B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 28, 2008) - The U.S. beach volleyball team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh (Santa Clara, Calif.) captured their 34th SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal by defeating Vassiliki Arvaniti and Vasso Karadassiou of Greece on Saturday in Stavanger, Norway on the Vaagen Harbour centre court.
After finishing fourth, second and third in their first three appearances in Stavanger, top-seeded May-Treanor (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Walsh (Santa Clara, Calif.) scored a 21-13, 21-14 win in 37 minutes over 12th-seeded Arvaniti and Karadassiou as the Greeks were playing in their second ConocoPhillips Grand Slam finale after winning the “coveted” Viking swords in 2005.
“That was our goal from the start of our European trip is to win three-straight SWATCH stops, especially this week’s event,” said Walsh, who also captured a 2004 bronze medal with Rachel Wacholder (Laguna Beach, Calif.) when May-Treanor was sidelined with an adnominal strain.
“This is such a great site for beach volleyball with tremendous fans,” Walsh added. “We were disappointed after last year’s Stavanger event since we were defeated in the semifinals and did not get a chance to play for the swords. Our goal was to play hard this week and to get to the top of the podium.”
By sharing the US$43,500 first-place prize at the $600,000 ConocoPhillips Grand Slam, May-Treanor and Walsh have now won the first three SWATCH FIVB World Tour Grand Slams this season after winning the last two weeks in Berlin and Paris. Arvaniti and Karadassiou shared $29,500 for their best SWATCH finishes since winning here in 2005.
Earlier Saturday, May-Treanor and Walsh took a 21-19, 21-17 semifinal win in 40 minutes over eighth-seeded compatriots Jen Boss (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.). Arvaniti and Karadassiou posted an 18-21, 21-19, 22-20 victory in 78 minutes over fifth-seeded Shelda Bede and Ana Paula Connelly of Brazil.
Boss and Ross took the bronze medal and split a $23,000 third-place prize by defeating Shelda and Ana Paula 21-14, 21-18 in 43 minutes. With the win, Boss and Ross reduced their deficit for the second U.S. Olympic berth by 80 points as the pair has 4,240 points for their eight best SWATCH FIVB World Tour finishes since May 2007. Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and Elaine Youngs (El Toro, Calif.), who placed fifth this week, have 4,300 points entering the final two Beijing qualifying events in Moscow and Marseille.
For the season, May-Treanor and Walsh have posted a 21-0 match mark by winning 42 of 45 sets. The Americans current record SWATCH FIVB World Tour winning streak is at 62 as May-Treanor and Walsh have won 75 of their last 76 international beach volleyball matches since the end of the 2006 season.
May-Treanor, who has now won 37 SWATCH titles with the first three gold medals with Holly McPeak in 2000, was named the SWATCH most outstanding player for the third-straight FIVB event. Walsh now has 36 FIVB crowns as she won 2004 SWATCH Grand Slam events with Wacholder in France and Austria.
While both gold-medal finalists have all but secured their spots in the Beijing 2008 Olympics, the third-place match featured two teams seeking to improve their qualifying point totals for the Summer Games in the Chinese capital that starts August 9.
With the Beijing 2008 Olympics starting in less than eight weeks, the ConocoPhillips Grand Slam is the third to last qualifying event for the Summer Games as the process runs through July 20. The SWATCH FIVB World Tour continues next week in Russia for the first stop in Moscow since 1999. After a week off for the European Championships in Hamburg, Germany, France hosts the final Beijing qualifier July 15-20 in Marseille.
Dalhausser and Rogers Advance to Men’s Semifinal
Top-seeded Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) became the first U.S. team to advance to a ConocoPhillips Grand Slam men’s semifinal after scoring wins over tandems from Japan and China on Saturday.
With a 21-17, 21-19 quarterfinal win in 44 minutes over fifth-seeded Penggen Wu and Linyin Xu of China, Dalhausser and Rogers gained their sixth-straight SWATCH FIVB World Tour semifinal appearance as they have placed second (Berlin) and first (Paris) in the first two international Grand Slam events this season. The reigning world champions, Dalhausser and Rogers will play 13th-ranked Dutchmen Bram Ronnes and Emiel Boersma in Sunday’s second semifinal match.
Completing the 1-2 run to the Stavanger semifinals Saturday were two wins by second-seeded Julius Brink and Christoph Dieckmann. The Germans, who won their third SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal earlier this season in Barcelona, gained a spot in the semifinal with a 21-19, 21-17 win in 44 minutes over 11th-seeded Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.).
Gibb and Rosenthal advanced to the third round by defeating 14th-seeded compatriots Stein Metzger (Honolulu, Hawai'i) and Mark Williams (Los Angeles, Calif.), 21-15, 15-21, 15-12. Germany’s 12th-seeded Jonas Reckermann and Mischa Urbatzka eliminated seventh-seeded Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Casey Jennings (Las Vegas, Nev.) in the second round.
Complete results, photos and more information are available on the FIVB beach Web site at www.fivb.org/EN/BeachVolleyball/index.asp.