RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil. – The first FIVB World Tour Grand Slam of the calendar year began Monday with country quota play. Major points are on the line as 10 American teams continue in the action.

Teams take to the court set up on the beach of Copacabana, the location of the 2016 Olympic site. The top American men’s team in FIVB rankings, Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson, makes their debut of the season this week, along with Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross.

In a rare twist, the U.S. was the only country participating in the country quota. On Monday, Derek Olson/Jeremy Casebeer topped Ryan Doherty/John Mayer 21-14, 21-16. In the women’s quota match, Summer Ross/Lane Carico edged past Jennifer Fopma/Brittany Hochevar, 22-20, 21-18. Both teams advance to play in qualification matches on Tuesday.

Due to the preliminary round of the qualifier, Doherty/Mayer also advanced with a “lucky loser” berth. Tri Bourne will be partnered with Mark Burik due to a back injury that sidelined his regular partner John Hyden. Bourne and Burik will begin play in the qualification round.

The main draw of pool play starts Wednesday, concluding with the medal rounds on Sunday.

Already qualified for the main draw are: No. 9 Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat, Jennifer Kessy/Emily Day, No. 8 Walsh/Ross; Theo Brunner/Sean Rosenthal, No. 3 Gibb/Patterson and No. 6 Nick Lucena/Phil Dalhausser.

Provisional Olympic Rankings | As of Feb. 29, 2016
12 – Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat6 – Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson
15 – Jennifer Kessy/Emily Day9 – John Hyden/Tri Bourne
22 – April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings14 – Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena

A trip that began two weeks ago in Maceio, Brazil is now in Rio de Janeiro and will conclude March 15-20 at the Vitoria Open. The four-week, three tournament trip features three of the four World Tour events that will be played in Brazil during Olympic qualification. The fourth is the Fortaleza Open at the end of April.

The U17 Championships that were scheduled to take place in Brazil have been canceled. The USAV Beach High Performance staff is looking into the possibility of securing another international competition for U17 athletes to compete at.

Karla Solum was named the 2015 Medical Provider of the Year. Solum is a chiropractor based out of Minnesota and contributed in providing care with athletes at FIVB World Tour events and several AVP tournaments during the year.

“The Provider of the Year award is given to the person who goes above and beyond for our athletes and provides exceptional care,” said Aimee Miyazawa, the Head Athletic Trainer for the Beach National Teams. “Karla has the respect of our athletes and has proven to be an integral asset to the care we provide at FIVB World Tour events and High Performance camps. Never one to pass on the opportunity to work our beach volleyball events, we are proud to name Karla as the Provider of the Year.”


March 8-13 Rio Grand Slam
March 15-20 Vitoria Open
April 4-8 Doha Open (Men only)
April 12-17 Xiamen Open
April 19-24 Fuzhou Open
April 26-May 1 Fortaleza Open

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