Battle on the beach: Women’s bronze medal match preview

Battle on the beach: Women's bronze medal match preview

For the first time in her Olympic beach volleyball career, Kerri Walsh Jennings will not be taking home a gold medal. After falling to Brazil’s Agatha and Barbara in the semifinals, Walsh Jennings and London silver medalist April Ross, were knocked out of contention for the gold medal. They will, however, battle for bronze against top-seeded Brazilians Larissa and Talita. 

Head-to-head

The teams have met four times in international play and once in a one-set exhibition match. The Brazilians lead the series 4 to 1 with all matches in tournament finals and ending in straight sets. The Brazilian women entered the Olympic tournament as the top-seeded team while Walsh Jennings/Ross entered as the third seed. 

Olympic experience

Kerri Walsh Jennings has the most Olympic experience between the two pairs. She made her debut at the 2000 Sydney Games as a member of the U.S. national indoor volleyball team. She holds three consecutive beach volleyball gold medals from 2004, 2008 and 2012 with former partner Misty May-Treanor. 

Larissa made her Olympic debut at the 2008 Games alongside Ana Paula. The pair fell in the quarterfinals to Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor. Larissa returned to the London Games with longtime partner Juliana, but were bested in the semifinals by April Ross and Jen Kessy. Larissa took bronze at the 2012 Games. 

Talita has made two Olympic appearances to date, three including the Rio Games. She made her debut at the Beijing Games alongside Renata Ribeiro. The duo fell in the semifinals to Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor and were defeated by China in the bronze medal match. Talita returned to the London Games with Maria Antonelli but lost in the Round of 16. 

April Ross made her Olympic debut at the London Games alongside Jen Kessy. The duo won all of their pool play matches and bested top-seeded Brazilians Larissa and Juliana in the semifinals to advance to the gold medal match where she took silver. 

Partnership

Larissa and Talita began competing internationally in 2014, making their first international appearance together at the Hague Transavia Grand Slam in 2014. The duo took two ninth-place finishes early in the season before winning ten consecutive FIVB World Tour events. In 2015 the Brazilians won seven international tournaments. 

April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings formed their partnership in the moments after the London gold medal match but didn’t begin competing internationally until 2013. The U.S. women won six FIVB World Tour events in their first full season in 2014. Walsh Jennings dislocated her shoulder twice in the 2015 season and took time off to undergo surgery while Ross continued to play with other partners. The pair began playing again at the beginning of the 2016 season, winning four out of eight tournaments so far. 

Rio Games

Both teams swept their respective pools and have only dropped one set each in the elimination round. 

Watch the women’s beach volleyball bronze medal match at 9:00 p.m. ET. 

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