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Four U.S. beach volleyball teams remain undefeated after Wednesday’s first rounds of pool play at the Beijing Grand Slam on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour. A total of eight U.S. teams are competing in the event vying for a spot in the top 24.

The U.S. women’s volleyball teams of Jen Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.)/April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Lauren Fendrick (Carlsbad, Calif.)/Brook Hanson (Woodland Hills, Calif.) continue to have perfect records in China. The men’s volleyball teams of Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.)/Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah)/Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) also remain without a loss.

Kessy and Ross, the top U.S. seed and third seeded in the tournament, defeated Czech Republic’s 19th-seeded Marketa Slukova and Kristyna Kolocova, 21-12, 17-21, 15-13 in 51 minutes to open Pool C. The Americans then defeated Russia’s 30th-seeded Ekaterina Khomyakova and Evgenia Ukolova, 21-19, 21-11 in 34 minutes.

In Pool D, Fendrick and Hanson also had dual victories, defeating Germany’s 29th-seeded Rieke Brink-Abeler and Angelina Grun, 21-16, 21-14 in 28 minutes, the shortest match of the volleyball tournament thus far. Next, the pair downed 20th-seeds Hana Klapalova and Lenka Hajeckova of the Czech Republic, 21-17, 21-17.

Kessy and Ross face Italy’s 14th-seeded Marta Menegatti and Greta Cicolari to close out Pool C while Fendrick and Hanson take on fourth-ranked Marleen Van Iersel and Sanne Keizer of the Netherlands to finish Pool D.

Misty May-Treanor (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Kerri Walsh (San Jose, Calif.), seeded fifth, bounced back after a 21-19, 17-21, 15-13 loss to 12th-seeded compatriots Angie Akers (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.), defeating Mexico’s 28th-seeded Mayra Garcia and Candelas Bibiana, 21-8, 21-18 in 30 minutes.

May-Treanor and Walsh square-up against Spain’s 21st-ranked Liliana Fernandez Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo Macmillan in their final round-robin pool match on Thursday.

“I was very sad this morning, frustrated, because we had chances, but we made silly mistakes,” Walsh said about her team’s loss to Akers and Branagh in an FIVB release. “As a team, they were playing well.”

May-Treanor told the FIVB that she and Walsh would love to repeat their title-winning feat three years ago at the Chaoyang Park, where they won their second Olympic gold medal.

“We want to win in Beijing, we have a lot of great memories here,” May-Treanor said. “We won it three years ago and we want to do that again.”

Akers and Branagh lost their second volleyball match to Spain’s Fernandez Steiner and Baquerizo, 12-21, 21-15, 15-12 in 44 minutes. The duo will face Mexico’s Garcia and Candelas in tomorrow’s final round robin match.

On the men’s side, top-seeded Rogers and Dalhausser defeated China’s Lei Li and Bin Liu, 21-17, 21-18 in 35 minutes. The reigning Olympic gold medalists will face 17th-seeded Martin Spinnangr and Tarjei Skarlund of Norway before battling the 16th-seed Netherlands team of Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schil, Thursday in Pool J’s round-robin matches.

Gibb and Rosenthal defeated compatriots Casey Patterson (Van Nuys, Calif.) and Brad Keenan (Santa Ana, Calif.), 21-18, 21-19 in 34 minutes. Both U.S. pairs will face Sweden’s 27th-seed Stefan Gunnarsson and Hannes Brinkborg and China’s sixth-seeded team of Penggen Wu and Linyin Xu in tomorrow’s final Pool O matches.

Nick Lucena (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Matthew Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.), seeded seventh, suffered a 23-21, 18-21, 15-12 loss to Estonia’s 26th-seeded team of Karl Jaani and Rivo Vesik in the longest men’s match of the day at 1 hour, 1 minute.

Lucena and Fuerbringer hope to gain momentum tomorrow as they take on Switzerland’s 26th-seeded team of Sascha Heyer and Sebastian Chevallier and Spain’s 10th-seeded team of Pablo Herrera Allepuz and Adrian Gavira Collado in Pool P’s round-robin matches.

A total of 32 men’s and 32 women’s teams are playing a single round robin in eight pools with the top three finishers from each pool advancing to the first round of 24-team elimination.

For both the men and women, the final round of round robin play is slated for Thursday, June 9. Rounds one, two and three will be played June 10 with semifinals and medal matches to follow on June 11.

Article courtesy of USAvolleyball.org
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