(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
There aren’t too many teams in sports that have dominated the competition in the way that Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh have in beach volleyball. This weekend the pair collected their 4th FIVB Swatch World Tour win of the season and their 38th career victory on the international tour at the A1 Grand Slam in Klagenfurt, Austria. May-Treanor and Walsh won a hard fought battle against a dogged Chinese team of Chen Xue and Xi Zhang winning 21-14, 26-24. In the second set the Chinese team put up a huge fight tying the game 19 points and even having a set point against the American gold medalists.
This is the seventh and final of the ‘major’ tournaments on the FIVB world tour and for their victory Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh will split the $43,500 first place prize. This stop in Klagenfurt, Austria, is often called one of the ‘favorite stops’ on the world tour. The event is held in a custom built volleyball stadium and players compete in front of an almost always sold out and boisterous crowd of 8,000 people. According to the press release put out by the FIVB during the final match the crowd gave several standing ovations to the American champions:
“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,” said Walsh
On the men’s side, Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers, coming off two victories in a row, (coverage here and here) had some good play but came up a bit short of the gold. The American Olympic gold medal winning team, who went into the tournament ranked 2nd in the world, lost the semi-final match against the eventual winners, Brazilian team Pedro Cunha and Ricardo Santos. Rogers and Dalhausser would defeat Brazilians Joao Maciel and Bruno Oscar Schmidt in the ‘b’ final to take third place in the tournament. The Americans won $23,000 in prize money for their efforts.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Americans rock at volleyball.
UPDATE: Now with video!
It’s a good week for Walsh and May-Treanor; maybe they’ll make this week’s winners and losers list
But first, check out last week’s: