|GSTAAD, SWITZERLAND, June 19, 2004 - While one streak ended two weeks ago in Southern California, another string of successes continued here Saturday for Misty May and Kerri Walsh as the United States Beach Volleyball tandem won the 1to1 Energy Open women's title.
Played in cool and damp conditions in this Swiss community, the top-seeded May and Walsh scored a 26-28, 21-17 and 15-10 win in 61 minutes over second-seeded Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede of Brazil.
May and Walsh, who saw their overall 90-match, 15-event win streaks snapped June 6 in Manhattan Beach, have now won 46-straight SWATCH-FIVB World Tour matches. The Americans last defeat on the international circuit was to Ana Paula and Pires in the finals of the 2003 Norwegian Open in Stavanger.
With the gold medal, the Americans shared the $27,000 first-place prize and won 1to1 Energy Open "cow bell" for the third-straight year. The Brazilians split $18,000 for placing second. Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs of the United States shared $14,000 for earning the bronze medal when Ana Paula Connelly and Sandra Pires forfeited the third-place match due to injuries.
"The weather really did not hurt us as much as playing against such a great team as Adriana and Shelda," said Walsh after the match. "They have been the most successful team ever with so many titles, world championships and Olympic medals. Our real focus is on Athens. Hopefully, today's win will start a string of successes in Europe that concludes with a medal in Greece."
May and Walsh have now won the last seven SWATCH-FIVB World Tour tournaments they have entered, including the FIVB World Championships last October in Rio de Janeiro where they also defeated Adriana and Shelda in the finals
Adriana and Shelda, who won the first two "cow bell" awards here in 2001 and 2002, have now lost their last six matches to May and Walsh, including two previous meetings this season in Brazil and Greece. Overall, May and Walsh have a 13-7 match mark against the Brazilians.
The 61-minute title match saw Adriana and Shelda score a 28-26 first-set win in 26 minutes. The opening set had five lead changes, 19 ties with the Brazilians winning on their eighth-set point as May hit her cross court shot attempt into the net.
The Americans never trailed in the second by scoring six of the last nine points. In the third and deciding set, May and Walsh led 4-2, 6-3 and 10-6 before the Brazilians closed the deficit to 10-9 by scoring three-straight points. Again, May and Walsh closed the match by scoring five of the last six points. The United States has now won 31 of 56 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour gold medal finals with the Brazilians in 110 international events.
Adriana and Shelda were playing in their 52nd gold medal match in 84 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events together. The Brazilians captured their 30th international crown two weeks ago in Japan. May and Walsh won the first two events this season in Brazil and Greece followed by a McPeak/Youngs gold medal in China.
The 1to1 Energy Open was the fifth women's event on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour. Competition for the women continues next week in Germany followed by stops in Norway, Mallorca, France and Austria before the 2004 Athens Games. The season ends in September with events in Italy and Brazil.