RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – In their fifth win of the 2016 Olympic Games, April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings topped Australia to lock up a spot in Tuesday’s semifinal round.
The third-seeded Ross and Walsh Jennings beat their second Australia team of the games, Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy, 21-14, 21-16 in yet another midnight match.
Ross and Walsh Jennings have played four midnight matches thus far, and their matchup against No. 2 Barbara Seixas/Agatha Bednarczuk on Aug. 16 will be the fifth. They have played the most midnight matches of any team in either gender, the most any other pair has played at midnight has been one. It will also mark the first time a Brazilian team will play in the nightcap.
“We respect Agatha and Barbara so much, we always have,” said Walsh Jennings. “We’re going to bring our ‘A’ game. We’re going to give it our best.”
The meeting of the undefeated teams, 4-0, saw back-and-forth action in the opening frame. The U.S. got its first lead at the 9-8 mark and gained a bit of breathing room at 16-11. Hustle and heads up play closed the set for Ross and Walsh Jennings at 21-14.
After going into a quick 6-3 lead that forced Australia to take a timeout, the Aussies battled back in the second to rally at 11-10. Ross and Walsh Jennings didn’t let up, pounding through plays to get to 19-14 and winning the set and match 21-16.
Loving this @kerrileewalsh and @AprilRossBeach beach volleyball match. #killingit #teamusa
— Carli Lloyd (@CarliLloyd) August 15, 2016
Ross and Walsh Jennings have won the last two meetings against Agatha/Barbara, their last meeting was July of 2015 in Switzerland and before that in Long Beach, Calif., in 2014 for gold at the Long Beach Grand Slam. The Americans lead the series 3-1.
“Two more matches to go,” said Walsh Jennings. “One at a time. Our eyes are clear. We won’t be put off.”
The win, which concluded in the early minutes of Aug. 15, also rung in Walsh Jennings’ 38th birthday. Following the match, the audience of 8,000-plus spectators sang Happy Birthday to the three-time gold medalist.
“That was a unique experience and I loved it.”
For the U.S. men, Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena face Brazil’s lone men’s team standing, Alison Cerutti/Bruno Schmidt at 3 p.m. ET on Monday.
DAY IN REVIEW
2016 Olympic Games | Aug. 14
– April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings beat their second Australian opponent of the Olympics, 21-14, 21-16 against Bawden/Clancy in the quarterfinal. The pair are now 149-26 all-time together and against the Olympic field they are 58-14.
Aug. 15, 3 p.m. ET Quarterfinal Dalhausser/Lucena vs Brazil
Aug. 16, 11 p.m. ET Semifinal Ross/Walsh Jennings vs Brazil
Aug. 6, Gibb/Patterson def Qatar 21-16, 21-16
Aug. 6, Ross/Walsh Jennings def Australia 21-14, 21-13
Aug. 7, Fendrick/Sweat loss Poland 14-21, 21-13, 15-7
Aug. 7, Dalhausser/Lucena def Tunisia 21-7, 21-13
Aug. 8, Gibb/Patterson loss Austria 21-18, 21-18
Aug. 8, Ross/Walsh Jennings def China 21-16, 21-9
Aug. 9, Dalhausser/Lucena def Mexico 21-14, 21-17
Aug. 9, Fendrick/Sweat loss Brazil 21-16, 21-13
Aug. 10, Gibb/Patterson loss Spain 21-19, 16-21, 15-7
Aug. 10, Ross/Walsh Jennings def Switzerland 21-13, 22-24, 15-12
Aug. 11, Fendrick/Sweat loss Russia 21-18, 24-26, 15-13
Aug. 11, Dalhausser/Lucena def Italy 21-13, 17-21, 24-22
Aug. 12, Ross/Walsh Jennings def Italy 21-10, 21-16; Round of 16
Aug. 13, Dalhausser/Lucena def Austria 21-14, 21-15; Round of 16
Aug. 14, Ross/Walsh Jennings def Australia 21-14, 21-16; Quarterfinal