COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA’s lone women’s team at the FIVB World Tour Finals tied for fifth after falling to the Olympic champions in the quarterfinals.
Marking just the second time in 2016 the pair did not medal, April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings were eliminated by Germany’s Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst 21-18, 19-21, 15-11 in Friday’s quarterfinal match.
The World Tour Finals is an abbreviated tournament with only 12 teams per gender playing. In pool play, with three teams broken into four pools, Ross and Walsh Jennings defeated two foes they met while at the Olympic Games.
First up for the Americans were Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy from Australia, winning 21-13, 21-12 to improve their series record to 6-0. Only hours later they notched another win, this time against Switzerland’s Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre, 27-25, 21-19.
With 10 of the 12 women’s teams in play having played at the 2016 Olympic Games, it was not surprising for the duo to match up against teams they faced down in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Going 2-0 in pool play afforded Ross/Walsh Jennings an automatic bid to the quarterfinals where they awaited the outcome of Ludwig/Walkenhorst versus Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson, who were making their team debut. The Germans did not disappoint, winning the match in three sets to pit the top two women’s seeds against each other.
In head-to-head matches, one-seeded Ross and Walsh Jennings owned the series 5-1 heading into Friday’s match. Unfortunately for the U.S., the Germans jumped to win the first set 21-18 and despite Ross and Walsh Jennings winning the second 19-21, the Olympic gold medalists won the 53-minute match in the third frame by score of 15-11.
The last time Ross and Walsh Jennings were eliminated before earning a medal was at the Hamburg Major on June 11, where they finished fourth, which was also their only other loss to Ludwig/Walkenhorst.
The U.S. has two men’s teams at the World Tour Finals, John Hyden/Tri Bourne and Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena. The two teams will play each other at 4:45 p.m. ET on Saturday in one of the men’s quarterfinal matches.
WEEK IN REVIEW
World Tour Finals
– April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings tied for fifth, only the second time in 2016 the duo did not medal at an FIVB event
– Still to play on Sept. 17, John Hyden/Tri Bourne will face Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena in the quarterfinals
Oct. 14-16 NORCECA St. Lucia
Nov. 25-27 NORCECA Trinidad & Tobago
FIVB High stakes on Polson Pier Saturday