Moscow Four-Star: Kerri Walsh Jennings, Brooke Sweat Back on Podium With Bronze Medal
Twice in Saturday’s semifinals in the Moscow Four-Star against Brazilians Taiana Lima and Talita Antunes were Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat winning. Twice did they let the lead slip away, losing both, 21-23, 21-23.
“We had a really tough match last night,” Walsh Jennings said from Moscow. “We lost in two and we had the chance in both games to win and I guess the better team won.”
It could have been back-breaking, then, when they were up in the first set against Germany’s Karla Borger and Julia Sude – and dropped it again, 24-26.
Sometimes, with how thick this women’s field is getting in talent, it can be easy to forget, even if only for a moment, just how dominant Walsh Jennings has been in this sport. That loss wouldn’t break her and Sweat, just motivate them.
“We fought,” Walsh Jennings said. “We were up in game one, gave it away, then we came back and fought in game two and three.”
And they would win both, 21-18, 15-10, securing a bronze medal and a crucial podium finish as it gets later and later in this Olympic race. It’s their first medal since a gold in Jinjiang in May, though far more important than any trinket is another high finish.
In the Olympic race, teams take their best 12 finishes in the roughly year-and-a-half long qualification period. Walsh Jennings and Sweat have surpassed that 12-event threshold, meaning they are now able to drop bad finishes and replace them with good ones.
Moscow can be objectively labeled as a good one.
So out goes a ninth-place finish in Xiamen, one worth 400 points, and in goes the bronze in Moscow, worth 640.
“We’re proud of this bronze,” Walsh Jennings said. “Very proud. Moscow is an incredible city. The volleyball is great and the fans really appreciate volleyball.”
There is but one event left for Walsh Jennings and Sweat: World Tour Finals in Rome in the first week of September. Finally, after a season of touring the world, one that will have taken them to 16 events, Walsh Jennings and Sweat can come home for good.
For now, “we get to go home tomorrow,” Walsh Jennings said, “and prepare for Rome and the World Tour Final.”
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