When Summer Ross left a squishy beach volleyball scholarship at Pepperdine in 2012 immediately following an undefeated NCAA sand volleyball season and national championship to join the professional tour full-time, there were those who scoffed. Why would you leave a good school like Pepperdine when the beach scene was in such a state of uncertainty? Where you’d have to place in the top ranks of the FIVB tour just to make a living.

But yesterday, with partner Emily Day, in the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam, the first international volleyball volleyball tournament on American soil in 10 years, Ross advanced to the semifinals, the furthest either she or Day has ever made it in a Grand Slam.

Whether it was the hometown fans support that brought them this far or they just finally put it all together, today they’ll play Lima and Talita of Brazil to decide whether they’ll be battling for bronze or gold come 2 pm PT. Most of all Ross and Day have stuck it to the doubters who thought working towards Rio was a stretch for this young team. With April Ross and Kerri Walsh partnering for the next quad, the second American slot remains up for grabs. This week, Ross and Day proved that they have what it takes to be a top American team as they made it farther than April Ross and Jen Kessy and Lauren Fendrick and Brittany Hochevar who lost in the Round of 16 and quarters respectively.

They’re up next and our fingers are crossed. Gold for USA!


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