B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 27, 2008) - After three rounds of elimination play, two U.S. women's beach volleyball teams have advanced to the semifinals of this week's SWATCH FIVB World Tour event in Stavanger Norway on Vaagen Harbour.
Unfortunately, the U.S. team of top-seeded Misty May-Treanor (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Kerri Walsh (Santa Clara, Calif.) will have to play their compatriots, eighth-seeded Jen Boss (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.), the defending ConocoPhillips Grand Slam champions, in Saturday's semifinal.
Meanwhile, four U.S. men's beach teams have advanced from pool play to the elimination round.
The 10th annual ConocoPhillips Grand concludes Sunday with the men's semifinal and men's and women's medal matches. The winning teams will each share the $43,500 first-place prizes.
May-Treanor and Walsh scored wins over teams from Cuba and Brazil on Friday to net their 51st SWATCH FIVB World Tour semifinal appearance in 58 international beach volleyball starts together since 2001.
With May-Treanor and Walsh's 21-15, 21-12 win in 31 minutes over sixth-seeded Talita Antunes and Renata Ribeiro of Brazil, they improved their SWATCH FIVB World Tour match winning streak to 60 as the reigning Olympic champions have won 72 of their last 73 international matches since November 2006.
With the 2008 ConocoPhillips Grand Slam being their fourth appearance together in Norway, May-Treanor and Walsh will be looking for their first Norwegian title after placing fourth, second and third in three previous events.
"We want the sword," May-Treanor said Wednesday. "Since this is our last FIVB event before the Olympics, we feel it is important to finish our travels the past three weeks with our first title in Norway. This is a great venue and the people of Norway are excellent hosts."
Boss and Ross advanced to their fourth SWATCH semifinal in 16 FIVB events with a 16-21, 21-19, 15-11 win in 54 minutes over 19th-seeded Stephanie Pohl and Okka Rau of Germany. May-Treanor and Walsh lead the overall series with Boss and Ross 12-1, including 4-0 on the SWATCH circuit.
The second-seeded U.S. women's team of Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and Elaine Youngs (El Toro, Calif.), the silver medalists in last week's Grand Slam event in Paris, lost in the third round to Greece's 12th-seeded Vasiliki "Vasso" Karantasiou and Vasiliki Arvaniti, 21-16, 16-21, 15-13. Karantasiou and Arvaniti knocked out the U.S. team of Tyra Turner (Fort Myers Beach, Fla.) and Rachel Wacholder (Laguna Beach, Calif.) out of the competition in the second round, 13-21, 20-22.
With a U.S. team guaranteed a spot in a SWATCH women's gold-medal match for the fifth-straight week, the bottom half of the bracket will feature fifth-seeded Shelda Bede and Ana Paula Connelly of Brazil against Arvaniti and Karadassiou of Greece.
On the men's side, top-seeded Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.), seventh-seeded Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Casey Jennings (Las Vegas, Nev.) and 11th-ranked Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) all advanced straight from pool play to the third round.
Stein Metzger (Honolulu, Hawai'i) and Mark Williams (Los Angeles, Calif.), ranked 14th, will have to play Norway's 10th-ranked Björn Maaseide and Iver Andreas Horrem on Saturday in the first round after going 2-1 in pool play.
Complete results, photos and more information are available on the FIVB beach web site at www.fivb.org/EN/BeachVolleyball/index.asp.