Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross played like the top team in the world, sweeping a Slovakian pair Saturday to reach the World Series of Beach Volleyball final in Long Beach, Calif.
The top-seeded Walsh Jennings, the three-time Olympic champion, and Ross, the Olympic silver medalist, beat 14th seeds Natalia Dubovcova and Dominika Nestarcova 21-14, 21-16.
“One of our catchphrases is ‘outlast,’ and I think we outlasted today,” Ross said on NBC of playing twice in a span of a few hours in 80-plus degrees Saturday. “I feel like we played at a high level, and fatigue wasn’t an issue at all.”
The Americans will play a fourth-seeded Spanish pair or a fifth-seeded Brazilian pair in the final on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra. The World Series of Beach Volleyball is the biggest tournament in the U.S. this year.
“We’re out here to be the aggressors,” Walsh Jennings said. “We want to be the hunters out there. I talked to my sports psychologist, Mike Gervais, this morning. He said, ‘Kerri, do what you do best, and that’s hunt.'”
Walsh Jennings, 35, and Ross, 32, have won half of their FIVB World Tour events together since teaming up last year, following Misty May-Treanor‘s retirement and Walsh Jennings’ third pregnancy.
They’re the only women’s players to win multiple FIVB Grand Slams this season, but in Long Beach they’ve bounced back from losses in the round of 16 in their previous two tournaments.
On the men’s side, 2008 Olympic champion Phil Dalhausser and two-time Olympian Sean Rosenthal play a later semifinal Saturday for a spot in the final Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET.