- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 7, 2012

LONDON — With or without gold, Misty May-Treanor plans to walk away from beach volleyball for good after the Olympics. A third straight championship would make the farewell perfect.

May-Treanor and partner Kerri Walsh Jennings will go for one last title together Wednesday night after winning all but one set during their three Olympics as a pair.

“It’s hard to see how the time’s going,” the 35-year-old May-Treanor said. “It’s like, ‘OK, the final’s already here.’ I think I’m already kind of in la-la land, focusing on tomorrow, like, ‘OK, you’ve got to get iced up, a lot of rest.’ But I’m very happy.”

They held off Beijing bronze medalists Xue Chen and Zhang Xi of China 22-20, 22-20 on Tuesday, and will star in an all-American final.

The No. 2 U.S. team of April Ross and Jennifer Kessy rallied from one set down in a steady rain to stun reigning world champions Juliana and Larissa of Brazil in a three-set night semifinal. They fell to the sand and embraced.

“I’ve got to let this sink in for a half-hour,” Ross said. “I can’t believe we’re in this position. We’ve worked so hard for it. You have no guarantee this is going to happen. We expect to win it.”

Sure, May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings were cheering for their fellow Americans, but they really weren’t too concerned about their opponent in the final.

“We know we have this in us,” Walsh Jennings said, “we’ve just got to go execute.

Water Polo: U.S. women top Australia in extra time, reach final

Maggie Steffens scored four goals and the U.S. outlasted Australia to win 11-9 in extra time and advance to women’s water polo final against Spain at the London Olympics.

In a bruising match between the two favorites in London, Australia’s Southern Ash converted a penalty with one second left in regulation to tie the match 9-9 and force extra time.

The officials awarded the penalty after U.S. coach Adam Krikorian called a timeout without his team having possession of the ball.

Steffens put the U.S. ahead in the first of two three-minute extra-time periods with a skip shot, and Kami Craig followed up with another goal to give the Americans the 11-9 win and another shot at their first gold medal in the event.

Soccer: Brazil to face Mexico in final; both seek first Olympic gold

One match to go for Brazil. Only Mexico stands in the way of its first Olympic soccer gold.

Brazil moved a step closer to winning the elusive medal by beating South Korea 3-0 on Tuesday and reaching the final of the men’s Olympic tournament for the first time in 24 years. It will face Mexico, which defeated Japan 3-1 at Wembley Stadium to advance to its first Olympic final.

Brazil was the bronze-medalist in 2008 in Beijing but hadn’t reached the final since the 1988 Seoul Games, when a team led by Romario and Bebeto finished with the silver. Brazil also won the silver in the 1984 Los Angeles Games and got another bronze in the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Volleyball: Win over Dominican Republic puts U.S. women in semis

The U.S. women’s volleyball team remained undefeated at the London Games with a straight-set victory over the Dominican Republic on Tuesday night to advance to the semifinals.

The United States easily managed the 25-14, 25-21, 25-22 sweep without captain Lindsey Berg, who hurt her left ankle in the team’s final preliminary round match against Turkey on Sunday. Courtney Thompson started in her place as setter.

The top-ranked U.S. team, with six straight victories, will play South Korea in the semifinals, with Japan and Brazil in the other semi.

Destinee Hooker scored 19 points for the United States, which has never won a gold medal in indoor volleyball. The team fell just short at the Beijing Games, falling in the final to Brazil.

Weightlifting: Defending champ withdraws after hit in neck by barbell

Defending Olympic weightlifting champion Matthias Steiner of Germany was hit in the neck by the barbell Tuesday and withdrew from the men’s super heavyweight competition.

Steiner lost his balance trying to lift 196 kilograms — about 432 pounds — in his second lift of the snatch portion of the competition. He fell awkwardly to the platform as the barbell crashed down on him.

Medical personnel rushed up to tend to the German, who got up on his feet and waved to the crowd as he walked into the back room. He didn’t come out for his third attempt.