RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings continue their winning ways after moving past Switzerland in a three-match thriller on Wednesday night. The duo won their pool, 3-0, and now await the drawing for bracket play that begins on Aug. 12.
Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson met an unfortunate end to their Olympic run after falling to Spain on Wednesday, only to be eliminated by point differential following the conclusion of the other match in their pool. They finished 1-2 to tie for 19th.
ROSS/WALSH JENNINGS DEF SWITZERLAND | 21-13, 22-24, 15-12
It marked their third match of pool play and a chance to reserve their spot in the Round of 16. April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings did just that, beating Switzerland’s Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre in three, their fourth win against the pair.
USA opened with a fast 8-2 lead and cut through the first set with a dominating 21-13 score. In the second, Ross/Walsh Jennings trailed at moments in the beginning before tying it 11-all. The score would get knotted up again late in the frame, at 19-19, 20-20 with the Swiss able to walk off with it 24-22.
“It was a little disappointing in the fact that I had a swing to take the lead in game two, we had a great rally and I hit that out and there was no way I needed to hit that 10 feet out,” Walsh Jennings said. “We would have won that game if we had not done stuff like that.”
“I think they played great,” added Ross. “They changed some things and played great in the second and it took us way too long to adjust and figure it out.”
Once again the U.S. saw itself trailing, this time 4-3 in the third. It didn’t last long however, when they tied it at 9-9. At 10-9 Ross and Walsh Jennings led but the point was immediately followed by a medical timeout for Forrer. Following a brief delay and Forrer returning to the sand, the American duo closed the match, 15-12.
“When the momentum was shifting, I heard USA chants,” said Walsh Jennings. “I heard my dad say, ‘Be aggressive. Get a block.’ I nodded my head. Yeah, it’s pretty special out there.”
Ross and Walsh Jennings now await the drawing of one of the top two third ranked teams in pool play as their opponent. They are seeded on the same side of the bracket as Pool F winner Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy of Australia and Pool B winner Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez of Spain. They own a 4-0 record against the Aussies and are 3-0 against Spain.
GIBB/PATTERSON LOSS SPAIN | 21-19, 16-21, 15-7
Heading into their third match of pool play, Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson were 1-1 and tied with the three other teams in Pool F. A win against Spain would guarantee them one more match and possibly the elimination round, due to how teams advance out of pool play. First based on match points, then by set ratio amongst the pool. Following Gibb and Patterson’s loss to Spain, the pair were still in contention for a berth in the elimination rounds.
The duo looked strong when they started the first set, leading 9-8 and then 17-15. Spain rallied on a 6-2 streak though, to claim the first set 21-19.
Three consecutive aces in the second set saw the U.S. once again jump to an early lead, 7-5. The duo remained in control, using a pair of blocks by Gibb to move ahead 16-12 and equalize the match by getting the set, 21-16.
In the third and deciding set for safety in the pool, the U.S. trailed 5-3 before a joust play was challenged by Spain for four touches, the point was overturned and the momentum shifted by Spain who in turn went up 6-2.
“As soon as they challenged the four touches, we didn’t understand what they were challenging,” said Patterson. “I asked the ref what they were challenging and he said four touches.”
When Gibb was asked about the call being challengeable, the three-time Olympian said, “First of all I thought it was a joust and we should have four contacts after that. Any time you hit the ball with somebody at the same time, it’s a joust. I thought it was a bad call, but we didn’t lose the match because of that. That’s one call.”
Following the challenge, Spain extended their lead to 10-4 and clinched the match at 15-7.
“We fought that’s what we do,” said Gibb. “That’s what this team does; it’s what we’ve done for four years together. We gave everything we had and it totally blows that we have to sit here and watch this next match to see if we’re still alive in this tournament.”
In the match following theirs, Gibb and Patterson awaited the results of Qatar versus Austria. All teams had a 1-1 record going into the day, the U.S. led in pool rankings over Qatar and needed Austria to win the match in order to remain the top three of the pool in order to advance. With Qatar winning, it moved Qatar to second in the pool by set ratio (1.000) and in point ratio for the two-way tie between USA and Austria at 1-2 records, the USA (0.992) fell behind Austria (1,036) and were eliminated from competition.
“A joust is a play that happens once or twice a match, almost every match. A joust, play it out and go,” explained Patterson. “All everyone saw was Jake touching the ball. The issue was it was a joust and it shouldn’t have been an opportunity to challenge that play. Of course he touched the ball, he jousted then covered it.
“You’re taking away the human experience that’s been built up over years with these referees where they’ve watched the game and you’re relying on a camera that is irrelevant to the call being made. Somehow now we’re challenging a routine play that the referees are very good at making. We’ve never had an issue with that. It was frustrating that the referee thought it was a joust but when Spain challenged, it had to go to the camera and it was out of the referees hands. It wasn’t that call that decided the game, but it did disrupt our momentum and gave them that much more of a lead when every point counts.”
On Aug. 11, Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat play Russia at 2:30 p.m. ET. Fendrick and Sweat are 0-2 and need a win against Russia to ensure a spot in the lucky loser round. Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena play Italy at 3:30 p.m. ET. Dalhausser and Lucena lead the series 2-1, winning the last matchup on July 9 in Switzerland. The USA men currently lead their pool 2-0.
ABOUT POOL PLAY
After pool play, the top two teams in the pool will advance to the Round of 16. Of the third-place finishers in each pool, the top two of those six will advance, based on match points, then by set ratio. The four remaining third-ranked teams in each pool will play a two-match lucky loser round (3rd ranked vs 6th ranked; 4th vs 5th), with the winners advancing to the round of 16. The fourth ranked team in each pool will be eliminated.
DAY IN REVIEW
2016 Olympic Games | Aug. 10
– Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson lost to Spain 21-19, 16-21, 15-7, making them 1-2 in pool play. The pair officially tied for 19th.
– April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings won their third match of the 2016 Olympics, beating Switzerland 21-13, 22-24, 15-12 to clinch the top spot of Pool C. It was just the second set Walsh Jennings has lost in the Olympic Games for beach volleyball, the first time on Aug. 1, 2012 vs Austria in pool play.
Aug. 11, 2:30 p.m. ET Fendrick/Sweat vs Russia
Aug. 11, 3:30 p.m. ET Dalhausser/Lucena vs Italy
Aug. 11, 10/11 p.m. ET Lucky Loser TBD
Aug. 12/13, TBD Round of 16
Aug. 6, Gibb/Patterson def QAT 21-16, 21-16
Aug. 6, Ross/Walsh Jennings def AUS 21-14, 21-13
Aug. 7, Fendrick/Sweat loss POL 14-21, 21-13, 15-7
Aug. 7, Dalhausser/Lucena def TUN 21-7, 21-13
Aug. 8, Gibb/Patterson loss AUT 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