May-Treanor, Walsh Defeat Japan in the Rain

Aug. 10, 2008, 12:19 p.m. (ET)

Courtesy of the USOC

BEIJING (Aug. 10, 2008) – Reigning Olympic champions Misty May-Treanor (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Kerri Walsh (Saratoga, Calif.) opened Olympic competition Sunday morning by defeating Japan’s Mika Saiki and Kusuhara Chiaki 21-12, 21-15 at the Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Ground in Beijing.  The duo has now won 63 straight international matches, including 22 straight this season.

The players got a brief reprieve from the heat that has been present in Beijing, as rain showers fell during the entire match. The rain did little to slow down the world’s top beach volleyball team. 

“We were just very excited to get things underway,” May-Treanor said. “They (Saiki and Kusuhara) were a good first test for us with their defense and serves.”

Saiki & Kusuhara came out strong in the second game, building a 7-4 lead, but May-Treanor and Walsh scored six of the next seven points to take control of the game and match. 

May-Treanor, recognized as the best defender in beach volleyball, had 10 match digs while Walsh was equally effective at the net with three intimidating blocks.

USA Basketball’s Jason Kidd sat through the rain to check out the world’s best beach volleyball team prior to leading Team USA into action against China later on Sunday.  

May-Treanor and Walsh will be back in action at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12 when they take on Dalixia Fernandez Grasset and Tamara Larrea Peraza of Cuba. The U.S. team is 6-0 all-time versus their Cuban foes, including a 21-17, 21-16 win on June 27.  In their six contests, May-Treanor and Walsh have lost just one set.    

Aug. 10, 2 p.m.: Nila/Ingrid NOR [11] vs. Fernandez Grasset/Larrea Peraza CUB [14] 0-2 (20-22, 19-21) 0:50
Aug. 10, 9 a.m. Walsh/May-Treanor USA [2] vs. Teru Saiki/Kusuhara JPN [23] 2-0 (21-12, 21-15) 0:33
Aug. 12, noon: Nila/Ingrid NOR [11] vs.Teru Saiki/Kusuhara JPN [23]  
Aug. 14, 9 a.m. Walsh/May-Treanor USA [2] vs. Fernandez Grasset/Larrea Peraza CUB [14]  
Aug. 14, 9 a.m.  Walsh/May-Treanor USA [2] Nila-Ingrid NOR [11]  
Aug. 14, 11 a.m. Fernandez Grasset/Larrea Peraza CUB [14] Teru Saiki/Kusuhara JPN [23]