Branagh, Walsh Win All-American Final in Dubai
B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 11, 2008) - Olympians Nicole Branagh and Kerri Walsh outlasted U.S. teammates Jen Boss and April Ross to win the SWATCH FIVB World Tour event on Saturday in Dubai.
Top-seeded Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and Walsh (Saratoga, Calif.) defeated Boss (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and Ross (Newport Beach, Calif.), 21-18, 21-19, in 46 minutes over the third-seeded Boss and Ross to share the $28,000 first-place prize while the losers split $19,500 for the silver medal finish.
In winning her 38th international gold medal, Walsh tied longtime partner Misty May-Treanor (Costa Mesa, Calif.) for the most titles at FIVB-sanctioned events. May-Treanor did not enter the $350,000 Dubai Open event due to her participation on "Dancing with the Stars, from which she has had to withdraw due to a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Walsh and May-Treanor captured 35 FIVB titles together, including two Olympic and three world championship gold medals. May-Treanor's first three SWATCH titles were with Holly McPeak (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) in 2000. Walsh claimed two FIVB crowns in 2004 with Rachel Wacholder (Laguna Beach, Calif.) when May-Treanor was sidelined with an abdominal strain prior to the Athens Olympic Games.
"It is good to finish the season with a gold medal while having the opportunity to play with Kerri," Branagh told the FIVB. "I felt we got stronger as a team with each match. Today's finale featured two teams with big and physical players. We just made the plays at the right time."
In the bronze medal match featuring "Sister Acts" from Austria and Brazil, Carolina and Maria Salgado scored a 20-22, 21-18, 15-7 victory in 54 minutes over Doris and Stephanie Schwaiger.
Complete results and photos are available on the FIVB beach web site at www.fivb.org/EN/BeachVolleyball/index.asp.