COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Only one tournament remains on the FIVB World Tour in Olympic qualification as USA beach volleyball athletes take a quick recess before heading to Germany.
At last week’s Moscow Grand Slam, the United States secured both of its men’s quota spots for the 2016 Olympic Games. With next week closing out the World Tour events for qualification, the U.S. will try to lock up its second women’s spot for the Games at the Hamburg Major, June 7-12.
Contenders to clinch the USA’s second berth are Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat (15th in rankings, 4,470 points) and Jennifer Kessy and Emily Day (18th in rankings, 3,980 points). As teams clinch the U.S. quota spots, they use their rankings on the FIVB World Tour between 2015-16’s seasons to improve their pool seeding at the Games.
With three consecutive gold medals, once the rankings close on June 13, April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings are projected to be the third seed. Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena moved up in the rankings to the No. 5 spot, surpassing Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson, who are sixth.
With the rankings coming to a close on June 13, USA Volleyball will name its official 2016 beach Olympic teams and athletes in the days soon after.
|3||Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross||13||6,350||5||Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena||12||5,720|
|15||Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat||18||4,470||6||Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson||17||5,500|
|18||Jennifer Kessy/Emily Day||21||3,980||t13||John Hyden/Tri Bourne||19||4,850|
The Olympic qualification process began in 2015 when the FIVB World Tour events started counting toward provisional Olympic rankings. Teams needed 12 minimum events with their partner, to be ranked in the Top 15 of the rankings (excluding the host country and World Championships winners), and one of the top two teams in their country.
Once satisfying those requirements, teams will have approximately two months before the Olympic Games begin, beach volleyball running from Aug. 5 to 21. U.S. athletes will continue to play World Tour events in that time frame, against many of the international competition they will face at the Olympics.
FINAL FIVB WORLD TOUR EVENT IN OLYMPIC QUALIFICATION GOES TO GERMANY
In Hamburg, the U.S. will send four men’s teams and four women’s. Dalhausser/Lucena, Gibb/Patterson are joined by John Hyden/Tri Bourne and Billy Allen/Theo Brunner. Ross/Walsh Jennings, Fendrick/Sweat, Kessy/Day are joined by Amanda Dowdy/Emily Stockman.
The Major offers Grand Slam points, which will allow high finishes on the American side to open the door for movement on who will be the top and second ranked teams in the final tournament counting toward the provisional Olympic rankings.
VOTE FOR APRIL ROSS AND KERRI WALSH JENNINGS FOR TEAM USA MAY TEAM OF THE MONTH
Winners of two gold medals in the month of May, April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings are finalists for the Team USA Team of the Month award. Fans can vote for the two online, at awards.teamusa.org, until June 6.
Ross and Walsh Jennings are currently the top ranked U.S. women’s team in the provisional Olympic rankings and rank third in the same rankings against all teams – trailing only Brazil. The duo pulled a first in the month of May, beating the World Champs and No. 1 ranked Brazilian team, in Moscow for gold. Ross and Walsh Jennings had met them previously on two occasions and this was the first time for the USA to bring home the victory. Many have deemed that the match-up could be a possible medal match at the Olympics, though the U.S. trails in the series 2-1, the recent victory proves the Ross/Walsh Jennings are up to the job should the occasion present itself in August.
AVP TOUR GOES TO SEATTLE AREA
The fourth stop of the 2016 AVP Tour will head to the Seattle area at Lake Sammamish State Park from June 2-5. The main draw begins on Friday, June 3, with the medal rounds being played on Sunday and will air on NBC Sports Network, Sunday, June 5 from 1-3:30 p.m. PT.
JUNIOR BEACH TOUR ADDS QUEEN OF THE BEACH INVITATIONAL
The 2016 Junior Beach Tour will include the Queen of the Beach tournament from June 24-26 in Hermosa Beach, Calif. It is the first year that USA Volleyball’s JBT will include the event, which is a tournament for high school and collegiate women.
Learn more about the Queen of the Beach tournament here.
FIVB WORLD TOUR WILL RETURN TO THE USA IN AUGUST
Following the Olympics in August, the FIVB World Tour will return to the United States for the Long Beach Grand Slam (World Series of Beach Volleyball) starting Aug. 23. It is expected to draw the four American Olympic teams, as well as a large contingent from other countries.
Learn more about the next World Tour event in the U.S., here.
WEEK IN REVIEW
FIVB Moscow Grand Slam
– Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross won their third consecutive gold, fourth in Olympic qualification
– Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson finished fourth, their best finish since the Olsztyn Grand Slam (Aug. 30); duo satisfied their requirements for Olympic qualification
– John Hyden/Tri Bourne tied for 9th, their sixth consecutive Top 10 finish
– Tied for 17th: Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena finished 17th (duo satisfied their requirements for Olympic qualification); Jennifer Kessy/Emily Day; Lane Carico/Summer Ross tied for 17th
– Tied for 25th: Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat
– Eliminated in qualification: Ryan Doherty/John Mayer; Kimberly DiCello/Kendra Vanzwieten
June 2-5 AVP Seattle
June 7-12 Hamburg Major
June 13 provisional Olympic rankings close, next chance for countries to earn quota spots
June 14-19 Olsztyn Grand Slam
June 16-19 AVP New York City
June 23-25 NVL San Antonio
June 28-July 3 Porec Major
July 1-3 NORCECA North Bay
July 9 *Tentative* announcement of Olympic pool placements