Stanford grad and three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings, with her teammate April Ross, survived a first-set loss to remain undefeated in pool play at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands on Monday.
They are one of five American teams to start with a pair of victories, clinching a spot in the knockout round that begins Wednesday.
Kerri Walsh Jennings/USOC
Walsh Jennings and Ross rallied from a 16-12 deficit in set one to Australia's Mariafe Artacho/Nicole Laird, but not enough as the Aussies took the set 21-18.
"Australia came out on fire and were serving bullets. They tested us in that first game," said Ross. "We had to make adjustments and raise our play. I'm proud of how we got it at the end. It's a good match to have at pool play."
Starting the second set up 5-2, Walsh and Ross fought to break away, from 15-11 to 18-13. The pair snagged the set 21-15 to force a deciding frame.
Tied 3-3 in the third, Australia had momentum to stay ahead, 6-4 and be the first to reach double digits, 10-8. Relentlessly fighting back, Walsh and Ross tied it 11-11 and 12-all. An amazing dive by Ross kept it alive for the Americans to lead at 13-12, then a long rally for match point and the win, 15-12.
"I loved how we played in match one and how we finished match two, games two and three," Walsh said. "Even game one we started down. We started getting mojo at the end and that's so important."