We know the American women will win a gold medal in beach volleyball…but which team will it be?
For the first time in Olympic history, it's an All-American final this afternoon in London when fourth-seeded Jen Kessy and April Ross meet defending gold medal winners Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh.
Treanor and Walsh are the heavy favorites to land their third consecutive gold medal against the lesser known “second team.”
This is when everything changes.
Ross and Kessy’s 21-15, 19-21, 12-15 victory over top-ranked Brazil was incredible as they showed the sort of perseverance and will that’s required from a champion. The Brazilians were almost flawless in the beginning, and the American duo refused to give in. They kept chipping away and eventually captured the momentum and the match.
Now they’ll be facing the champs and the pressure is going to be magnified yet again. As long as they don’t let the moment alter their play, the underdogs have a real shot at gold.
Kessy is a 6’0’’ setter from San Juan, Calif. who has insane precision right around the net. Ross is a 6’1’’ Costa Mesa, Calif. native who takes advantage of the great net play of Kessy by producing some outstanding spikes. She has won FIVB’s “Best Hitter” and “Best Server” award in 2011 as one of the fastest rising players in the sport.
You may be thinking “Big deal, they don’t have the talent to beat the incredible duo of May-Treanor and Walsh.”
The two teams have only squared off against each other once before, and the Kessy/Ross combination won in a 2008 AVP tournament.
Kessy and Ross have been training for this moment for four years. They have only dropped three sets in London thus far. It shows you just how locked in they are in the moment. Their opponents weren’t sure if they should make one last run until late in the training process. They have not looked like the dominant duo that has rolled through the last two Olympics.
Their fantastic teamwork and communication has gotten them this far, but now they’ll be playing the only team to ever beat the Brazilian squad in set losses at the Olympics. Kessy and Ross are red-hot and oozing with momentum as they enter the biggest moment of their lives.
It’s a win-win scenario for the Americans to have guaranteed themselves both the gold and silver medal, but that doesn’t mean this match isn’t going to be must-see T.V.
Expect a thrilling three-set match that ends with a brand new champion in women’s beach volleyball.