Women's competition, Stavanger
From 29 June To 3 July 2004

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USA's McPeak & Youngs Secure Gold Medal Match Spot
STAVANGER, NORWAY, July 3, 2004 - In an All-United States women's Beach Volleyball semi-final here Saturday morning, top-seeded Elaine Youngs advanced to the finals of the US$360,000 ConocoPhillips Open for the second-time in three years.

In defeating Kerri Walsh and Rachel Wacholer of the United States, May and Walsh will play winner of a USA-Canada match as third-seeded Annett Davis and Jenny Johnson Jordan play 12th-seeded Guylaine Dumont and Annie Martin of Canada. The two semi-final winners will played for the gold medal and the $27,000 first-place prize later Saturday.

After escaping with a 25-23 first-set win over the second-seeded Walsh and Wacholder, McPeak and Youngs roared to a 21-14 win in the second set. With the win in 46 minutes, McPeak and Youngs will be playing for their second Stavanger gold medal after defeating Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst for the 2002 crown. The Americans placed fourth here last season.

"Obviously, we played a lot better in the second set," said Youngs after the match. "We were able to take advantage of their early mistakes to gain quick control of the set. The opening set was close throughout and we made some key plays and forced some mistakes at the end to comeback for the opening set win."

Saturday's final will be McPeak and Youngs' ninth SWATCH-FIVB World Tour gold medal match together since becoming a team in 2002. The will be their third this season. After losing to Walsh and Misty May in the Greece final in mid-May, McPeak and Youngs captured the China stop the next week in Shanghai were they defeated Davis and Johnson Jordan in the finals.

Walsh picked up Wacholder for this week's event due to May's abdominal strain injury that forced the world's top-ranked team on the Olympic qualifying list with 3,960 points to forfeit two matches in Germany last week.

For McPeak and Youngs, Saturday's semi-final continued to secure their spot as the United States' No. 2-ranked team for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. With one match left Saturday, McPeak and Youngs have now totalled 3,260 points to rank fourth on the overall Olympic list for a team's best eight finishes together since the start of the 2003 season.

Since placing seventh in the first SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event this season in Brazil, McPeak and Youngs have finished second, first, third and third in their next four international starts before this week's stop on Vaagen Harbour. The pair has posted a 29-7 match mark this season to improve their career international record to 107-22.