Fortaleza, Brazil, September 29, 2007 -
The next to last women’s event on the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour calendar, the top-seeded May-Treanor and Walsh extended their international Beach Volleyball women streak to 35 by defeating the second-seeded Juliana and Larissa 21-16 and 21-14 in the 40-minute finale at the US$400,000 Banco do Brasil Open.
With their 30th SWATCH title in 54 FIVB starts together since 2001, May-Treanor and Walsh shared the $32,000 first-place prize. Juliana and Larissa, who are now 3-8 against May-Treanor and Walsh in FIVB gold medal matches, split $22,000 for second-place after winning their last three international starts in Norway, Finland and Russia.
“It was not our best Beach Volleyball in the first set,” said the 29-year old Walsh, who was named the SWATCH most outstanding player for the Banco do Brasil Open. “After trailing early, we were able to turn things around and make enough plays to win the first set. We played a lot better in the second set and put Juliana and Larissa on the defensive. The Brazilians are a great team and they are very deserving of winning the SWATCH tour championship.”
With her fifth event SWATCH most outstanding player award this season, Walsh was honored at Saturday’s ceremonies as the tour’s top player this season. Larissa was the 2006 top player while May-Treanor compiled the most SWATCH event MOPs to claim the 2005 honor.
Juliana and Larissa, who were dropping their 10th FIVB match in 13 meetings with the Americans since the formation of their partnership in 2004, secured the SWATCH point’s title Friday with a 19-21, 21-19 and 15-7 semi-final victory in 62 minutes over seventh-seeded Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede.
The SWATCH-FIVB World Tour point’s title is based on a team’s best 12 finishes on the 2007 calendar. Juliana and Larissa’s best 12 placements totaled 7,140 points. China’s Jia Tian/Jie Wang (6,740) and Chen Xu/Xi Zhang (5,870) rank second and third, respectively, and can not overcome the Brazilians in the Thailand season finale.
The reigning Olympic champions, May-Treanor and Walsh rank fifth internationally with 5,240 despite playing in only seven events this season. The American can move into the fourth spot ahead of Brazils Talita Antunes and Renata Ribeiro of Brazil (5,380) with a 13th or better finish in the women’s SWATCH-season finale in Phuket at the start of November.
With a 22-7 SWATCH gold medal match against Brazilians, May-Treanor and Walsh were also winning an event on the Praia de Iracema for the second-straight time after claiming a title in the 2004 season-opener in Fortaleza over Adriana and Shelda. May-Treanor and Walsh have also netted FIVB titles in Rio de Janeiro (2003 world championships) and Salvador (2005) while finishing second and third in Vitoria (2002 and 2006).
May-Treanor and Walsh improved their 2007 SWATCH mark to 47-1 by winning 94 of 102 sets this season. With a 311-35 match mark since forming their partnership in 2001, May-Treanor and Walsh have now shared $1,378,040 in international winnings to rank second behind Adriana and Shelda ($2,207,965).
In the third-place match, fifth-seeded Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs of the United States claimed their second-straight SWATCH bronze medal with a 21-16 and 21-14 win in 43 minutes over Adriana and Shelda to share the $16,000 prize. A six-time FIVB tour season point’s winner, Adriana and Shelda split $12,000 for fourth-place.
The last of 13 double gender events on the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour calendar, the Banco do Brasil Open concludes with the final men’s gold medal match of the season Sunday. Two teams from Brazil (Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos and Marcio Araujo/Fabio Magalhaes) have reached the semi-finals where the winner faces either reigning SWATCH-FIVB World champions Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers of the United States or Switzerland’s Martin Laciga/Jan Schnider in the finals.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS