Ross-Walsh Jennings Fall to Brazil in Olympic Semifinal|
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Aug. 16, 2016
RIO DE JANEIRO -- Representing the United States, three-time USC women's volleyball All-American outside hitter April Ross and partner Kerri Walsh Jennings dropped a hard-fought 2-0 decision (22-20, 21-18) to Brazilian pair Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas de Freitas in the Olympic semifinals at the Beach Volleyball Arena on the sands of Copacabana Beach on Tuesday, Aug. 16.
Ross and Walsh Jennings will play for bronze medals on Wednesday, Aug. 17, against the top-seeded Brazilian duo of Larissa Franca Maestrini and Talita Rocha at 6 p.m. PT (10 p.m. local). Larissa and Talita were stunned in the earlier semifinal by Germany's No. 1-ranked tandem of Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, 21-18, 21-12. The gold-medal match will take place at 8 p.m. PT. Fans can watch Ross-Walsh Jennings streamed live on NBCSports.com and via the NBC app.
Agatha and Barbara took a pair of three-point leads in the opening frame, 7-4 and 8-5, but Ross and Walsh Jennings roared back to tie the score at nine-all. Ross-Walsh Jennings inched ahead twice, 12-11 and 13-12, but the Brazilians went toe-to-toe with the Americans until a Ross kill gave her team an 18-16 lead. The lead was short-lived as the Brazilians went on a 3-0 tear to go up once more at 19-18. The pairs traded points until a service ace by Barbara closed out a 22-20 win for Brazil.
The Brazilians rolled out to a 5-2 lead to open the second set, but Ross-Walsh Jennings closed to within a point at 6-5. The teams went back and forth until the technical timeout where Brazil led, 11-10, just as it had in the first set. The Brazilians won a furious rally to maintain a two-point lead at 14-12, and then did it again to push out to a big three-point advantage at 17-14. The Americans ran out of chances as they traded points down the stretch. Brazil put the finishing touches on a 2-0 sweep with a 21-18 win in the second to advance to the gold-medal match.
Ross is going for her second straight Olympic medal. She won silver in 2012 with partner and former USC All-American Jennifer Kessy. Walsh Jennings seeks her fourth consecutive Olympic medal. She won gold in her three previous trips with beach volleyball legend and former USC assistant coach Misty May-Treanor.
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