Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross won the season-ending AVP Championships in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Sunday, completing a sweep of all seven AVP tournaments this season with a 36-0 match record and 72-4 set record.
Walsh Jennings, a three-time Olympic champion, and Ross, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist, defeated Heather Hughes and Whitney Pavlik 22-20, 21-17 in the AVP Championships final. Walsh Jennings and Ross are in their first full season together as partners.
“To have done it together as a new team, chasing big dreams, it feels really, really good,” Walsh Jennings said, according to The Associated Press. “We’ve grown so much on our push toward Rio [2016 Olympics]. It’s the best thing in the world to have the biggest target on your back. It means you’re the best.”
Walsh Jennings and Ross played in Huntington Beach with keys looped through chains around their necks. Walsh Jennings’ key had the word “breathe” inscribed, and Ross’ had “dream,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
The tournament victory didn’t come without a little drama. Ross’ bikini top snapped off during play Friday. The (Torrance, Calif.) Daily Breeze has the report:
She immediately hit the sand on her stomach while the crowd tried to absorb what just happened.
As Ross lay on the sand, Walsh Jennings trotted over to the sideline to pick up a towel so she could escort her partner and solve the wardrobe malfunction.
“It was a very dramatic moment,” Walsh Jennings said, smiling.
But they were ready for the contingency, since it happened during a practice this week in Hermosa Beach.
“It’s happened to us a couple times, so we were prepared,” Ross said. “I brought an extra bathing suit top, so we were good. Good thing my reactions are so quick. I think I did OK.”
Walsh Jennings, 36 and a mother of three, won her 124th career beach volleyball tournament. She’ll go for No. 125, with Ross, at the final FIVB World Tour Grand Slam event in Sao Paulo this week. They’ve won four FIVB World Tour events this season, twice as many as any other pair, but the new Brazilian team of Larissa and Talita captured the last two tournaments.
“By the end of a tournament my nerves are fried,” Walsh Jennings said, according to the Daily Breeze. “It’s great to have that problem, and I want to have that problem until I retire.”