Olympic Volleyball 2012: Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh Day 11 Results

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Olympic Volleyball 2012: Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh Day 11 Results

Another day, another win on the beach for Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh.

This time around, however, it wasn't quite as easy against Zhang Xi and Xue Chen of China. 

The Americans, appropriately enough for a game played on the sand, dug themselves an early hole, falling behind 13-7 in the first set after a bunch of missed dig attempts by May-Treanor. 

Because it's more difficult to get points from your own serve, it's very unlikely to come back from such a large deficit. But there's a reason these ladies are considered the best ever. The defending champs went on a 6-0 run that included three successful dig attempts and a huge block from each woman. 

From there, it returned to the expected back and forth action. The Americans jumped ahead 20-18, but Chen and Xi responded with two crucial points to stay alive in the set.

Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

But after yet another block from Walsh (her third of the set) and a powerful kill from May-Treanor, the Americans took the early lead in the match with a 22-20 set win. 

That momentum carried into the second set. 

May-Treanor and Walsh jumped out to a 4-1 lead and looked intent on rolling to yet another straight-set victory.

Not so fast.

With Team USA leading 16-14, China reeled off three straight points to take the lead in the set. A few more back and forth responses, however, moved the score to 20-20. 

That's when things got really good.

With the ball in hand, the Americans were still at a disadvantage, but May-Treanor pulled off two ridiculous digs in the same exhaustive rally, giving the U.S. the lead. A Walsh block on the next point ended the match—22-20, 22-20. 

Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

May-Treanor finished with 22 kills and 17 digs while Walsh chipped in three aces, eight kills and four huge, timely blocks. 

The two-time Olympic gold medalists may have dropped a set for the first time in their Olympic history during group play, but this match, which marks their 20th straight Summer Games victory, proved they still aren't going anywhere.

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Many people saw an upset looming, and while this turned out to be Team USA's toughest match yet, the dynamic duo, in its most impressive win in a long time, proved the critics wrong.

In their attempt for a third gold medal, May-Treanor and Walsh will either take on fellow countrywomen Jen Kessy and April Ross, or Larissa Franca and Juliana Silva—the top-ranked team in the world from Brazil. 

One thing is certain, though: No matter who they face, calling May-Treanor and Walsh anything but the favorites to continue their dominant run through women's beach volleyball would be a mistake. 

 

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