Photo: Courtesy FIVB
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 11, 2012) – The U.S. women’s beach volleyball team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh took the silver medal at the Moscow Grand Slam on Monday to earn their first podium appearance on the 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour.
On the men’s side, Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) strengthened their position in The Chase for London with a fifth-place finish in Moscow while Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Nick Lucena (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) placed ninth.
In the championship match, May-Treanor (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Walsh (San Jose, Calif.), seeded No. 6, fell to the top-seeded Chinese team of Chen Xue and Xi Zhang, 21-14, 21-14 in 34 minutes. The victory earned Xue and Xi their third gold medal at an FIVB event this season.
In Monday’s semifinals, the U.S. pair defeated Brazil’s No. 2-seeded Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta Da Silvia, 21-12, 22-20 in 36 minutes.
May-Treanor and Walsh tallied seven podium appearances last season including a first-place finish in Moscow.
The U.S. duo struggled to find their rhythm in the championship, letting Xue and Xi claim early leads in both sets. After falling behind 4-10 in the second set, the May-Treanor and Walsh showed flashes of their usual crisp play and focus as they closed the gap to 10-13, but it wasn’t enough. The Chinese sided out and pushed to 20-13 before losing the ball. Xue finished the match with a high dink over Walsh’s block.
“They earned it.” Walsh said in an FIVB press release. “We did not attack them enough. I know we can play a lot better and that on the other hand makes me happy.”
The U.S. men’s beach team of Gibb and Rosenthal went into Moscow with a 40-point lead over compatriots Fuerbringer and Lucena in the battle to decide the second pair to make the U.S. Men’s Olympic beach volleyball team (after Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers).
In the second round on Monday, No. 8-seeded Gibb and Rosenthal defeated Germany’s 19th-seeded Sebastian Dollinger and Stefan Windscheif 21-12, 21-18 in 36 minutes. Their run at Moscow ended in the third round with a loss to the second-seeded Brazilian team of Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego (No. 2), 21-18, 21-19 in 39 minutes.
Fuerbringer and Lucena, the No. 7 seed at Moscow, were upset on Monday in the second round by the Latvian team of Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Ruslans Sorokins (No. 13) 13-21, 21-11, 15-13 in 47 minutes and finished ninth.
For more information on The Chase for London, visit the USAV web site.