The U.S. beach team of April Ross and Stanford grad Kerri Walsh Jennings claimed their third gold medal on the 2014 FIVB World Tour at the Stavanger Grand Slam in Norway, on Saturday.
"The way my heart has been racing all day and the way we battled all week is a culmination of our hard work through the ups and downs," Walsh said. "We played steady and we played with fire and a lot of heart."
To get to the finals, Ross and Walsh defeated Slovakia's No. 19 Natalia Dubovcova and Dominika Nestarcova in the semifinals, 21-14, 17-21, 15-10. The Slovakians finished third, becoming the first team from the country to win a medal at a World Tour tournament.
"We played great together," Ross said. "I love this place, the atmosphere is amazing and the fans are so into it."
The pair have only been together since the 2013 Gstaad Grand Slam, but since then they have claimed World Tour gold at five tournaments.
Russia handed USA its second loss on the sixth week of the FIVB Volleyball World League, beating the Americans, 25-21, 25-19, 25-21, on Saturday in Kaliningrad.
Stanford grad Erik Shoji served as libero for Team USA, while Kawika Shoji entered the match in the third set as a substitute.
The Americans (8-2) play two matches in Serbia next weekend. They maintained their lead in Pool B with 21 points. Russia is in second with 18.
U.S. outside hitters Matthew Anderson (229 points) and Sander Taylor (182) rank first and second in scoring.
Erik Shoji ranks tied for third with 81 digs and fourth in digs per set at 1.93. He's world leader with a receiving efficiency rate of 54.21 percent.
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