May-Treanor, Walsh Advance to Olympic Semifinals
B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
BEIJING (Aug. 17, 2008) – A new Brazilian partnership meant the same old story for U.S. beach volleyball players Misty May-Treanor (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Kerri Walsh (Saratoga, Calif.) as they defeated Brazil’s third-ranked Ana Paula Connelly and Larissa Franca, 21-18, 21-15 to advance to the semifinals of the Olympic beach volleyball tournament at the Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Grounds.
The No. 2-ranked May-Treanor and Walsh will advance to the semifinals on Tuesday, Aug. 19, where they will face the winner of the match between Australia’s No. 10 Tamsin Barnett and Natalie Cook and Brazil’s No. 6 Talita Antunes and Renata Ribeiro.
May-Treanor and Walsh improved their overall match winning streak to 106. The last time they lost a match was Aug. 19, 2007 in the final of the AVP event in Boston. They lost to U.S. Olympic teammates Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and Elaine Youngs (El Toro, Calif.).
May-Treanor and Walsh said they were nervous about facing Ana Paula and Larissa, who formed their team just a day before the Olympic competition. Larissa’s usual partner, Juliana Felisberta Silva, had to withdraw from the tournament due to a knee injury.
“I was nervous and excited to play this team,” Walsh said. “It’s always a challenge when we play a new partnership.”
Although the two teams seemed well-matched in terms of talent, it was obvious that Ana Paula and Larissa had not yet found their rhythm as Walsh scored on five blocks against them. Walsh also had 11 kills. May-Treanor finished with 10 digs, 13 kills and one ace.
“We came in expecting the unexpected,” May-Treanor said. “Our coach gave us a great game plan.”
The first set was a battle as May-Treanor and Walsh would gain small leads and Ana Paula and Larissa would catch up. With the United States leading 11-10, May-Treanor got a kill for a two-point cushion. At the end of a long rally, Larissa’s attack error put Team USA up by three. May-Treanor’s kill made it 14-10 and her ace made it 15-10. Ana Paula’s kill finally stopped the rally, but Brazil could not mount a challenge.
The Brazilians were on their heels again in the second set, falling behind 6-8 as the U.S. attack heated up. Although Larissa was digging well – she finished with 11 – the Brazilians had trouble mounting an attack and completed 23 of 68 kill attempts for a 34 percent rate of completion.
Aug. 10: Walsh/May-Treanor USA  def. Teru Saiki/Kusuhara JPN , 2-0 (21-12, 21-15) 0:33
Aug. 12: Walsh/May-Treanor USA  def. Fernandez Grasset/Larrea Peraza CUB , 2-0 (21-15, 21-16) 0:35
Aug. 14: Walsh/May-Treanor USA  def. Nila/Ingrid NOR , 2-0 (21-12, 21-15) 0:37
Round of 16
Aug. 15: Walsh/May-Treanor USA  def. van Breedam/Mouha , 2-0 (24-22, 21-10) 0:38
Aug. 17: Walsh/May-Treanor USA  def. Ana Paula/Larissa BRA , 2-0 (21-18, 21-15) 0:39
Aug. 19, Time TBD: Walsh/May-Treanor USA  vs. Talita/Renata BRA  or Barnett-Cook AUS