LONDON (July 28, 2012) – Late night beach volleyball proved to be no problem for U.S. teams on Saturday as both Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal along with Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh won their opening pool play matches at the Horse Guards Parade venue.
Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.), seeded No. 4, opened the evening at 10 p.m. local time by defeating Grant Goldschmidt and Freedom Chiya (No. 21) of South Africa, 21-10, 21-11 in 33 minutes.
May-Treanor (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Walsh (San Jose, Calif.) followed that up at 11 p.m. with a 21-18, 21-19 victory over the Australian duo of Natalie "Nat" Cook and Tamsin Hinchley (No. 22). Cook is competing in her fifth Olympic Games while May-Treanor and Walsh are trying to win their third straight Olympic gold medal.
Cook and Hinchley held leads in both sets of the women’s match, including leads of 13-9 and 16-14 in the second set. But May-Treanor and Walsh maintained their composure and took advantage of Australia’s mistakes.
“I think every single match is going to be a challenge,” Walsh said. “The parity and depth on the women’s side is awesome.”
Gibb and Rosenthal, who finished fifth at the 2008 Olympic Games, never trailed in their match. In the first set they were leading 14-10 when Gibb scored on a kill and then served for the final six points. The score was tied 7-7 in the second set when Gibb scored on two straight attacks to pull ahead. Later, with the U.S. leading 14-11, the pair scored on South Africa’s error and Gibb then served for the final six points.
“This is what we live for,” Gibb said when asked if he was nervous during the opening match of the Olympic Games. “Once you get the nerves out of the way, it’s fine. I could go back out there right now.”
Gibb and Rosenthal will return to the sand on Monday to play Poland’s No. 9 Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel at 9 p.m. local time while May-Treanor and Walsh will take on No. 10 Marketa Slukova and Kristyna Kolocova.
On Sunday, the U.S. men’s beach volleyball team of Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.), seeded No. 2, will begin defense of their 2008 gold medal with a pool play match against Japan’s Kentaro Asahi and Katsuhiro Shiratori (No. 3) at 10 p.m. local time.
The U.S. women’s beach volleyball team of Jennifer Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.), seeded No. 24, will play their first Olympic match on Sunday at 9 p.m. local time against No. 21 Ana Gallay and Maria Virginia Zonta of Argentina.