April Ross Pairs With Walsh Jennings to Win AVP New Orleans Open|
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May 25, 2015
KENNER, La. - Olympic silver medalist and three-time USC All-American April Ross teamed with her partner three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings to open the 2015 AVP season with a victory at the New Orleans Open on Sunday, May 24. It is the eighth consecutive AVP tournament crown for the duo, which won all seven events in 2014.
The top-seeded pair of Ross and Walsh Jennings defeated the newly formed tandem of Trojan All-American Jennifer Kessy and Emily Day, 21-16, 22-20, in the final match. The tournament and second-place finish marked Kessy's return to AVP competition following a year away from the sand. Ross and Walsh Jennings earned straight-set victories in all five of their matches in the tourney and ran their winning streak to 42 consecutive sets dating back to August 2014. They have now won nine of the 10 AVP tournaments they have played since first partnering in September 2013.
Ross and Kessy - longtime former partners who earned silver medals at the 2012 London Olympics together - faced each other for the first time since their partnership split. Kessy missed all of the 2014 season to have her first child.
It was also a memorable tournament for another former Trojan. Geena Urango--the first sand volleyball scholarship recipient in USC history--partnered with Angela Bensend for an appearance in the semifinals where the duo fell to Kessy-Day, 21-19, 21-17. The third-place finish was a career best for both Urango and Bensend.
The AVP New Orleans Open was the season opener for the 2015 Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Tour, which last played a tournament in New Orleans in 1999. Next up is the FIVB St. Petersburg (Fla.) Grand Slam, an Olympic qualifying tournament hosted by the AVP as part of the Federation Internationale de Volleyball World Tour, June 15-21. The next tournament on the AVP schedule is the New York City Open scheduled for July 16-19 at Chelsea Piers.
The No. 1-ranked USC sand volleyball team went undefeated (28-0) to claim the program's first team championship and the 123rd overall team national title in the school's history. Sophomores Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes completed the season with a 44-3 record and claimed the AVCA Pairs Championship to mark the third straight year that a Trojan pair has won the national tournament.
For more information on the AVP and a complete schedule of events, please visit AVP.com. For information on the USC sand volleyball team, please visit USCTrojans.com and follow @USCSandVBall on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.