Long Beach, USA, July 21, 2017 - As one of six FIVB world champions in the women’s field for the 2017 edition of the prestigious event, April Ross is hoping that her big right toe has healed from a dislocation and feels that she and her new America partner Lauren Fendrick have started to "figure some things out" as a team.
With the Austrian capital of Vienna hosting the 2017 FIVB World Championships starting July 28, other gold medal winners from past editions include 2015 winners Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas of Brazil along with Kerri Walsh Jennings of the United States (2003, 2005 and 2007), Larissa Franca of Brazil (2011) and Chen Xue of China (2013).
Agatha and Barbara split after winning the Olympic silver medal last August in Rio and will be competing in the 2017 FIVB World Championships with Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa and Fernanda Alves, respectively.
After placing ninth with Fendrick in her first FIVB World Tour event this season in Moscow with her new partner, Ross dislocated her toe at an American domestic event in New York that forced her to miss international events in the Netherlands and Croatia. When Ross returned in early July, she and Fendrick placed 17th at the Gstaad Major.
The 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships will be Ross’ sixth appearance in the event as Fendrick will be her fourth different partner. Ross previously competed in the worlds with Jen Kessy (2007, 2009 and 2011), Whitney Pavlik (2013) and Kerri Walsh Jennings (2015). Like Ross, Fendrick has also had four different partners in the World Championships as she has placed fifth in the last three editions with Brooke Niles (2011), Brittany Hochevar (2013) and Brooke Sweat (2015).
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With Kessy, Ross captured the 2009 FIVB World Championship trophy in Stavanger as the Americans defeated Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta Silva of Brazil in the finals. Three seasons later, Ross and Kessy defeated the Brazilian pair in the London 2012 Olympic semifinals in the last of 23 FIVB World Tour meetings between the two teams. The London win marked only the fifth win by Ross and Kessy over Larissa and Juliana.
Ross was back competing for World Championship gold in 2013 with Pavlik in Poland, but the Americans faltered in the final four to finish fourth after winning their opening six matches at Stare Jablonki. Two years later at the 2015 FIVB World Championships in the Netherlands with her partner recovering from a dislocated shoulder a month earlier in Moscow, Ross and Walsh Jennings placed ninth.
Ross and Fendrick will be seeded 14th in the 2017 FIVB World Championships and will open Pool K play on July 28 against 2013 world champion Xue and her new partner Xinxin Wang as the Chinese are seeded 38th in the competition. After a day off, the Americans conclude group action against a pair of Australian teams starting July 30 against 35th-seeded Nicole Laird/Jessyka Ngauamo and the next day against 11th-seeded Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy.