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Three U.S. women’s volleyball beach teams went undefeated Wednesday while the men’s beach volleyball team of Casey Jennings and Kevin Wong advanced with a pair of wins into the main draw at the $600,000 FIVB Beach Volleyball A1 Grand Slam presented by Volksbank in Klagenfurt, Austria.

The United States has banked eight beach teams in the main draw at the Swatch World Tour event with all taking to the sand Thursday in the final double-gender Grand Slam of the 2011 FIVB season.

A total of 12 teams from 10 countries were unbeaten in the women’s event with the United States securing three of those undefeated records.

Angie Akers and Nicole Branagh defeated 17th-seeds Vasiliki Arvaniti and Maria Tsiartsiani of Greece,  21-17, 21-17 in 39 minutes and defeated Austria’s Cornelia Rimser and Kerstin Eva-Maria Pichler 21-13, 21-15 in 34 minutes to tie for first in the pool. The pair will face Brazil’s top seeds of Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta today in hopes to take first in Pool A.

Misty-May Treanor and Kerri Walsh, who have won the Klagenfurt four times,  went undefeated in Pool D downing the Netherland’s team of Sophie van Gestel and Madelein Meppelink, 21-15, 21-19 in 34 minutes and Katrien Gielen and Liesbeth Mouha  of Belgium, 19-21, 21-13, 15-12 in 42 minutes. The power duo will face Germany’s 13th-seeds, Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmleron Thursday in their last round-robin match.

Jen Kessy and April Ross charted an unblemished round in Pool E, outplaying Finland’s 28th-seeded team of Emilia and Erika Nystrom, 16-21, 21-17, 15-13 in 34 minutes and Italy’s 21st-seeds Gioria Daniela and Giulia Momoli, 21-18, 18-21, 16-14 in 51 minutes. Kessy and Ross will face 12th-seeds Maria Clara Salgado Rufino and Carolina Solberg Salgado of Brazil in their last pool-play match.

In Pool C Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Hanson battled a tough day losing to both higher seeds; Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic, 21-18, 21-17 in 40 minutes and Brazil’s third-seed Talita Da Rocha Antunes and Maria Antonelli, 20-22, 21-14, 15-12 in 43 minutes. Fendrick and Hanson will re-group and use Thursday’s match against Cristine Santanna and Andrezza Martins das Chaqas of Georgia to attempt to chalk a win.

The women’s round-robin play will come to a close Thursday with round one of elimination to follow in the evening. Rounds two and three are slated for Friday with the semifinals and both medal matches on route for Saturday.

On the men’s side Casey Jennings and Kevin Wong fought through two rounds of qualification to secure a spot in the main draw beginning on Thursday. The Americans defeated Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands, 21-15, 15-21, 15-10 in 47 minutes and Spain’s Raul Mesa and Christian Lario Corrillo, 21-14, 21-16 in 39 minutes. With Wednesday’s victorious outcome the duo jumps into Pool Q seeded 24th of the main draw.

Joining Jennings and Wong in Pool Q will be their second opponents and compatriots Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal, seeded eighth. In addition to the two U.S. teams, Sweden’s 25th-seeds Sascha Heyer and Sebastian Chevallier and Austria’s ninth-seeded team of Alexander Horst and Daniel Mullner will also compete in round-robin pool play.

In another unfortunate pool draw, two U.S. teams will occupy Pool K including second-seeds Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers and 15th-seeds Matthew Fuerbringer and Nick Lucena. Joining the Americans will be Denmark’s 31st-seeded team of Bo Soderberg and Anders Lund Hoyer and 18th-seeds Thiago Santos Barbosa and Harley Marques Silva of Brazil.

Rogers and Dalhausser are going for a three-peat at the A1 Grand Slam, winning the past two consecutive years and three overall gold medals in the event’s 10-year history.

The men’s round-robin pool play will wrap up Friday morning with round one of elimination concluding Friday evening. Round two and three will follow on Saturday with the semifinals and medal matches slated for Sunday.

article courtesy of usavolleyball.org
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