COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Men’s beach volleyball teams continue the FIVB World Tour with this week’s Doha Open in Qatar. Action for both genders will then head to a two-tournament swing through China.

Three American teams made the trip to Doha, top ranking Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson, seeded first at the tournament, and sixth-seed Tri Bourne/John Hyden. Mark Burik and Ian Satterfield were knocked out in the opening round of qualification on Monday afternoon. It marks the first tournament back for John Hyden with Tri Bourne, since Hyden sustained a back injury in Maceio, Brazil in early March.

Last time the U.S. played in Doha was in November, also part of the 2016 World Tour. Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena won silver, Hyden and Bourne earned bronze.

This time around, teams look to improve on their 12-best finishes for Olympic ranking, or to meet the 12 needed events. Gibb and Patterson need to finish fifth or better to improve their rankings. As the third ranked U.S. team, Hyden and Bourne need to finish ninth or better to improve in the rankings. They trail Dalhausser and Lucena by 340 points.

Provisional Olympic Rankings | As of April 4, 2016
 Women EventsPoints  Men EventsPoints
11Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross 4,390 5Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson 13 5,060
12 Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat 144,330 13Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena 94,580
t15 Jennifer Kessy/Emily Day 153,920 t16John Hyden/Tri Bourne 124,240

While the men start back up this week at the men’s only Doha Open, the women will return in China for the dual gender Xiamen Open, April 12-17. Teams will stay in China as they make the short trip to Fuzhou, for the Open, April 19-24. At the Xiamen Open, Ross/Walsh Jennings will gain 120 points on their first serve due to their high seeding. Fendrick/Sweat need to finish ninth or better to improve their point total in provisional Olympic rankings. Trailing behind them by 410 points, Kessy/Day also need to finish ninth or better to improve their point total.

Seven collegiate teams will compete at the annual Beach Collegiate Challenge this weekend in Hermosa Beach, Calif. Four of the schools attending are in the Top 10 of the AVCA Coaches rankings, led by No. 1 Pepperdine and 2015 champions and second-ranked USC. Fifth-ranked UCLA and No. 7 Long Beach State will also be joined in the tournament by Concordia, Loyola Marymount and San Francisco.

Play begins with each school playing in two duals on Saturday, followed by a pair’s bracket that concludes on Sunday.

All four teams that competed in the second stop of the NORCECA Continental Tour reached the podium in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico last weekend. Kimberly DiCello and Kendra Vanzwieten earned their first gold of the season and were joined on the podium with third-place finishes Kelly Reeves and Ali McColloch. Billy Allen and Stafford Slick finished with their second medal of the season, silver, after edging the previously unbeaten Taylor and Trevor Crabb in the semifinals. The Crabb brothers earned bronze after defeating the host nation in the third-place match.

It was the first time since Sept. 13, 2015, that a U.S. men’s team didn’t win gold on the NORCECA Continental Tour. In 2015, the U.S. women won gold at six tournaments, only dropping to silver at the seventh and final event. American women have won back-to-back gold in 2016.

This week April Ross, a Team USA Team for Tomorrow athlete ambassador, will visit the Girls, Inc., of Orange County in Costa Mesa, Calif. Her visit on Wednesday, April 6, will see the 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist speak about the importance of living an active and healthy lifestyle. Ross will share her story of determination and commitment to return to the podium at the 2016 Olympics. Following the presentation, Ross and participants will interact in various physical activities.

“I’m honored to have been selected as an athlete ambassador for the 2016 Team for Tomorrow program and am thrilled to be visiting Girls, Inc., in my hometown of Costa Mesa,” said April Ross, Olympic silver medalist in women’s beach volleyball. “Beyond competing in the Games, something I really look forward to is to giving back to the community whenever I can. Team for Tomorrow has given my fellow ambassadors and I the opportunity to spread awareness about the importance of being active and living healthy, while also having some fun!”

NORCECA Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico
– Kimberly DiCello/Kendra Vanzwieten won gold, their third together as a team
– Billy Allen/Stafford Slick won silver, their second medal of 2016
– Kelly Reeves/Ali McColloch finished third, their second medal of 2016
– Trevor Crabb/Taylor Crabb finished with bronze, their third medal together


April 4-8 Doha Open (Men only)
April 12-17 Xiamen Open
April 14-17 AVP New Orleans
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

Related Links
NORCECA DiCello and Vanzwieten win gold medals in Guaymas

NORCECA Sergio and Nivaldo debut with victory in 2016
FIVB Copacabana chase continues

FIVB Doha Dreams – improved Olympic rankings

The Beach Reporter Kerri Walsh Jennings focused on Road to Rio and fourth Olympic gold medal