Women's competition, Klagenfurt
From 28 July To 31 July 2004

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USA's Walsh & Wacholder Unbeaten Beach Volleyball Team on Lake Wörthersee Sand
KLAGENFURT, AUSTRIA, July 31, 2004 - For Rachel Wacholder, it was all about validating her finish with Kerri Walsh two weeks ago when the United States team scored six-straight wins to capture the Marseille Grand Slam gold medal for her biggest pay check as a pro Beach Volleyball player.

Well, Wacholder validated France with not just six-straight wins this week in the US$540,000 A1 Grand Slam on Lake Wörthersee, but she and Walsh put an exclamation point on their gold medal finish here Saturday by defeating top-seeded Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede of Brazil 21-13 and 21-7 in the 36-minute finale.

"All I heard when I returned home was that all the top teams in the world skipped France," said Wacholder, who is Misty May's replacement with Walsh. "I know in my heart that the Marseille win was special since it was my first title. But, this is one I will remember since Kerri and I defeated a two-time World championship team and Olympic medallists. I am so fortunate to be playing with such a great player as Kerri.

With the win, Walsh and Wacholder split the $40,500 first-place prize in only their third SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event. For Adriana and Shelda, the silver medal finish netted them a share of the $27,000 prize for second-place prize. It was Brazilians' 54th SWATCH gold medal match with 31 wins.

"I had a good feeling about this match," said Walsh, who was standing atop the A1 Grand Slam podium for the third-straight season after she and May captured the 2002 and 2003 Lake Wörthersee gold medals by defeating Brazilians in the finals. The title was also Walsh's 16th FIVB title since 2001.

"As I said before the match, I thought we matched up pretty good against Adriana and Shelda," Walsh added. "We did not allow Adriana and Shelda a chance to get any rhythm going against us. We were able to take advantage of their mistakes. Rachel was unbelievable. What a job she has done filling in for Misty the last three international events."

With their 22-20 and 21-19 semi-final win in 47 minutes over fifth-seeded Annett Davis and Jenny Johnson Jordan, the third-seeded Walsh and Wacholder set up another Brazil-USA women's final on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour. Competing in their first international event since winning the Berlin Grand Slam June 26, Adriana and Shelda scored a 21-15 and 21-19 semi-final win in 48 minutes over the second-seeded Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs.

The gold medal match was the 57th between the two countries since the start of the women's SWATCH-FIVB World Tour in August 1992. The United States has now won 32 of the gold medal matches. Adriana and Shelda were also involved in the finals earlier this season in Brazil and Switzerland with the May and Walsh with the Americans winning both times.

Wacholder has replaced May the past three international events in Norway, France and now Austria. Walsh and Wacholder placed third in Stavanger and defeated Davis and Johnson Jordan for the Marseille gold medal. May has played in only three events the past two months due to a lingering abdominal strain.

In the bronze medal match, Davis and Johnson Jordan scored a 21-17, 13-21 and 18-16 in 57 minutes over McPeak and Youngs. Davis, who also had the SWATCH fastest serve (76.4 k/ph), and Johnson split $21,000 for third-place while McPeak and Youngs shared $16,500.

The women's SWATCH-FIVB World Tour does not have an event scheduled in August due to the Olympics with the season ending with Beach Volleyball events in September at Milan, Italy and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.