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Walsh Jennings helps open beach volleyball event with wins

 
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The first of two days for the women competing in the third annual $800,000 ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach featured 11 undefeated teams for eight countries after two rounds of pool play on the TrueCar Court at Alamitos Beach.

Among the tandems with a 2-0 record was defending ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball champions April Ross and Stanford grad Kerri Walsh Jennings as the Americans defeated teams from Germany and Brazil.

Walsh Jennings is returning to action for the first-time in six weeks after dislocating her right shoulder in a SWATCH Major Series event in Gstaad, Switzerland.

Ross and Walsh Jennings will play Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth of Italy for the Pool H title Wednesday. The two teams have meet eight times on the FIVB World Tour with the Americans winning five times and the Italians capturing the past two matches.

In their last meeting, Menegatti and Orsi Toth won by forfeit in the Moscow Grand Slam as Walsh Jennings had dislocated her right shoulder in a pool play match.

Ross and Walsh Jennings opened play with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-18) win in 42 minutes over Victoria Bieneck and Julia Grossner of Germany.

The 32-team Main Draws for ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball for both women and men features pool play with the top three group finishers advancing to the elimination rounds. Pool winners are guaranteed a first-round bye in the knockout rounds when the 24-team elimination bracket begins Friday.

The ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball is the second of two events in the United States this season that are part of the qualifying process for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The first 2015 American Olympic qualifier was held in mid-June at St. Petersburg, Fla.

Prior to the St. Petersburg Grand Slam, the last Olympic Beach Volleyball qualifying event in the United States was staged in September 2003 at Carson.

In Argentina, incoming Stanford freshman Jordan Ewert of Antioch had five kills on eight attempts in just two sets to help the U.S. Boys' Youth National Team (5-0) move on to the quarterfinals of the 2015 FIVB Boys' U19 World Championship after taking down Mexico (2-3) 25-18, 25-16, 25-22 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's win guarantees the U.S. a place in the quarterfinals and a top-8 finish. The BYNT never has placed in the top half of the World Championship, making 2015 a historic year for the U.S. The team will go up against Russia on Friday.

The U.S. simply overpowered Mexico, as the team held the advantage in kills (34-31), blocks (6-1), and aces (13-3).

— FIVB/Palo Alto Online Sports

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