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Ross, Kessy ousted

Beach Volleyball

Top-seeded duo falls to Brazilian pair in women's round of 16 at FIVB Grand Slam event in Long Beach.

July 26, 2013|By Barry Faulkner
(Holly Stein )

LONG BEACH –— Network television cameras will still capture images of April Ross this weekend at the Federation Internationale de Volleyball World Series of Beach Volleyball at Marine Green Park. But it won't be in the more prestigious Grand Slam event.

The 2012 Olympic silver medalist and former world champion, and her longtime partner Jennifer Kessy, the No. 1-seeded pair, were ousted, 21-15, 13-21, 16-14, Thursday in the women's round of 16, by the No. 5-seeded Brazilian tandem of Agatha Bednarczuk and Maria Antonelli.

Ross and Kessy will be one of four teams in women's World Series Cup contested Saturday and Sunday.

Ross and Kessy, playing together in competition for the first time in a month, rallied from a 9-6 deficit to take a 12-10 lead in Game 3, the latter two points coming off the final two of six ace serves in the match by Ross. But the Brazilian duo that defeated Ross and three-time Olympic gold medalist Keri Walsh Jennings in the previous FIVB Grand Slam event earlier this month in Gstaad, Switzerland, rallied to knot the score at 12, then came up with a stuff block against Ross to take a one-point lead.

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A missed serve by Antonelli allowed the Americans to pull even at 14-14, but after Ross took something off her typically punishing jump serve, Bednarczuk put away a kill to sideout.

Kessy, who led the Americans with 16 kills, then flicked a kill attempt wide to force she and Ross to settle for a share of ninth place.

"We're usually pretty clutch at the end of games," said Kessy, who showed up solo to answer media questions after the loss. "But we weren't in this one, unfortunately. It just wasn't our day today."

Ross and Kessy, whose seven-year partnership is winding down amid much attention paid to Ross' impending pairing with Walsh Jennings, have not won any of the eight FIVB Grand Slam events this season. They were second in Italy in early June and were fourth at the event in Argentina in late May.

"You get a ninth place at Wimbledon, you are paying for everybody else's dinner," Kessy said with a smile. " But you get a ninth place here, it's a big deal and you suck. So, we got a top-10 [finish] in a grand slam and that's tough to do, especially the way they are doing [the round of 16 pairings] now, by picking names out of a hat."

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