Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross did well to make the Asics World Series of Beach Volleyball final, but their fortune ran out against the best team in the world over the last year.
Brazil’s Larissa and Talita swept the three-time Olympic champion Walsh Jennings and 2012 Olympic silver medalist Ross 21-18, 21-16 in Long Beach, Calif., on Sunday.
“Today was a lesson,” Walsh Jennings said on NBC. “We played the best team in the world.”
Walsh Jennings was playing on the FIVB World Tour for the first time since dislocating her right shoulder in a match for the second time in two months July 10. Walsh Jennings, who had four previous right shoulder surgeries, played in Long Beach with her right shoulder heavily taped, serving underhand and swinging often with her left arm.
She had modest expectations for her return event, saying that elimination round wins to make it to the final were icing on the cake.
Walsh Jennings said on Saturday that Ross was playing better than ever this week. They first paired together in 2013, after Misty May-Treanor‘s retirement.
Walsh Jennings and Ross made their first FIVB World Tour final since winning in Long Beach last season.
Larissa and Talita won for the eighth time in 13 FIVB events since they paired last year. Walsh Jennings and Ross and Larissa and Talita led the tour in event wins in 2014 with four each.
Walsh Jennings said she and Ross will play this week’s FIVB Grand Slam event in Poland and the Rio Open in Brazil the following week and then reassess. A fifth right shoulder surgery is possible.
Later, in the men’s final, 2008 Olympic champion Phil Dalhausser and new partner Nick Lucena were beaten by Brazilian World champions Alison and Bruno 16-21, 22-20, 13-15.
Dalhausser, the 2014 FIVB Player of the Year, and Lucena were playing in their first FIVB tournament together since Dalhausser and two-time Olympian partner Sean Rosenthal split in July.
Alison and Bruno have won four straight FIVB World Tour events.
Dalhausser, Rosenthal explain what led to split