London, Great Britain, August 5, 2012 – After two dominanting performances by winning teams from China and the USA, the third time was when things got really close but USA’s Jennifer Kessy/April Ross eventually wore down Czech Republic’s Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova enough to kept the sold out stadium crowd on its collective feet as they won the third women’s quarterfinal match of the evening on the road to the gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games beach volleyball competition at Horse Guards Parade in central London.
A total 24 women’s beach volleyball teams from 17 countries started playing in London onJuly 28 in the purpose-built, sold-out 15,000-seat stadium on the grounds of the iconic Horse Guards Parade as the majestic venue also includes a portion of adjacent St. James Park in historic central London.
With the final women’s quarterfinal following soon after the USA victory, the quarterfinal winners will advance to the semifinals that will be held along with the men’s semifinals on Tuesday.
USA’s Kessy/Ross the 2009 FIVB SWATCH World Champions were in a tough battle with the young, less-experienced Czech Republic’s Kolocova/Slukova, and used experience to score enough and take advantage of miscues to win in two sets, 25-23, 21-18 in 49 minutes to advance to the semifinals.
In their first meeting of 2012 USA’s Kessy/Ross increased their international record against Czech Republic’s Kolocova/Slukova to 6-1. The Czech Republic’s Kolocova/Slukova, both just 24, leaves London with a 3-2 record and an official fifth place finish in the London 2012 Olympic Games. In the round of 16 the Czech women pulled off the biggest upset of the women’s competition when they defeated Brazil’s fifth-seeded Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes in three sets on Saturday.
In the first two quarterfinals tonight at Horse Guards Parade, China’s Chen Xue/Xi Zhang, the bronze medalists in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, eliminated Austria’s sisters Doris and Stefanie Schwaiger, 2-0 and USA’s Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh, two-time defending Olympic Gold Medalists won 19 consecutive matches in the Olympic Games without a loss defeating Italy’s Greta Cicolari/Marta Menegatti, 2-0.
The final quarterfinal features Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca, reigning FIVB SWATCH World Champions and six-time FIVB SWATCH World Tour champs meeting Germany’s Sara Goller/Lauras Ludwig.
The first set was extremely tight as both teams made spectacular crowd-pleasing serves, digs, kills and blocks and it was tied at every point from 13-13 to 23-23 as both teams saved set points before two hitting errors by the Czech team gave USA its final two points.
The second set, experience prevailed over agressive youth as after three ties (the last one at 6-6), USA’s Kessy/Ross score seven unanswered points to take a 13-6 lead and then after leading 17-11 saw the lead dwindle to 18-15 as Czech Republic’s Kolocova/Slukova rallied but the veteran USA team kept the three-point lead to the end, winning the set and match.
With USA’s Kessy/Ross victory, America will have two teams in the women’s final four for the second time (Athens 2004 was the other). For the USA statistically, Kessy had two ace serves, nine kills, three blocks and eight digs and Ross, her teammate for the last 69 international tournaments since 2007, had two aces as well, a game-high 20 kills and 10 digs. For the Czech Republic’s, Kolocova had two aces, nine kills and 13 digs and Slukova was credited with one ace, 12 kills, three blocks and six digs.
Afterwards, Kessy commented, “I was so impressed with April’s serving, every ball she got she put away and that’s why we managed to roll over the Czechs when they pushed on us. We had that cushin in the end, especially in the second set when they came back. We needed to win that first set as it was really crucial. I was impressed by our composure when it mattered, or at least most of the time.”
In their Tuesday semifinal, USA’s Kessy/Ross will meet the winner of tonight’s final quarterfinal between Brazil’s Juliana/Larissa and Germany’s Goller/Ludwig.
In the other semifinal on Tuesday, China’s Xue/Zhang will meet USA’s May-Treanor/Walsh.
Current event information is available at www.fivb.org.
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