The Hague, Netherlands, January 2, 2018 – April Ross and Alix Klineman adapted quickly to their indoor surroundings at the Dela Beach Open in The Hague on Tuesday when they won two country-quota matches to reach the main draw in their first tournament together.
The tournament is being played indoor at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark, and Ross and Klineman began with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-13) win over Betsi Flint and Kelley Larsen. They then ensured their progression by beating Brittany Hochevar and Emily Day 2-1 (15-21, 21-10, 15-8).
“To start in January, in a cold climate and indoor feels good,” Ross said. “I always fought for a year-round calendar and I’m super-stoked that we’re here and the venue is amazing. We should have this every year.”
Ross and Klineman only teamed up in recent months after the 28-year-old Klineman opted to switch to beach volleyball from volleyball.
In Ross she is playing alongside one of the most experienced and decorated beach volleyball players, a player who has won FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships gold and silver, London 2012 Olympic silver and Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic bronze.
“We trained together a couple of times and it felt pretty good,” Klineman said. “I think April felt the same way and we decided to join forces.
“We’re been training our butts off every single day and working really hard and trying to learn as much as we can. We have a long way to go, but it feels good so far.”
They have already declared their intention to play through to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and to help them they have brought in Ross’ former partner Jennifer Kessy to be their coach.
Kessy and Ross triumphed at the Stavanger 2009 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, and then finished with silver at London 2012.
“We have our new coach Jen Kessy, so we have this team unit,” Ross said. “She brings so much knowledge because she played so recently and for so long and she has a really good head for the game.”