April Ross and partner Kerri Walsh Jennings beat Switzerland 21-13, 22-24, 15-12 to advance to the knockout round in women’s beach volleyball.
RIO DE JANEIRO — April Ross was so excited to finish the preliminary round of the Olympic beach volleyball tournament unbeaten that she took a victory lap around the Copacabana court, slapping hands with fans as she ran.
Her partner, Kerri Walsh Jennings, spun around in circles as she jumped in the sand.
“It’s the Olympics. We’ve got to celebrate everything,” Walsh Jennings said after the Americans beat Switzerland 21-13, 22-24, 15-12 on Wednesday. “That was a really hard-fought match. It deserved a victory lap.”
Walsh Jennings won three Olympic gold medals playing with Misty May-Treanor, sweeping through Athens and Beijing without losing a set. They lost one set in London on their way to a third straight championship — beating Ross and Jennifer Kessy in the final.
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Switzerland’s Anouk Verge-Depre was well aware of the record.
“It’s only the second set she’s lost in the Olympics,” she said with a wide smile. “I’m proud of that.”
The U.S. team now awaits news on an opponent for the round of 16, which begins Friday.
The Swiss still have at least one more match to play.
Not so lucky were American men Casey Patterson and Jake Gibb, who lost to Spain and finished 1-2. They are done for the Olympics, finishing last in their pool because of a tiebreaker.
It’s the first U.S men’s team to fail to advance out of pool play since the 2004 Games in Athens.
U.S. women 3-0
In a battle of the two remaining undefeated women’s teams in Pool B, the top-ranked U.S. defeated Serbia 25-17, 21-25, 25-18, 25-19 as the American middles dominated at Maracanazinho Arena.
The Americans now take sole leadership of Pool B with a 3-0 record and eight points. Serbia falls to 2-1. The U.S. continues Pool B play with Italy on Friday.
With the victory, the Americans became the first team to earn a ticket to the quarterfinals set to begin Tuesday. The top four teams from the two six-team pools advance to the knockout round.
Rachael Adams and Foluke Akinradewo combined for 34 points in the victory. Adams scored 13 kills on 19 errorless attacks, four aces and a block. Akinradewo added 16 points with 12 kills on 19 attacks and just one error to go with four blocks. The middles converted 25 of 38 of their attacks with just one error for a .632 hitting efficiency.