Olympians Lauren Fendrick, a volunteer coach at Stanford, and April Ross became the first men’s or women’s team to win a pool at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 here Monday as the Americans posted a seed-break-through win in Pool K by defeating Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy of Australia in two sets.
Seeded 14th in the 11th edition of the FIVB World Championships, Fendrick and Ross posted a 2-0 (21-16, 21-13) Pool K win in 36 minutes over the 11th-seeded Bawden and Clancy. Fendrick and Ross also posted group wins over pairs form Australia and China to finish with a 3-0 match mark while Bawden and Clancy finish with a 2-1 pool record.
“They are a real athletic team and we knew that going in,” said Fendrick, who has placed fifth in the past three FIVB World Championships with three different partners. We had a great game plan and executed well. April served really, really well. As soon as we partnered up we both were talking about World Champs and that being our big goal of the year. Obviously, a little hiccup in there with April’s toe injury, but we’ve gotten better with each match and we are getting in a good rhythm.”
Ross, who captured the 2009 FIVB World Championships with Jen Kessy in Norway, said the match “went back and forth at the beginning of both games and then towards the end we kind of figured out what we could do to clamp down and get those points that we needed. Lauren adjusted her block a little bit which helped a ton. We adjusted on the two which has been real effective for them, and that helped us pull ahead. We want to put ourselves in the best possible position to go the farthest we can in this tournament.”
Bawden and Clancy, who placed fifth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after being eliminated in the quarter-finals by Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings, remain in the competition with their bracket positioning based on match and point-set ratios. Fendrick and Ross will be seeded 11th in the elimination with the Aussies being seeded 13th through 24th.