Women's Olympic Games, Athens GREECE
From 14 August To 24 August 2004

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Top-seeded Americans & Brazilians Notch Olympic Beach Volleyball Wins Sunday
Athens, Greece, August 15, 2004 - All three of the top-seeded teams in the women's Athens 2004 Olympic Games competition won as expected here Sunday with the tandems of Misty May/Kerri Walsh, Adriana Behar/Shelda Bede and Ana Paula Connelly/Sandra Pires posting pool victories.

With May returning after missing the last three SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events in Norway, France and Austria, the top-seeded American tandem scored a 21-9 and 21-16 win in 35 minutes over Chiaki Kusuhara and Ryo Tokuno of Japan in a Pool A Beach Volleyball match.

The victory was an "ideal" gift for Walsh, who celebrated her 26th birthday Sunday. May was returning to competition for the first-time in three weeks as she has been hampered since the first of June with an abdominal strain.

Adriana and Shelda, the 2000 silver medallists at the Sydney Olympic Games, dominated Leigh-Ann Naidoo and Julie Willand of South Africa 21-7 and 21-10 in a 35-minute Pool B match. The Brazilians won the 1999 and 2001 FIVB World Championships before finishing second to May and Walsh last October in the 2003 worlds in Rio de Janeiro.

Ana Paula and Pires won their Pool C match by defeating Nila Ann Hakedal and Ingrid Torlen 21-18 and 21-19 in 47 minutes as the No. 3-seeded Brazilians had to rally in the second set to defeat the Norwegians. Ana Paula and Pires were the 2003 FIVB season point's champions.

Also winning Sunday were Eva Celbova and Sona Novakova of the Czech Republic, Cuba's Tamara Peraza and Dalixia Fernandez Grasset and Susanne Lahme and Danja Musch of Germany.

Host Greece' Vassiliki Arvaniti and Efthalia Koutroumanidou forced the Germans to a third set before Lahme and Musch won 21-16, 16-21 and 15-10 in a Pool C match. Celbova and Novakova scored a 21-19 and 21-16 win in 45 minutes over Rebekka Kadijk and Marrit Leenstra of the Netherlands in a Pool A match.

Larrea Peraza and Fernandez Grasset, the 2003 Pan American Beach Volleyball champions, out-lasted Lucilla Perrotta and Daniela Gattelli of Italy in a Pool B match by the score of 21-17, 18-21 and 15-11 in 61 minutes.

Sunday's women's play was the second of six days of women's pool play where 16 of the 24 teams in the competition will advance to the elimination bracket. The women's medal matches are scheduled for August 24.