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USA womens volleyball team loses set, wins pool to move on as top seed
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LONDON — One streak is over. The unbeaten streak continues for two-time defending Olympic beach volleyball gold medalists Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor.
The Americans lost the first set of their preliminary round match against Austria on Wednesday night — the first time they’ve lost a set in three Olympics. But after the 21-17 loss in the first, they came back to win the second by a dominating 21-8 and took the third 15-10 to remain unbeaten in this and every other trip to the Olympic Games.
“I was furious,” Walsh Jennings said afterward. “It’s still with me. I want to go to the practice court and fix it.”
The Americans won seven straight matches in Athens and again in Beijing to collect a pair of gold medals without ever losing a single set. They won also their first two matches in London in straight sets.
That’s 16 matches and 32 sets in all.
But they fell behind sisters Stefanie and Doris Schwaiger 19-14 in the first set, closing the gap to 20-17 before a busted play ended with the ball in the net. They were never in trouble in the second and led 12-10 in the third before winning the last three points.
“So we can stop talking about it,” said Walsh Jennings, who was playing with an eye infection that is expected to stay with her through the end of the Olympics. “I woke up this morning looking like Rocky Balboa, but it’s better now.”
Despite the blemish on their record, the Americans won their pool and advance to the knockout round as a No. 1 seed. They won’t know their opponent until a draw after tonight’s matches.