April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings Claim Bronze Medals|
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Aug. 17, 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 came out on top to capture Olympic beach volleyball bronze medals in a thrilling three-set win (17-21, 21-17, 15-9) over the top-seeded Brazilian tandem of Larissa Franca Maestrini and Talita Rocha at the Beach Volleyball Arena on the sands of Copacabana Beach on Wednesday, Aug. 17.
Ross won her second straight Olympic medal. She won silver in 2012 with partner and former USC All-American Jennifer Kessy. Walsh Jennings won 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. Ross-Walsh Jennings finished the tourney 6-1 while Larissa and Talita were handed back-to-back losses (5-2) and exit the tourney on their home soil without medals.
Larissa and Talita broke open a two-point lead at 12-10 following the first-set technical timeout and zoomed ahead by five at 17-12 on a service ace and consecutive attack errors by Walsh Jennings. Ross broke the run with a crosscourt kill and brought the Americans back within four on a hard-angle shot at 18-14. Ross-Walsh Jennings trimmed the lead to three at 19-16 and 20-17, but the Brazilians knocked down the final point in a 21-17 victory.
Brazil's fourth ace of the match gave it a 5-3 lead in the early-goings of the second set. The Brazilians continued to push and garnered a three-point lead at the technical stop, 12-9. The American duo trimmed the lead to one at 13-12 and after another point by Brazil, went on a 5-0 run to lead, 17-14. Ross went back and served an ace to give USA a 19-15 lead, but Brazil scored consecutive points, the second on its sixth ace of the match, to get within two at 19-17. Ross put the final ball down the line to secure a 21-17 win for the Americans and sent the match to a third set.
The pairs traded points to a five-all tie to open the third frame, but it was Brazil that would inch ahead each time until Walsh Jennings turned away three Brazilian attacks before finishing a rally with her kill for a 7-6 USA lead. Ross' hard-angle cutty gave the Americans the first two-point lead of the third set at 8-6, and her tip to the deep corner put a 10-8 advantage on the board. Walsh Jennings stuffed Talita to post an 11-8 USA lead, before Ross bounced a shot off the sand for a big four-point lead at 13-9. Walsh Jennings came alive to register back-to-back blocks to seal the victory for the Americans.
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