Olympic Beach Volleyball 2012 All-US Final: Would May-Treanor and Walsh Win?
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings cruised through the preliminary round of the beach volleyball competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, reducing opponents to tears—literally. April Ross and Jen Kessy have done much the same.
The two United States pairs seem to be on course for an all-American final, assuming they can both navigate tricky semifinals on Tuesday. Since beach volleyball became an Olympic sport in 1996, only Brazil has seen two teams from the same nation in the final on the women’s side, when Jackie Silva and Sandra Pires faced off against Mónica Rodrigues and Adriana Samuel in that first competition.
That year, the No. 1 seed and top Brazilian pair (Silva and Pires) defeated the No. 5 seed and second national pair. In 2012, the result may not be so clear cut.
May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings have only dropped one set in London, but Ross and Kessy have only lost one more. The No. 1 pair (May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings) has scored 137 points and given up 109, for a ratio of 1.257; the No. 2 pair is at 149-130, for a 1.146 ratio.
To put it much shorter, this match would be close.
Where May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings have an advantage is in their mentality. They have taken it upon themselves to "crush everybody" they play, Walsh Jennings told the AP (via The Washington Post) on Sunday.
"We don’t care where they’re from," she said. "I don’t want to let our opponents breathe. I don’t want to give them an edge. I don’t want them to feel comfortable for one second out there."
Judging by the reaction from 21-year-old Italian Marta Menegatti, the opponent who was left in tears during a changeover on Sunday, that strategy is working. They will have to keep up that mentality to get through No. 2 seed Xue Chen and Zhang Xi of China in the semifinal Tuesday.
Kessy and Ross have had an easier path to the semifinal than their fellow Americans. They could be feeling more rested than their opponents heading into the all-important last two games of the tournament.
First, they defeated No. 11 Swiss pair Simone Kuhn and Nadine Zumkehr. After Czechs Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova defeated No. 5 seed Maria Antonelli and Talita Antunes of Brazil, Kessy and Ross made quick work of them in two sets.
That set up a semifinal against the No. 1-seeded Larissa Franca and Juliana Silva of Brazil on Tuesday.
Both American teams will have to pull off an upset to face one another in the final. Kessy and Ross are seeded No. 4, and May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings are No. 3.
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