|STAVANGER, NORWAY, July 3, 2004 - For the first time in 112 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events, the women from the United States captured all three podium spots as top-seeded Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs netted their second ConocoPhillips Open title here Saturday.
Before McPeak and Youngs scored a 21-17, 16-21 and 15-10 win in 49 minutes over third-seeded Annett Davis and Jenny Johnson Jordan in the All-American final on the Vaagen Harbour centre court, the United States' Kerri Walsh and Rachel Wacholder captured the bronze medal.
Playing in their first-ever Beach Volleyball event together, the second-seeded Walsh and Wacholder rallied to defeated 12th-seeded Guylaine Dumont and Annie Martin of Canada 18-21, 21-18 and 15-11. Wacholder was filling in for Walsh's regular partner Misty May, who is sidelined with an abdominal strain.
In addition to the post-event gifts and awards, McPeak and Youngs shared the $27,000 first-place prize while Davis and Johnson Jordan split $18,000 for second-place. Davis also captured the SWATCH "fastest" serve award (74.2 km/h). The bronze medal winners shared $14,000 while Dumont and Martin, who are the first Canadian women's team to appear in a FIVB "final four," split $11,000.
The United States had advanced three teams to a SWATCH-FIVB World Tour "final four" 10 previous times, including a 1, 2 and 4 finish earlier this season in Greece when Davis and Johnson dropped the bronze medal match to Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede of Brazil.
For McPeak and Youngs, it was their second title win this season against Davis and Johnson Jordan on the international circuit. The two teams played for the gold medal at May's China stop. McPeak and Youngs also played in the other All-American finale this season in Greece where Walsh and May captured the gold medal match.
Sunday's win was also McPeak's 19th on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour to tie her for third on the all-time list with Brazil's Sandra Pires. Adriana and Shelda top the list with 31 titles together. McPeak and Youngs won for the sixth time internationally, including a 2002 crown in Stavanger.
"This is great for all three teams to be on a podium," said McPeak. "When you have the top three seeds in an event, you get the feeling that you should win all three medals. Elaine and I have been playing good volleyball the last two months, and hopefully, this win will provide us a big lift into the Olympics. And, it was great playing before this crowd. They supported both teams and cheered for each point. What a great arena and atmosphere for our sport."
Despite finishing fourth, the Canadians will leave Vaagen Harbour as "big" winners. "Despite losing both games today, we are really proud of our play this weekend," said Dumont. "We helped secure our spot in the Olympics along with posting the best-ever finish by a women's team from Canada. We had a lot of fun playing together this weekend."