COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 28, 2019) – Beach volleyball player April Ross describes the 2017 season as “motivation.”

“When the season ended, I could not wait to get in the gym and on the court,” she said. “I needed to train. I needed to get really strong again.”

There were certainly highs for Ross in 2017. She and partner Lauren Fendrick took silver at the FIVB World Championships and at the Long Beach Presidents Cup. She also won twice on the AVP Tour; once in Austin with Whitney Pavlik and in New York with Fendrick.

There were lows too; a highly publicized split with Kerri Walsh Jennings and a broken toe suffered at the New York AVP event were among the challenges Ross had to meet.

With perseverance and grit, Ross made it through 2017 and has been named USAV’s Female Beach Athlete of the Year for the fifth year in a row and the seventh time in her career.

“The season was very stop and go,” said Ross, 35. “With the lack of consistency, I never felt in shape. It was a struggle. That’s why this award means even more. I tried to make the best of the season.”

Ross points to the performance at the World Championships in Vienna as the high point of the season.

“It was the highlight for two reasons,” she said. “Because of how we did and because that is what I had my eye on the whole summer.

“The way Lauren and I approached it and how diligent we were in executing our game plan. It meant a lot to me.”

Winning the New York AVP event with a broken toe suffered during the semifinals was another high point for Ross, although it led to her having to take a three-week break from playing.

“I landed on Lauren after I hit,” Ross said. “I had never broken a bone before, so I didn’t think it was broken. I thought it was dislocated.”

Ross and Fendrick had to play Summer Ross and Brooke Sweat in the final.

“I remember how big Lauren stepped up,” she said. “We did whatever we had to do to pull out that win. It’s one of the most memorable moments of my career.”

With 2017 almost over, Ross is more than ready to embrace the future, which will include playing with beach novice Alix Klineman in 2018. The team will make its debut at the FIVB World Tour four-star event in The Hague, Netherlands on Jan. 3-7 so they can start accumulating points toward 2020 Olympic qualification.

“I am excited to see what we can do,” Ross said. “She’s extremely fast. For being 6-foot-5, she moves really quickly. Our philosophy is going to be to go after every ball. So that’s fun.”

USA Volleyball Female Beach Player of the Year
2017: April Ross
2016: April Ross
2015: April Ross
2014: April Ross
2013: April Ross
2012: Misty May-Treanor
2011: April Ross
2010: Summer Ross
2009: April Ross
2008: Misty May-Treanor
2007: Misty May-Treanor