Vienna, Austria, July 31, 2017 - Olympians Lauren Fendrick and April Ross became the first men’s or women’s team to win a pool at the 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 here Monday as the Americans posted a seed-break-through win in Pool K by defeating Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy of Australia in two sets.
Seeded 14th in the 11th edition of the FIVB World Championships, Fendrick and Ross posted a 2-0 (21-16, 21-13) Pool K win in 36 minutes over the 11th-seeded Bawden and Clancy. Fendrick and Ross also posted group wins over pairs form Australia and China to finish with a 3-0 match mark while Bawden and Clancy finish with a 2-1 pool record.
“They are a real athletic team and we knew that going in,” said Fendrick, who has placed fifth in the past three FIVB World Championships with three different partners. We had a great game plan and executed well. April served really, really well. As soon as we partnered up we both were talking about World Champs and that being our big goal of the year. Obviously, a little hiccup in there with April’s toe injury, but we’ve gotten better with each match and we are getting in a good rhythm.”
Ross, who captured the 2009 FIVB World Championships with Jen Kessy in Norway, said the match “went back and forth at the beginning of both games and then towards the end we kind of figured out what we could do to clamp down and get those points that we needed. Lauren adjusted her block a little bit which helped a ton. We adjusted on the two which has been real effective for them, and that helped us pull ahead. We want to put ourselves in the best possible position to go the farthest we can in this tournament.”
Bawden and Clancy, who placed fifth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after being eliminated in the quarter-finals by Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings, remain in the competition with their bracket positioning based on match and point/set ratios. Fendrick and Ross will be seeded 11th in the elimination with the Aussies being seeded 13th through 24th.
In the second set of women’s matches Monday morning, 10th-seeded Nina Betschart/Tanja Hüberli of Switzerland protected their group ranking by defeating 15th-seeded Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson of Canada 2-0 (21-17, 21-19) in 38 minutes. The Swiss, who fill the 10th spot in the elimination bracket, also defeated pairs from Argentina and Venezuela in Pool J.
Nina Betschart (right) of Switzerland competes at the net against Canadian Brandie Wilkerson in the Pool J finale
The seedings and pairings for the women’s 32-team elimination bracket matches will be determined Tuesday afternoon after the completion of the final matches in Pools A, B, C and E. Six other women’s pools (D, F, G, H, I and L) will be completed Monday.
The US$1-million FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 will feature 24 pool play matches (16 men and eight women) on three courts to start play Tuesday at the state-of-the art venue at Donauinsel with the focal point of the action and entertainment being held with a picturesque view of the Danube River and the lively atmosphere of the Beach Village.
A total of 216-matches will be contested over a 10-day period at the world championships where the winning men’s and women’s teams will each split the $60,000 first-place prizes. The women’s medal matches will be played August 5 and the men’s August 6. With 96 teams from 40 countries in the competition, pool play highlights the first six days of play with the featured court being the 10,000-seat Red Bull Beach Arena.