Agatha and Barbara.

In posting their best finish this season, Ross and Walsh Jennings split the $42,000 first-place prize. The Americans were playing in their first FIVB World Tour events since mid-July when Walsh Jennings dislocated her right shoulder for the second time this season in the Gstaad Major in Switzerland. Her first dislocation occurred at the Russian Grand Slam in Moscow at the end of May.

The ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball was the second of two events in the United States this season that are part of the qualifying process for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The first 2015 American Olympic qualifier was held in mid-June at St. Petersburg, FL. Prior to the St. Petersburg Grand Slam, the last Olympic Beach Volleyball qualifying event in the United States was staged in September 2003 in Carson, CA.

Following the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, the final Grand Slam event on the 2015 FIVB World Tour will be played August 25-30 in Olsztyn, Poland.  The “test” event for the Rio 2016 Olympics will be staged on September 2-6 at exactly the same location for the Summer Games’ Beach Volleyball competition on Copacabana Beach.

Prior to returning to the United States for the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale, FL (September 29-October 4), the international circuit will stage “open” tournaments in Russia (Sochi, September 8-13) and China (Xiamen, September 22-27).

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