Uploaded: Monday, August 6, 2012, 8:58 AM
Women's water polo, beach volleyball head into London Olympics semifinal showdowns
|Two-time defending Olympic gold medalists Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor swept their way into the semifinal of the women's beach volleyball competition in London with a 21-13, 21-13 victory over Italy's Marta Menegatti and Greta Cicolari on Sunday.
China's Xi Zhang and Chen Xue won their quarterfinal match, 21-18, 21-11, over Austria's Doris Schwaiger and Stephanie Schwaiger.
Americans April Ross and Jennifer Kessy also advanced to the semifinals after posting a 2-0 victory over Czech Republic's Marketa Slukova and Kristyna Kolocova in a later quarterfinal match.
Walsh and May-Treanor will meet the team from China in the semifinal match, scheduled to be played on Tuesday at Horse Guards Parade, located in central London.
The Americans earned a berth in the semifinals against Beijing bronze medalists Xue Chen and Zhang Xi.
The Chinese team has beaten the Americans the last three times they've met, including the final of the Moscow Grand Slam last month.
"We're a different team since then," Walsh Jennings said. "We're going to come out and give it all we can, because we have to."
Although they have nine losses and five wins against the Americans, the Chinese have not lost to Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor in a year, including a 21-14, 21-14 victory in Moscow this June.
"Losing is one thing," Walsh Jennings said. "But losing in a way that you can't walk away with your heads held high is another. Misty and I have really come together. We've looked at ourselves individually and as a team."
Against Italy, Walsh and May-Treanor recorded five consecutive points to snap a 5-5 tie in the first set and maintained the margin the rest of the way.
The Americans never trailed in either set. Italy was within 7-4 in the second set before the U.S. again recorded five straight points to take control.
Walsh and May-Treanor needed 33 minutes to complete the victory.
Women's water polo
Stanford senior Melissa Seidemann scored three goals and Cardinal grad Brenda Villa and Kelly Rulon each scored twice as the the U.S. advanced into the Olympic semifinals with a 9-6 win over Italy on Sunday.
The Americans will meet co-favorite Australia on Tuesday in the semifinals. The Aussies beat China in a high-scoring match, 20-18.
"They are the most talented team here," U.S. coach Adam Krikorian. "They are big, strong physically, swim fast, shoot well, good goalies, they don't have any weaknesses."
Betsey Armstrong recorded 13 saves for the Americans.
"Betsey was a wall in goal," Stanford freshman Maggie Steffens said. "To know you have that behind you is amazing."
After two quick Italian goals, Seidemann scored two of her goals as the U.S. went on a 6-1 run. The Americans led, 6-3, at halftime.
Stanford grad Foluke Akinradewo scored 15 points and the undefeated U.S. women's volleyball team wrapped up preliminary pool play at the London Olympics with a straight-set victory over Turkey on Sunday.
The top-ranked U.S. team was hurt in the third set when captain and three-time Olympian Lindsey Berg appeared to injure her left ankle.
Destinee Hooker added 15 points in the 27-25, 25-16, 25-19 victory for the top-ranked United States, which had clinched the top seed in its pool for the Tuesday quarterfinals.
The U.S. breezed through the second set and took a 9-5 lead in the third, but then Berg limped off the court. The setter removed her shoe, and a trainer wrapped the ankle in ice.
Her team prevailed without her, winning the match on Akinradewo's kill. Berg limped to congratulate Turkey after the match.
The U.S. women have never won a gold medal in indoor volleyball. The team fell just short at the Beijing Games under coach Lang Ping, taking home the silver after falling in the final to Brazil.
Now playing under Hugh McCutcheon, who led the U.S. men to the gold in Beijing, the United States is among the favorites.
Mike Bryan and Lisa Raymond won a tie-breaker to earn the bronze medal in the mixed doubles tournament of the London Olympic Games on Sunday.
Stanford grad Cassidy Krug finished seventh overall in the 3-meter springboard event Sunday at the Olympic Games.
Krug, in her first Olympics, scored 342.85 to finish ahead of fellow American Christina Loukas.
China went 1-2 in the event, with Minxia Wu scoring 414.00 and Zi He scoring 379.20. Mexico's Laura Sanchez Soto earned the bronze medal.
Going into the final round, only 0.05 points separated Soto from Krug in fourth and Tania Cagnotto of Italy in fifth.
Stanford grad Maria Koroleva and teammate Mary Killman placed 10th (of 24) in the duet qualification technical routine Sunday.
Koroleva and Killman scored 87.900, just ahead of France's Sara Labrousse and Chloe Willheim's 87.700 and just behind Great Britain's Olivia Federici and Jenna Rabdall's 88.100.
The Russian team leads the competition with a score of 98.200.
Koroleva is of Russian heritage, so her loyalties are divided.
"It's difficult for me to live in America and just be an American because my heart is still Russian," she said. "It's difficult to divide between my love to America and my love to Russia, so I support both teams."
Killman and Koroleva put their personal stamp on their routine, done to the song "Think" by Aretha Franklin, coming up with some of the strokes, and designing the costumes that Killman's mother made.
The coach of the Canadian women's soccer team has accused the United States of using "highly illegal" tactics during the Olympics.
John Herdman said Sunday that some of the physical marking done by U.S. players on corner kicks and free kicks violates the rules.
Herdman said he hopes to "raise awareness" of the tactics to the game officials when Canada plays the U.S. in the semifinals on Monday. He's also coming up with a game plan to counter the physical play.
Herdman says "we've starting working on that in training without trying to injure our players."
Canada is a major underdog in the semifinals. The Americans haven't lost to their northern neighbors in 11 years.
Of course, this could all be a rouse to deflect attention away from Canadian behavior on the field.
--Palo Alto Online Sports/AP
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