9:59 PM PDT, August 7, 2012
Tars are indeed stars at the 30th Olympiad in London, where Newport Harbor High products Misty May-Treanorand April Ross both advanced with their partners to the women's beach volleyball gold-medal match scheduled Wednesday at 1 p.m. PT.
May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings, will be playing for a third straight gold medal in their final Olympics after the duo handled No. 2-seeded Xue Chen and Zhang Xi of China, 22-20, 22-20, in Tuesday's semifinals.
May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings are unbeaten in the last three Olympic tournaments, including six wins in London. They lost only one set in this tournament, after having swept all their opponents in 2004 in Athens and 2008 in Beijing. They have a 20-match winning streak in Olympic competition, during which they have won 40 of 41 sets.
Ross and partner Jennifer Kessy, in their first Olympics, got past Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca, 15-21, 21-19, 15-12, in Tuesday's semifinals. Ross and Kessy are also 6-0, though they have lost three sets in London.
Ross had 20 kills in 28 attempts on Tuesday to go with 12 digs and two ace serves.
May-Treanor had 22 kills in 48 attempts against the Chinese, who claimed a bronze medal in Beijing. She also collected 17 digs.
This will be the 33rd meeting between the two American teams, with May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings holding a 27-5 advantage. The two-time defending gold medalists are 11-2 in international tournaments against the former USC standouts and have won the last two, including a 24-22, 24-22 triumph in a 45-minute battle in Beijing on May 11, 2012.
Thus far in the tournament, May-Treanor has 104 kills and 92 digs, while Walsh Jennings has 58 kills, 20 blocks, 10 aces and 41 digs. The duo has 13 combined aces and have only 13 service errors between them. May-Treanor is at .437 in hitting efficiency in London, while Walsh Jennings is at a .563 rate.
Ross has 98 kills to lead her team, as do her 56 digs and 14 aces. Her hitting efficiency is .617. Kessy has 89 kills (a .553 efficiency rating) with 10 blocks, 46 digs and seven aces.
Ross and Kessy have combined for 21 aces. But they also have a combined 45 service errors.
Wednesday's winner will join rower Esther Lofgren (U.S. women's eight) as Newport Harbor High graduates to win gold medals in London.
Newport Harbor has been represented on the medal stand in every Olympics since Atlanta and in seven of the last eight Summer Games, since the American boycott of the Moscow Games in 1980.
— From staff reports
WOMEN'S WATER POLO
Corona del Mar High graduate Tumua Anae and the U.S. women's water polo team will get their chance at a gold medal, after the Americans outlasted Australia, 11-9, in a semifinal Tuesday that went overtime.
Team USA will face Spain in Thursday's final at 2 p.m. PT. Spain rallied from a 9-6 deficit with fewer than three minutes to go to claim a 9-9 tie in the two team's meeting last week in group play.
The Americans will be playing in their third gold-medal match, having won silver in Beijing in 2008 and in 2000 in Sydney. The U.S. won a bronze medal in 2004.
Anae, a backup to starting goalie Betsey Armstrong, is in her first Olympics.
— From staff reports
Corona del Mar High graduate and U.S. men's gymnastics team member Sam Mikulak finished fifth in the vault on Monday at North Greenwich Arena.
The Newport Coast resident, 19, who will be a junior at the University of Michigan in the fall, stuck the landing on each of his vaults, despite still battling a left ankle that will require surgery this month.
Mikulak, who won the NCAA all-around title as a freshman in 2011, posted a score of 16.100 on his first vault. His score on the second vault was 16.000, after which he was in third place with three vaulters remaining.
Mikulak's average score of 16.050 was just off the pace of bronze medalist Igor Radivilov from Ukraine.
Yang Hak Seon of South Korea won the gold medal (16.533) and Denis Ablyazin of Russia captured the silver medal (16.399).
Mikulak said he plans to be fully recovered from ankle surgery by the time his college gymnastics season begins at Michigan. He broke both ankles in competition last summer and reinjured his left ankle on the first day of the Olympic trials in June.
Mikulak also competed in five events in the qualifying and four in the team finals.
— From staff reports