Walsh, May-Treanor hope to defend Olympic beach gold


Stanford grad Kerri Walsh and her beach volleyball teammate Misty May-Treanor have become synonymous with gold medals and winning. The American duo are taking aim at defending their Olympic title from Beijing and they have to be considered the early favorites.

Walsh and May-Treanor won the gold medal of the $600,000 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour A1 Grand Slam presented by Volksbank on Saturday in Klagenfurt, Austria in front of a packed crowd of approximately 8,000.

The former collegiate All-Americans, seeded fourth in the tournament, beat China's second-seeded team of Chen Xue and Xi Zhang, 21-14, 26-24, in 37 minutes.

It was the 11th time the two teams have met, with Walsh and May-Treanor winning for the ninth time. Xue and Zhang earned the bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics.

Walsh and May-Treanor (48-9 on the year) won their 38th FIVB international gold medal in their 58th final-four appearance.

"I never get over the emotion of this place, the fans get you so pumped up it's hard to keep from getting so excited that you make mistakes," Walsh said. "Our goal is the 2012 London Olympics and these FIVB Swatch World Tour events are big steps on the road to London."

On the men's side, Stanford grad Matt Fuerbringer and teammate Nick Lucena reached the quarterfinals before bowing out. The U.S. team of Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers reached the semifinals.

Fuerbringer and Lucena downed Sweden's 25th-seeds Sascha Heyer and Sebastian Chevallier, 21-16, 21-16 in 39 minutes before falling to Germany's third-seeded team of Brink and Reckermann, 21-17, 21-19 in 44 minutes.

Men's volleyball

The United States men's junior national volleyball team clinched a spot in the championship semifinals of the FIVB world championships with a 25-21, 20-25, 26-24, 28-30, 15-11 victory over Spain on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro.

The Americans (2-0 in Pool E play, 4-1 overall) meet undefeated Russia on Sunday in the final pool play match. Both teams have already earned a berth in the championship round, which begins Tuesday.

Taylor Sander led the U.S. with 27 points on 25 kills, a block and an ace. Stanford sophomore Eric Mochalski added seven points with four kills and three blocks and Cardinal sophomore Brian Cook had two kills for Team USA.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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