COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – April Ross and Lauren Fendrick earned the silver medal at the 2017 FIVB Beach World Championships in a packed stadium from Vienna, Austria.

Lauren Fendrick posted her career best finish in FIVB competition with a silver medal with partner April Ross at the FIVB Beach World Championships, on Saturday. Ross and Fendrick took second place after falling to 2016 Olympic Champions, Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst from Germany, 19-21, 21-13, 15-9 in the gold medal match.

“I’ve always thought we had this potential,” Ross said to the FIVB after the match. “We could have played better in the final. With the help of our coach Jon (Daze), we were real diligent in what we needed to do and followed the game plan well and used our strengths.”

The first set teeter-tottered between an American and German lead. Ross/Fendrick pulled ahead at a technical break, 12-10, but Ludwig/Walkenhorst rallied back to tie it 13-all shortly later. Germany pulled ahead by one 16-15, but it was short lived after a serving error evened it up once again.

The turning point came after back-to-back service errors, first the U.S. then Germany, but with an ace by Ross at set point, the U.S. ended it in a timely manner, 21-19.

At the start of the second set, play was even yet again, at 3-3. Germany picked up the next four points to build a cushion at a 7-3 advantage. Ross got her third ace, 10-6, to briefly halt the German streak, but Ludwig/Walkenhorst answered to lead 13-6. The Germans stole the momentum and won the set 21-13 to send the match into a third and final deciding frame.

“Hats off to the Germans, it was a really tough match,” said Fendrick. “They started serving more strategically and got us a little bit more out of rhythm. We kept coming out of the middle, which I’m sure was part of their game plan. We did start the middle late in the second and they capitalized on that. They were touching everything on defense.”

An April Ross ace in the third set gave the USA a quick 3-1 lead, but shortly after a failed U.S. challenge on a four-touch call sent the game into a tie at 3-all. Ludwig and Walkenhorst gained the upper hand, going ahead 7-5. Ross and Fendrick tied it at 7-7, but Germany was first to double digits, responding with a 10-7 lead.

In the final points of the match, Ross and Fendrick were unable to rally back from the deficit, falling 15-9.

“I see so much more potential and I know we can play better, especially in that final,” Fendrick said. “But to be up here on this podium, with these players, is pretty special. It’s some amazing company and I’m stoked that April took a chance on me.”

“The amount we improved in this tournament is big, but where we got to, I knew that we could get to, if that makes sense,” added Ross. “I wish we would have played a little better, but I’m going to come away thinking this was a really good experience.”

Earlier in the day, Brazil’s Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes won the bronze medal against Canada’s Sarah Pavan/Melissa Humana-Paredes 21-12, 16-21, 18-16.

Team USA standings:
2nd Fendrick/Ross, the first career FIVB medal for Fendrick and the second World Champs podium finish for Ross
T5th Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena, eliminated by Russia in the quarterfinal

T5th Brooke Sweat/Summer Ross, lost to Germany in the quarterfinal
T9th Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes, eliminated by Germany in the Round of 16
T17th Emily Day/Nicole Branagh, lost to Lauren Fendrick/April Ross in the Round of 32
T17thCasey Patterson/Theo Brunner, eliminated by Austria in the Round of 32
T17th Jake Gibb/Taylor Crabb, lost to Australia in the Round of 32
T17th John Hyden/Ryan Doherty, fell to Latvia in three sets in the Round of 32

2017 FIVB Beach World Championships roster
Athletes    Coach Entry
Brooke SweatSummer RossMain Draw
Lauren FendrickApril RossJon DazeMain Draw
Kelly ClaesSara HughesJose LoiolaMain Draw
Emily DayNicole BranaghMarcio SicoliMain Draw
Phil DalhausserNick LucenaJason LochheadMain Draw
Casey PattersonTheo BrunnerRich LambourneMain Draw
Jake GibbTaylor CrabbMarcio SicoliMain Draw
John HydenRyan DohertyTy TramblieMain Draw
Sean ScottTeam Lead/Video
Aimee MiyazawaUSAV Beach Head Athletic Trainer
Anthony DarmientoUSAV Strength and Conditioning
Kevin PierceSports Medicine, DC DACBSP
Elmo AgatepTeam Doctor, M.D.
Tyler WiddisonScout