The U.S. men’s beach volleyball team of Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal won gold while April Ross and Jennifer Kessy took silver at the FIVB Beach Volleyball Rome Grand Slam in Italy.
Both teams will play next at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships on July 1-7 in Stare Jablonki, Poland.
Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.), seeded No. 3, defeated Latvia’s No. 6 Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs, 21-19, 21-18 in 44 minutes in the men’s final.
Kerri Walsh Jennings made her decision to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics between being dropped off at Heathrow Airport and boarding her flight late last summer.
She had just finished winning an unprecedented third straight Olympic gold medal in beach volleyball with Misty May-Treanor when Walsh Jennings noticed a picture of the Cristo Redentor statue in the Heathrow terminal, the famous landmark in Rio de Janeiro. A landmark she knew she had to see for herself in four years.
The duos claimed gold in the men’s and women’s tournaments at the smart Grand Slam – Rome, the final FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament before the cream of the beach volleyball descends on Stare Jablonki in Poland for the year’s major tournament. Rosenthal and Dalhausser beat Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins in the men’s gold medal match, while Talita and Taiana held of the determined challenge of the USA’s Jennifer Kessy and April Ross.
It wouldn’t seem like summer without the excitement of professional beach volleyball tournaments taking place on the sands of South Bay beaches and, despite some uncertainty, the schedule is finally set.
Pro action begins Saturday when the EVP Tour comes to Hermosa Beach. Featuring $3,200 in prize money in the Mens’ and Women’s Open competition, the event begins at 8 a.m. and also includes a co-ed 4-on-4 tournament.
Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.), seeded No. 7, defeated Spain’s No. 10 Liliana Fernández Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo McMillan (21-15, 27-25 in 45 minutes) in their final main draw pool play match on Thursday to advance to the second round of single-elimination play.
Two other U.S. women’s beach teams advanced to the first round of single-elimination on Thursday.