Manager, Media Relations and Publications
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 13, 2008) - The U.S. women's beach volleyball teams of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh and Jen Boss and April Ross have advanced to the semifinals of the Berlin Grand Slam, part of the SWATCH FIVB World Tour.
Meanwhile three U.S. teams have made it to the second round of the men's tournament.
On Saturday, top-ranked May-Treanor (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Walsh (Santa Clara, Calif.) will play second-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca of Brazil for the 14th time on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour since March 2004. Two of the previous 13 matches were in the finals in Berlin in 2005 and 2007 with the May-Treanor and Walsh winning both times.
Saturday's second semifinal match will see eighth-seeded Boss Boss (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) go against seventh-seeded Jia Tian and Jie Wang of China as the two teams meet for the third-time on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour. Boss and Ross won both previous matches, including the 2007 gold-medal match in Stavanger, Norway, when Boss and Ross had to qualify for the main draw and became the lowest-seeded team (29th) to win a SWATCH stop.
The U.S. team of Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and Elaine Youngs (El Toro, Calif.) was eliminated on Friday in a 25-23, 21-18 loss to Tian and Wang. Boss and Ross are chasing Branagh and Youngs for the second spot on the U.S. Olympic beach volleyball team. A victory at a SWATCH FIVB Grand Slam event is worth 30 percent more points than at an open tournament. The women's medal matches will be played on Saturday.
"I am glad we got the two very close wins today," Walsh said after her team's wins over China and Brazil. "Since this is our first international event this season, I think we had some troubles adjusting to the ball. We did not have a good rhythm to our games today, especially with our passing. Both opponents played very well and we make some big plays at the end of both matches to win."
The reigning Olympic and three-time world champions, May-Treanor and Walsh opened with a 21-16, 15-21, 15-12 victory in 49 minutes over sixth-seeded Chen Xue and Xi Zhang of China before advancing to the semifinals with a 21-12, 16-21, 15-11 win in 49 minutes over 26th-seeded Maria Antonelli and Vanilda Leão of Brazil.
After eliminating 15th-seeded Helke Claasen and Antje Roder of Germany 21-11, 21-17 in 35 minutes on Friday, Boss and Ross advanced to their third SWATCH FIVB semifinal with a 21-13, 21-17 victory in 36 minutes over third-seeded Shelda Bede and Ana Paula Connelly of Brazil.
In the men's tournament, top-seeded Phil Dalhausser (Ormond, Fla.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.), sixth-seeded Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and 10th-seeded Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Casey Jennings (Las Vegas, Nev.) all won their pools and advanced straight to the second round.
With all three U.S. teams in the top-half of the bracket, Dalhausser and Rogers open play Saturday against 15th-seeded Martin Laciga and Jan Schnider of Switzland while Fuerbringer and Jennings play 14th-seeded Jonas Reckermann and Mischa Urbatzka of Germany. Gibb and Rosenthal will play 17th-seeded Pablo Herrera and Raul Mesa of Spain.
The men's medal matches will be played on Sunday.
There is more information on the FIVB beach volleyball site at www.fivb.org/EN/BeachVolleyball/index.asp.