In the first all-USA women’s beach volleyball final in Olympic history, first time Olympians April Ross of Newport Beach and Jen Kessy of San Clemente will take on two-time defending Olympic champs Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh Jennings in the gold medal match Wednesday.
Number four seed Ross/Kessy rallied from a set down to pull off an improbable upset of number one seed and reigning world champion Brazil 15-21, 21-19, 15-12. The numbers were pretty even throughout the match, with the Americans edging their opponent on the offensive side of the net 62 to 56 in kill percentage.
Number three seed May-Treanor/Walsh Jennings got some key blocks and timely service aces to edge China in two sets 22-20, 22-20.
Fans could be witnessing a passing of the baton of sorts, as four-time Olympian May-Treanor has decided to retire after the games. She and Walsh-Jennings have been on the circuit for 11 years together and have faced Kessy/Ross 32 times, more than any other opponent.
May-Treanor/Walsh Jennings lead the all-time international series 11-2, and are 27-5 overall. Wednesday will be the first time the two teams have met for a gold medal in international play, but they have played each other three times in finals on the AVP Tour.