RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – The U.S. will play for bronze on the beach when April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings face another Brazilian duo after falling early Wednesday morning in the semifinal round.
Ross and Walsh Jennings dropped a nail-biting two-set match, 22-20, 21-18, against Brazil’s No. 2 seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas. Ross and Walsh Jennings will now face Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca for the bronze medal on Aug. 17 at 9 p.m. ET.
The semifinal match concluded at 1 a.m. local on Aug. 17 and with a quick turn-around will play another Brazilian team on the 17th. Against Barbara and Agatha, the pair fell 22-20, 21-18 in 48 minutes.
“We had so many opportunities to take the match, to take it into our hands and do what we wanted to do, do what we came to do and we didn’t do that” said Ross. “That is the hardest thing to swallow. They played really well. They played really well on D. Got some great digs, kept some rallies going, but we had so many opportunities. I know it’s going to kill me to watch that. They were just sharper on their execution.”
USA traded points in the opening set but started to trail at 9-7, before a Walsh Jennings block brought them back to tie it 9-all. Ross and Walsh Jennings gained the lead at 12-11, but again the advantage teeter-tottered, Brazil ahead 14-13, another tie and the U.S. moving ahead 15-14.
The American duo pushed ahead, going up 18-16 for their biggest lead, but the Brazilians were right back in it making it 18-all. Fighting off Brazil’s set point at 20-20 was good enough to hold off momentarily but an ace gave the home country the set 22-20.
The second set saw the U.S. trailing from the start but tying it at 9-9. From that point Ross and Walsh Jennings were unable to rally back from a deficit, playing behind at 17-14 and falling in the set and match 21-18.
“I wasn’t passing the ball,” said Walsh Jennings. “So when you see a weakness you go after it and my weakness tonight was passing the ball. We just never gave ourselves breathing room. When you’re shanking balls and you’re up a point or two and then you shank a ball and you give them breathing room.”
Of the Final Four teams, Ross and Walsh Jennings entered Tuesday’s match with an 85-percent win percentage (150-26), second to only No. 1 Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca of Brazil (139-14, 0.91).
“It’s our final now,” Ross said of playing for bronze. “We expect them to come in as pissed off as we are and fight tooth and nail, so we’re going to have to show up and play better than we did tonight.”
.@kerrileewalsh and @AprilRossBeach will be fighting for #bronze tomorrow night! Go #TeamUSA! pic.twitter.com/luyc8mXTSM
— U.S. Olympic Team (@TeamUSA) August 17, 2016
DAY IN REVIEW
<2016 Olympic Games | Aug. 16
– April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings lost to Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas in the semifinal, 22-20, 21-18. The duo are now 58-15 against the Olympic field and will face Larissa/Talita of Brazil in the bronze medal match.
Aug. 17, 9 p.m. ET Bronze Medal Match Ross/Walsh Jennings vs BRA Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes
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
Aug. 15, Dalhausser/Lucena loss Brazil 21-14, 12-21, 15-9; Quarterfinal
Aug. 16, Ross/Walsh Jennings loss Brazil 22-20, 21-18; Semifinal
t5th Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena
t19th Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat
t19th Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson