COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA’s beach volleyball athletes wrapped a busy week and continue on the FIVB and NORCECA tours in international lands in the coming days.
Americans earned a pair of podium finishes in Xiamen, China, with John Hyden and Tri Bourne closing the Rio Olympic qualification gap by picking up a silver medal. April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings earned their third consecutive medal, bronze, and moved up three spots in provisional Olympic rankings.
The next opportunity for countries to earn quota spots to the 2016 Olympic Games is via the FIVB Olympic rankings, which closes on June 13. For the United States, there are three teams in each gender that rank within the Top 15 and all the teams are currently vying to be one of the top two in the U.S. to claim a coveted quota spot.
|8||Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross||10||4,790||5||Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson||14||5,120|
|t13||Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat||15||4,330||13||Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena||9||4,580|
|t15||Jennifer Kessy/Emily Day||16||3,980||t14||John Hyden/Tri Bourne||14||4,510|
After the Xiamen Open last week, and only one American men’s team in attendance, there weren’t many changes in the men’s provisional Olympic rankings. Hyden and Bourne’s second-place finish yielded them a 270 net point gain, boosting them from t-16th last week to t-14th as of April 18. The pair still trail U.S. leaders Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson and Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena, but the medal performance closed the gap to only 70-points back.
Ross and Walsh Jennings’ bronze in Xiamen assisted the pair from their ranking of 11th on April 4, to eighth heading into the week. The duo have 10 events, needing only two more to meet the Olympic qualification minimum, with seven events remaining before the cutoff.
Jennifer Kessy and Emily Day needed a ninth-or-better finish to improve their point standing, which they got but the pair remains locked for a tie at 15th. Second ranked Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat dropped in the rankings from 12 to 13 after failing to make it out of pool play and improve their net point gain.
Teams must have 12 events to qualify. After they’ve amassed the minimum, they keep their 12 best finishes and drop any lower finish outside of that. To gain in points after dropping a lower finish, points are calculated as a net change. Of the top three U.S. teams in both genders that do not have 12, Walsh Jennings and Ross have 10 and Dalhausser and Lucena have nine.
ROUND TWO IN CHINA
Additional American teams are making the flight to Fuzhou, China, for the second tournament in the country. Dalhausser and Lucena will play in their 10th event, seeded first overall. Also in the main draw are last week’s silver medalists, Hyden/Bourne. In qualification, Mark Burik and Ian Satterfield.
The same five women’s teams from Xiamen will compete in the Fuzhou Open. Ross/Walsh Jennings are seeded No. 1, closely behind at third are Fendrick/Sweat and 10th are Kessy/Day. In qualification are Jennifer Fopma/Brittany Hochevar and Lane Carico/Summer Ross.
U.S. WOMEN STRONG IN COSTA RICA ON NORCECA TOUR
Ali McColloch and Kelly Reeves won their second gold of 2016, in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The podium finish was their fourth of the year.
Betsi Flint and Kelley Larsen won bronze in their first NORCECA showing of the season. Also in their first showing of the Tour, Spencer McLachlin/Miles Evans made it to the bronze medal match but ultimately placed fourth. Michael Boag and Hawk Hatcher finished fifth.
WEEK IN REVIEW
FIVB Xiamen Open
– John Hyden/Tri Bourne won silver, their second medal of Olympic qualification
– April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings won bronze, their fifth medal of Olympic qualification and third consecutive
– Jennifer Kessy/Emily Day finished ninth
– Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat, Jennifer Fopma/Brittany Hochevar, Lane Carico/Summer Ross tied for 25th
– Kelly Reeves/Ali McColloch won gold, their second NORCECA gold of 2016 (Guatemala City)
– Betsi Flint/Kelley Larsen won bronze in their first tournament of the Tour
– Spencer McLachlin/Miles Evans finished fourth; Michael Boag/Hawk Hatcher finished fifth
AVP New Orleans
– Kendra Vanzwieten/Kimberly DiCello won gold, the first AVP win for both; Ryan Doherty/John Mayer won,
– Ryan Doherty/John Mayer won gold, their second AVP gold together (2015 Seattle)
– Finishing second: Angela Bensend/Geena Urango; Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson
– Tying for third: Jenny Kropp/Misty May-Treanor and Amanda Dowdy/Emily Stockman; Taylor Crabb/Trevor Crabb; Mark Burik/Russ Marchewka
April 19-24 Fuzhou Open
April 26-May 1 Fortaleza Open
May 3-8 Sochi Open
May 5-8 AVP Huntington Beach Open
May 10-15 Antalya Open
May 11-16 U21 World Championships
May 17-22 Cincinnati Open
May 20-22 NVL Port St. Lucie
May 24-29 Moscow Grand Slam
June 2-5 AVP Seattle
June 7-12 Hamburg Grand Slam
June 14-19 Olsztyn Grand Slam
June 16-19 AVP New York City
June 24-26 NVL San Antonio
June 28-July 3 Porec Major