Lausanne, Switzerland, August 9, 2015 - With the FIVB World Tour in the midst of a three-week break, beach volleyball action continued with a pair of continental tour stops in Europe and North America along with a domestic event in the United States.
With the FIVB World Tour resuming August 17 in the United States with the third annual ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball in southern California, entrants in the US$800,000 events captured tournament titles Sunday led by Switzerland's Joana Heidrich/Nadine Zumkehr, the Ingrosso twins of Italy and Lombardo Ontiveros/Juan Virgen of Mexico.Switzerland hosts European Tour
Ranked 19th on the FIVB World Tour and a Main Draw entrant for the ASICS WSOBV Long Beach stop, Heidrich and Zumkehr captured their first-ever international event Sunday by winning the European Tour's Biel/Bienne Master by defeating compatriots Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Verge-Depre 2-0 (21-19, 22-20) in the 44-minute gold medal match in the Swiss canton of Bern.
Joining Heidrich and Zumkehr as podium toppers were the Ingrosso twins (Matteo and Paolo) as the Italian pair defeated Alexander Walkenhorst and Clemens Wickler of Germany 2-1 (18-21, 21-19, 15-11) in the 58-minute men's gold medal match. The title was the second European Tour gold medal for the Ingrossos this season as the pair finished first at May's continental stop in Jurmala, Latvia.
Like the Heidrich and Zumkehr, the Ingrossos have earned a berth in the "money" rounds for the twins are the 23rd-ranked team on the FIVB World Tour. Combined with a semi-final and two quarter-final appearances this season on the FIVB World tour, the Ingrossos are having their best campaign internationally with nearly $70,000 in earnings. During the 2014 season, the twins shared nearly $42,000 winnings.Canada stages North American circuit
The pairs of Ontiveros/Virgen and Irene Hester Pollock/Caitlin Ledoux of the United States captured the gold medals Sunday at the North American continental stop in Canada where North Bay in Ontario hosted an event for the second-straight season. While the American women were winning a NORCECA gold medal in their second continental events together, Ontiveros and Virgen were winning their second-straight title in Canada after winning the PanAm championship last month in Toronto.
After Pollock and Ledoux defeated Mexico's Bibiana Candelas and Ana Rios 2-0 (21-13, 21-15) in the 31-minute women's gold medal match, Ontiveros and Virgen posted a 2-0 (21-17, 21-15) win in 37 minutes over Mark Burik and Curt Toppel of the United States in the NORCECA North Bay men's finale.
Ontiveros and Virgen, who earned a Main Draw "wild card" berth for the United States Grand Slam event in Long Beach as the 21st-ranked team on the FIVB World Tour, have now teamed to win 10 NORCECA gold medals in 19 North American continental events together with 12 podium placements and 14 "final four" finishes.
Virgen has now won 24 NORCECA gold medals in 39 continental events to rank first all-time as he has also placed on the podium 31 times and competed in 33 semi-finals. Virgen and Aldo Miramontes won 14 NORCECA titles in 21 continental events together with 19 medals and two fourth-place finishes to their credit.
While Pollock and Ledoux will not compete in Long Beach, Candelas and Rios will compete in the qualifier along with third-place finishers Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes of the United States. Candelas and Rios defeated Claes and Hughes 2-1 (15-21, 21-19, 15-12) in a 49-minute North Bay semi-final Sunday morning.American Tour returns to Seattle
While the continental action highlighted the international scene, the American domestic tour was playing in the Pacific Northwest with the Seattle Open on the Lake Sammamish State Park courts in Issaquah, Wash. Capturing the titles Sunday were Ryan Doherty/John Mayer and Jen Fopma/April Ross. All four players will be competing in the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball following next weekend’s Manhattan Beach Open in southern California.
Doherty and Mayer won the men’s title by upsetting Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena 2-1 (20-22, 21-17, 15-13) in a 76-minute title match. Dalhausser and Lucena were playing in their first event together since 2005 as the two Floridians started the 2015 season with Sean Rosenthal and Theo Brunner, respectively.
While Dalhausser and Lucena have earned a “wild card” berth for the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, Doherty and Mayer will have to play in an August 18 qualifier as well as Rosenthal and Brunner, who placed fifth in Seattle after being eliminated by Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson. Dalhausser and Lucena defeated Gibb and Patterson in the semi-finals after Doherty and Mayer advanced to the finals with a win over Tri Bourne and John Hyden.
Both the Gibb/Patterson and Bourne/Hyden pairings have earned spots in the Long Beach Main Draw. Todd Rogers and Stafford Slick, who placed ninth in Seattle, will join Doherty/Mayer and Brunner/Rosenthal in the ASICS qualifier that will be played August 17 on the TrueCar court at Alamitos Beach.
Fopma and April Ross, who will play with different partners in Long Beach, posted a 2-1 (21-18, 15-21, 15-13) win in 60 minutes over Lane Carico and Summer Ross in the Seattle women’s finale. Ross will reunite with Kerri Walsh Jennings in the ASICS Main Draw while Fopma earned a “wild card” for the FIVB World Tour event with Brittany Hochevar.American legend returns
Hochevar teamed with legendary Misty May-Treanor to place third in Seattle after being eliminated by Carico and Summer Ross. The Seattle appearance was May-Treanor’s first competitive Beach Volleyball event since winning the gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics with Walsh Jennings by defeating compatriots Jen Kessy and April Ross in the Summer Games finale.
Other American women’s teams in the Long Beach “money” rounds are Emily Day/Kessy and Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat. Day and Kessy, who lost to Hochevar and May-Treanor in a winner’s bracket quarter-final match Saturday, placed fifth in Seattle. Fendrick and Sweat, the top American women’s team on the FIVB World Tour, did not compete in Seattle.What’s Next?
While the Americans will be competing in Manhattan Beach, the European and North American continental tours will stage events this week in Romania and the Dominican Republic, respectively.