Aug. 22, 2004
By CHRIS DUNCAN
AP Sports Writer
ATHENS, Greece (AP) - America's two beach volleyball duos won Olympic quarterfinal matches Sunday to set up a showdown for a berth in the gold-medal match.
Fourth-ranked Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs defeated the eighth-ranked German pair of Stephanie Pohl and Okka Rau 21-17, 21-17 before top-seeded Misty May and Kerri Walsh ousted No. 16 Guylaine Dumont and Annie Martin of Canada 21-19, 21-14.
"We have been wanting to play them for a long time. We know they've got a lot more pressure on them" Youngs said of her friendly American rivals.
"I'm so proud of both of our teams for getting this far," Walsh said. "But we want to come out on top tomorrow."
McPeak and Youngs have been the top team in the world this summer, with six wins and 13 top-10 finishes. May and Walsh were the best before that, winning 90 consecutive matches and 15 straight events until May injured her abdominal muscle.
May and Walsh have won 16 of 18 meetings in the series, including the last 13. McPeak said she and Youngs are ready for the rematch.
"We've lost to them a bunch, but a lot of times because we haven't played our best volleyball," said McPeak, the sport's winningest female player. "We've really hit our stride this summer and we haven't been able to face that team when we're at our strengths. I'm looking forward to it."
McPeak and Youngs controlled their quarterfinal match from the start, while May and Walsh struggled early. Dumont and Martin led 18-17 in the opening set before the 6-foot-3 Walsh put away consecutive spikes to start a clinching 4-1 spurt. The Americans never trailed in the second set.
May and Walsh are the only team - men's or women's - which hasn't dropped a set in Athens. They haven't lost a set to McPeak and Youngs since August 2003, a span of seven matches.
"Now it's 0-0," May said. "Those matches don't count. Kerri and I just need to concentrate on what we do on our side, and everything will fall into place."