Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings will be contending for their third-straight Olympic title after defeating the Chinese in their semifinal match last night.
"We just defeated the best team in the world for the past year. These Chinese women are great athletes," said Walsh Jennings minutes after her and Teanor’s semifinal victory (via NBC). "We know we have this in us, we've just got to go execute."
It was not an easy victory for Treanor and Walsh. They narrowly beat the Chinese, who won bronze in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, in two 20-22 sets.
At one point in their first set, the Americans trailed 13-8 to the Chinese but managed to overcome the uphill battle to emerge victorious in their first set.
The second set was much closer—neither side was able to pull more than two points away from the other.
Walsh and Treanor lost the slim lead they had (16-17) and was prompted to take a timeout. Reluctant to let the game slip into a sudden death set, the Americans left their hearts on the sand as their determination and skill proved too much for the Chinese.
Walsh’s spike is a masterful combination of pinpointed accuracy and relentless power. With a partner like Treanor setting her up to a tee, the American sniper can pull the trigger at all parts of the field.
As strong as the Americans look in this event, Treanor and Walsh have shown that they are not unbeatable.
The American duo lost one set in this tournament—against the Austrian Schwaiger sisters during their final group match (via NBC). Treanor and Walsh regrouped after the wake-up call of a loss and defeated the Austrians.
Their matches against the Austrians and Chinese have shown that this American duo is virtually unaffected by what would otherwise be overwhelming pressure. The two Americans never lose sight of their imminent victory and never soften from their rock-hard composition.
Currently, on the other side of the Volleyball bracket, fellow American duo Jen Kessy and April Ross are battling rivals Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca of Brazil in a rainy semifinal for the chance to contend for the gold against Treanor and Walsh.
If Ross and Kessy, the number two American team behind Treanor and Walsh, can defeat Brazil, America will be guaranteed a gold medal in Women’s Volleyball.
Treanor and Walsh are already guaranteed a medal in the 2012 Olympic game—but the only color they are interested in is gold. Treanor and Walsh will seek a “three-peat” performance of their two previous Olympic gold medals, as they wait and see who they will play in the final.
If Treanor and Walsh are as composed and synchronized as they have been thus far, the impeccable duo will be a lock for the gold.