Competing in their second-straight Fort Lauderdale Major final four after losing the third-place in 2017 to a team from Germany, the 13th-seeded Americans posted a 2-0 (21-17, 21-13) win in 32 minutes over 24th-seeded qualifiers Victoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider of Germany.
American Summer Ross stretches for Mikasa in her team's bronze medal match with Germany
By winning the $20,000 third-place prize, Ross and Sweat are now 2-0 against Bieneck and Schneider after defeating the Germans in the semifinals at last year’s Moscow Open where the Americans posted their best-ever FIVB World Tour finish together.
“A lot of people counted us out before the tournament started, they didn’t think we’d be here,” said Sweat after the match. “I’m happy with how we fought. To get a medal in a Beach Major Series event, all the teams are here so we’re just excited to be battling the top teams and hope we can get to the top of the podium.”
Both teams dropped morning semifinals to Brazilian pairs as Ross and Sweat dropped a 2-1 (21-18, 26-28, 21-19) decision in 75 minutes to ninth-seeded Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas while Bieneck and Schneider were losing to 20th-seeded qualifiers Carolina Horta/Taiana Lima 2-1 (21-13, 12-21, 15-11) in 41 minutes.
When asked about rebounding after the semifinals, Sweat added that her team “went back and just completely reset and refocused, we let that one go and we just executed. We did a good job with it. We didn’t have much time physically, but I think it was more mental to erase that and move on. We wanted to medal so bad, we just went back to the hotel, got some food and started game-planning against Germany. We didn’t even really talk about the last match, we’ll do that later. It was really important to let that one go.”
Saturday’s gold medal match marks the 59th time that two Brazil pairs have advanced to a women’s gold medal match on the FIVB World Tour. With Carolina and Taiana competing in their first-ever FIVB World Tour event together, the Brazilian pair is also seeking to become only the fourth women’s team to ever win an international gold medal after starting their quest in the country quota playoffs before winning qualifying matches to gain a berth in the Main Draw.
The Fort Lauderdale Major centre court was over-flowing for action on Saturday for the Beach Major Series event at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park.