COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 7, 2012) – If the results in Gstaad are any indication, U.S. beach volleyball teams are peaking at exactly the right time.
With 20 days to go until the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the U.S. women’s beach team of Misty May-Treanor (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Kerri Walsh (San Jose, Calif.), seeded No. 6, picked up its first FIVB World Tour victory of the season Saturday as it defeated Netherlands’ fifth-seeded Sanne Keizer and Marleen Van Iersel, 21-10, 21-13 in 32 minutes in Gstaad, Switzerland.
On the men’s side, the U.S. teams of Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Calif.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.), who have won in Gstaad twice, will play compatriots Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) in the semifinals on Sunday, guaranteeing the United States at least one medal.
All three U.S. teams will compete in London along with the women's team of Jennifer Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.), who finished fifth in Gstaad.
In the women’s gold medal final, neither set was close as May-Treanor and Walsh built a comfortable cushion quickly in both sets. Keizer and Van Iersel seldom stopped May-Treanor’s attacks or Walsh’s blocks.
“It is first of all very exciting to play against such a young, fired-up team and to see them in the finals,” May-Treanor said in an FIVB press release. “We needed to stay balanced against the Dutch, they are always dangerous competitors. I am also happy to see the Netherlands, the Swiss and the USA on the podium. This makes a great picture. I would like to get used to it.
“It has been my very last world tour event here as a player. It is just so wonderful up here. I will come back in the crowd next time, cheering for Kerri.”
Walsh added, “I am first of all so proud of Misty. It was our last event before London and she just did a great job.
“Now we will go home and practice on things that will make is even better for London. It has been a frustrating season for us without a victory on the tour until today.”
In Saturday’s women’s semifinals, May-Treanor and Walsh overpowered Switzerland’s Simone Kuhn and Nadine Zumkehr in twin sets, 21-13, 21-14 in 34 minutes. May-Treanor and Walsh will share $43,500 for the victory.
In Saturday’s men’s quarterfinals, top-seeded Dalhausser and Rogers eliminated Brazil’s No. 5 Pedro Cunha and Ricardo Santos in a tough, three-set match, 21-18, 30-32, 15-10 in 1 hour, 14 minutes. The second set score (32-30) and the length of the match were both highs for the tournament.
“This tournament is one of my favorites,” Dalhausser said in an FIVB press release. “First of all because it is such a nice area, the mountains and the people are so nice here. I especially love the local food, in particular, ‘Birchermusli’ (sort of yogurt with fruits and cereals in it) – I grew up with this stuff, so a lot of memories come back when I am here about my first years as a child here in Switzerland.
“Tomorrow we will have a very, very tough match against Jake and Sean. They are very strong and want to knock us off of being No. 1 in the USA. We need to have a very solid, steady, good performance to beat them tomorrow. We have played them a lot, won a lot of matches against them, but almost all were very close from start to finish.”
No. 3-seeded Gibb and Rosenthal knocked off Brazil’s 23rd-seeded country quota, qualification tournament survivors Rhooney Ferramenta and Thiago Santos Barbosa, 21-17, 21-16 in 38 minutes.
Dalhausser and Rogers will play Gibb and Rosenthal in the Sunday’s second semifinal (2 a.m. PT) while Brazil’s second-seeded Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego will play Italy’s 13th-seeded Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai in the first semifinal (1 a.m. PT).
Dalhausser and Rogers are in their 54th FIVB World Tour event together and have earned their 42nd final four appearance, while Gibb and Rosenthal are in their 59th world tour event together and this is their 12th final four appearance. In the series between these two teams, Dalhausser and Rogers have a 14-5 advantage on the world tour.
Two of the last three times they met were in gold medal matches, both were won by Dalhausser and Rogers and both lasted over an hour and went three sets before a winner was decided. The meetings were last year in Quebec City, Canada and this year in Shanghai, China.
The U.S. team of Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Nick Lucena (Fort Lauderdale, Calif.), seeded No. 7, fell to Cerutti and Rego, 21-9, 21-19 in 37 minutes. Fuerbringer and Lucena finish fifth in Gstaad.
Complete information about the FIVB World Tour is available on the FIVB web site.