Manager, Media Relations and Publications
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 10, 2008) - The U.S. men's beach volleyball team of Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal will play Germany's Julius Brink and Christoph Dieckmann in Sunday's final match of the SWATCH FIVB World Tour event in Prague, Czech Republic. With 13th-seeded Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) playing the 11th-seeded German team for the US$28,000 first-place prize at the Stvanice Stadium, it will mark the first-time in nearly 13 seasons of SWATCH play that two teams seeded lower than 10th will compete for an FIVB beach volleyball title.
Gibb and Rosenthal, who advanced to their first SWATCH FIVB World Tour final since the end of the 2006 season in Mexico, started the upset action Saturday afternoon by scoring a 21-17, 17-21, 18-16 win in 70 minutes over second-seeded Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos of Brazil. It was Gibb and Rosenthal's fourth win in five meetings with the reigning Olympic champions as Emanuel and Ricardo had to eliminate eighth-seeded Mischa Urbatzka and Jonas Reckermann of Germany (21-13, 21-16) in 43 minutes to reach the Prague 2008 Open semifinals. The Americans, who were fourth in the FIVB season opener in Australia at the end of March, are now 5-0 this week to improve their season record to 9-2.
"What a match," said Gibb, who has a 1-2 record in SWATCH gold-medal matches with Rosenthal. "We were down 13-11 with the Brazilians serving in the deciding set. We made a couple of big plays to tie it and we were able to maintain our advantage by not giving Emanuel and Ricardo a chance to serve for the match. They are a great team and we were fortunate to play a little better at the end."
Like Gibb and Rosenthal, Brink and Dieckmann advanced to the semifinals through the winners' bracket with four-straight victories before scoring a 2-0 (21-18, 21-15) win in 43 minutes over seventh-seeded Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuil of the Netherlands. There is more information, results and photos available on the FIVB beach volleyball Web site at www.fivb.org/EN/BeachVolleyball/index.asp