U.S. Women’s Beach Teams to Battle in Dubai Final

Oct. 10, 2008, 5 p.m. (ET)
B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800
E-Mail: bj.evans@usav.org   

Release by:
Jeff Lajoie
Intern, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800
E-Mail: jeff.lajoie@usav.org  

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 10, 2008)
- It will be an all-American beach volleyball final at the SWATCH FIVB World Tour event in Dubai.

The U.S. women's teams of Kerri Walsh (Saratoga, Calif.)/Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and Jen Boss (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.)/April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) each scored straight-set victories in the semifinals on Friday and will battle head-to-head in the championship match on Saturday at Jumeirah Beach Park.

"Our goal is to end the season with a gold medal," Ross told the FIVB.  "It is awesome that two American teams will compete for the gold medal tomorrow evening.  We have really enjoyed our stay in Dubai, but it would be even better with a gold medal around our necks."

Boss and Ross, seeded third, were dominant in their semifinal win on Friday, as they swept Austrian sisters, and No. 10 seeds, Doris and Stefanie Schwaiger, 21-9, 21-16, in just 36 minutes.

Walsh and Branagh, the top-seeded pair in the draw, took care of business against another set of sisters in Brazilians Maria Clara and Carolina Salgado, 21-15, 23-21, in 40 minutes.

The Salgados, seeded second, will meet the Schwaigers in the third-place match on Saturday.

Branagh, partnering with Walsh for the first time internationally, has enjoyed the chance to play with the two-time Olympic gold medalist.

"It is great playing with Kerri," Branagh told the FIVB.  "It has been easy playing with her since she competes very hard and works to make you a better player.  We'll have our hands full against Jen and April.  Obviously, they will have the experience edge on us as a team."

Saturday's final will be the third international title match for Boss and Ross as partners, with the pair winning a Grand Slam title in Stavanger, Norway in 2007.

Walsh has won 37 gold medals on the international circuit while Branagh and Elaine Youngs teamed to capture gold in Barcelona earlier this year for her lone victory.

Neither team has dropped a set in Dubai and both sport perfect 5-0 records in the tournament.

Complete results and photos are available on the FIVB beach web site at www.fivb.org/EN/BeachVolleyball/index.asp.