24th April 01:53
BEACH VOLLEYBALL - USA's May & Walsh Add Greece Title
RHODES, GREECE – After placing ninth and third in their first two
visits to this Greek island, the "third-time was the charm" for Misty
May and Kerri Walsh here Sunday (May 23) as the world's top-ranked
women's pro beach volleyball team captured the $180,000 SWATCH-FIVB
World Tour title as two teams from the United States competed for a
gold medal for the first-time in 14 international events.
With their two wins Sunday, including a 21-17 and 21-13 victory in 34
minutes over sixth-seeded Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs in the title
match, May and Walsh have now won 80-straight pro beach events enroute
to their 14th-straight title. In collecting a $27,000 check for the
first-place finish, May and Walsh have now won five titles this
McPeak and Youngs won the inaugural women's Rhodes tournament in 2002
when they defeated Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst, the Sydney 2000
Olympic gold medallists, in the finale. In an all-Brazilian 2003
final, Ana Paula Connelly and Sandra Pires defeated Shelda Bede and
Adriana Behar in the title match.
Due to their participation in a domestic event in San Diego, McPeak
and Youngs missed the 2003 Rhodes event. The San Diego win was the
last title for McPeak and Youngs, who were seeking their seventh crown
together Sunday. McPeak also won her last championship in San Diego
as she is within one title of tying Karolyn Kirby's record 67 pro
beach crowns for women.
Despite losing the final, McPeak and Youngs still shared $18,000 for
the silver medal finish. May and Walsh have now won the last 12
matches against McPeak and Youngs enroute to a 15-2 career mark
against their American rivals. Sunday's second-place also helped
McPeak and Youngs erase placing ninth, fifth and seventh in their last
three FIVB starts.
McPeak and Youngs' last win over May and Walsh was in the finals of a
SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event in September 2002 at Vitoria, Brazil.
The event was also the last time for an All-American gold medal match.
Sunday's final will also mark the 11th-time in 107 "open" FIVB events
where two teams from the United States played for an international
Both United States women's teams won their semi-final matches Sunday
morning to advance to the finals in the $180,000 event. With Annett
Davis and Jenny Johnson Jordan also competing in the international
"final four" this weekend, it marked the first-time that the United
States had three teams in the semi-finals since 2000 (a span of 41
Although finishing fourth this weekend after losing the bronze medal
match to second-seeded Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar (23-25, 21-16 and
15-11 in 56 minutes)., Davis and Johnson still moved ahead of McPeak
and Youngs on the United States' Olympic qualifying list. Davis and
Johnson split $11,000 for their "final four" finish while the
Brazilians shared $14,000.
May and Walsh are the No. 1 ranked team in the world on the Olympic
qualifying list with 3,864 points from their best eight finishes on
the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour since January 2003. Davis and Johnson
Jordan now have 2,558 points followed by McPeak and Youngs at 2,554.
May and Walsh opened play Sunday by defeating second-seeded Shelda
Bede and Adriana Behar from Brazil 21-16 and 21-18 in a 38-minute
semi-final match. May and Walsh have won their last five matches
against the Brazilians to improve their mark to 12-7 against Shelda
After losing their first set semi-final set Sunday to Davis and
Johnson Jordan 21-15, McPeak and Youngs captured the final two sets
21-19 and 15-10 to win the 53-minute match. The victory also avenged
a semi-final loss to Davis and Johnson Jordan two weeks ago on the
domestic tour in Austin, Tex. McPeak and Youngs now have a 12-4 mark
against Davis and Johnson Jordan as Sunday's match was the first-time
the two teams had met on the international tour.
"We are desperate to go to the Olympic Games, so our semi-final win
Sunday was huge for us in terms of the qualification battle between
ourselves and Davis and Johnson Jordan. Our biggest focus right now is
on reaching the Olympics in Athens, " said McPeak, who entered the
weekend with a 26-point lead over their American rivals.
May and Walsh have now won 25 pro beach titles together, including 13
on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour. All of Walsh's titles have been with
May, who now has won 30 career tournaments since becoming a full-time
beach player in 2000 when she qualified for the Sydney 2000 Olympic
Games with McPeak.
Winners of their last six international starts, including the FIVB
World Championships last October in Rio de Janeiro, May and Walsh have
also won 40-straight matches on the SWATCH tour. The last time May
and Walsh dropped a match was last season on July 5 when Ana Paula
Connolly and Sandra Pires of Brazil scored a 21-19 and 21-15 win over
the Americans in the finals of the Norwegian Open in Stavanger. Ana
Paula and Pires are not competing this weekend along with Australia's
top women's team of Natalie Cook and Nicole Sanderson.
Both teams have faced May and Walsh in AVP Tour finals this season.
McPeak and Youngs dropped April title matches to May and Walsh in
Florida and Arizona while Davis and Johnson Jordan were defeated by
the top-ranked team in Texas earlier this month. Davis and Johnson
Jordan defeated McPeak and Youngs in the Austin semi-finals to snap a
six-match losing streak against their AVP rivals.
May and Walsh are scheduled to miss the next two SWATCH-FIVB World
Tour events in China and Japan before returning to international for
the final three Olympic qualifying events in Switzerland, Germany and
Norway. Both the tandems of McPeak/Youngs and Davis/Johnson Jordan
are scheduled to compete in Shanghai, China this coming week.
For news, results, standings and more go to http://www.FIVB.org, http://www.USAV.org
Women's Greece Open Main Draw Results – May 23
· Misty May/Kerri Walsh, United States (No. 1-seeded Main
Draw team) def. Shelda Bede/Adriana Behar, Brazil (2), 21-16 and 21-18
· Holly McPeak/Elaine Youngs, United States (6) def. Annett
Davis/Jenny Johnson Jordan, United States (4), 15-21, 21-19 and 15-10
Bronze Medal Match (winner places third, split $14,000; loser places
fourth, split $11,000)
· Shelda/Adriana Behar, Brazil (2) def. Davis/Johnson
Jordan, United States (4), 23-25, 21-16 and 15-11 (56).
Gold Medal Match (winner places first, split $27,000; loser places
fourth, split $18,000)
· May/Walsh, United States (1) def. McPeak/Youngs, United
States (6), 21-17 and 21-13 (34).