Page 11

2012 Beach Team of the Year In a season of standout performances from several U.S. wom- “I thought we were going to be a bigger presence on the podium en’s beach volleyball teams, Jennifer Kessy and April Ross have going into the Olympics,” Ross said. “I can remember being been named the USA Volleyball Beach Team of the Year. upset about it. Maybe it helped us in the end. I wasn’t overconfident going into London.” Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) won the title for their success both internationally, where Jeff Conover (Bellflower, Calif.), who has coached Kessy and they were ranked fourth on the FIVB World Tour, and domesti- Ross since 2009, was concerned about the finishes, but kept his cally, where they were the top-ranked players in the USA Vol- team focused on its goal. leyball Beach Rankings. “I was a little nervous. We usually win three or four gold medals The 2012 season also saw outstanding performances by Misty per year,” Conover said. “We wanted to do well every tournaMay-Treanor (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Kerri Walsh Jennings ment. But in the end, it was always going to be about being (Saratoga, Calif.), who won their third-straight Olympic gold ready for London.” medal along with a gold medal in Gstaad, Switzerland and a silver medal in Moscow, and Jenny Kropp (Grand Island, Neb.) London was the highlight of the season for Ross, particularly and Whitney Pavlik (Laguna Beach, Calif.), who dominated the her team’s 15-21, 21-19, 15-12 victory in the semifinals over Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Tour with six victories. Brazil’s No. 1-seeded Larissa França and Juliana Felisberta Da Silva, a team that had defeated the Americans in their previous On the FIVB World Tour, Kessy, 35, and Ross, 30, won a bronze nine meetings. medal in Rome and a gold medal in Thailand to go with the silver they won at the 2012 Olympic Games. They also had six “That was the most fun and meaningful match I’ve played in my fifth-place finishes on the Tour. entire life,” Ross said. “I’ve played in the world championships and the NCAA championships. That match was by far the best In the United States, Kessy and Ross won the women’s titles at thing in my career.” the AVP tournaments in Cincinnati and Santa Barbara and the NVL event in Baltimore. Conover agreed that the match was a high point. For Kessy, the highlights of the season were qualifying for the Olympic Games, reaching the podium in London, and winning the gold medal in Thailand. The toughest part of the season was not reaching the podium in some of the early FIVB World Tour events.

“We played Brazil three or four times last year before the Olympics,” Conover said. “There were two matches that were identical (to the Olympic semifinal) where we got to 10-all in the third set and then gave points away. For us to come out on the winning end in the same situation was validating for them.”

“We didn’t have our best year leading into the Olympics,” Kessy said. “In Rome we got on the podium (with a bronze). You want to win every tournament. But the main goal was winning at the Olympics.” The finishes off the podium were difficult for Ross as well.

Kessy and Ross fell to compatriots May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings, 2116, 21-16 in the Olympic gold medal match the day after the semifinals.

From left, April Ross, Jeff Conover and Jennifer Kessy in London. USAV photo

11

Conover said that if Kessy and Ross had another day to prepare, they would have at least given May-

Profile for USA Volleyball

2012 U.S. Beach Volleyball National Team Yearbook  

Season review of the U.S. Beach Volleyball National Teams including results in Olympic, FIVB, NORCECA and domestic events.

2012 U.S. Beach Volleyball National Team Yearbook  

Season review of the U.S. Beach Volleyball National Teams including results in Olympic, FIVB, NORCECA and domestic events.

Profile for usav
Advertisement