RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – USA Beach Volleyball split the day after Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena swept Tunisia, 21-7, 21-13, and Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat faltered in their Olympic opener against Poland, 14-21, 21-13, 15-7.
Third seed Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena took control quickly to top Tunisia in a 32 minute two-setter, aided by a first set score of 21-7.
In their Olympics debut, Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat suffered a tough loss to Poland’s Kinga Kolosinska/Monika Brzostek, falling in three sets in the USA’s first match on Sunday.
FENDRICK/SWEAT LOSS POLAND | 14-21, 21-13, 15-7
Fendrick and Sweat won the first set, 21-14 in 19 minutes against 21 miles-per-hour wind that first picked up minutes before the match ensued. In the second and third frame though, the momentum shifted to Poland.
“I think Poland played better in the last two sets,” Sweat said. “We just fell apart on our side. We held it together in the first, but our pass-set fell apart and it’s hard to win when you aren’t passing and setting.”
After dropping the second set, 21-13, it looked as though the pair could rebound in the third, keeping it close in the early goings but not enough as they fell 15-7 for the set and match.
“Coming out we played really good to start, that’s positive for us,” Sweat continued. “Our side just fell apart. It was definitely really windy and swirly, but that’s not excuse for our pass and set game. We just have to get it together.”
Up next for the pair is the tournament’s top seed, Brazil’s Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes on Tuesday, 3:30 p.m. ET.
“They’re the hometown favorites,” Fendrick said of Larissa and Talita. “They’re a great team and we’re going to have to bring our best and that’s what we plan to do.”
DALHAUSSER/LUCENA DEF TUNISIA | 21-7, 21-13
In their first match of the 2016 Olympics, Dalhausser and Lucena wasted no time to jump to an early lead against Tunisia’s Mohamed Arafet Naceur/Choaib Belhaj Salah, 10-4. Soon after the two sealed the first frame at 21-7.
“We’re just one point at a time,” Dalhausser said. “Not getting too crazy, excited about anything. He may sometimes (points to Nick), but me I’m staying the course, horse blinders and at the end there is the gold medal. That’s the plan and we’ll see what happens.”
The plan worked as Tunisia made a go of it in the second set, keeping the score relatively close at 10-6.
“They just got in a rhythm, maybe a little bit of nerves,” said Lucena. “We missed a couple of serves in the second set, so we let them off the hook a little bit and they made some good side out plays. I knew eventually they would get into a rhythm; I think they’ll play better as the tournament goes along.”
After pulling ahead 16-11, the two closed it out on a final score of 21-13 for their first Olympic win together.
Dalhausser and Lucena return on Tuesday against Mexico’s Lombardo Ontiveros/Juan Virgen, a team they’ve met three times and trail the series 1-2.
“We play Mexico, a very good team,” said Lucena. “They just beach Nicolai and Lupo from Italy, another tough team. There’s no easy games.”
On Aug. 8, Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson and April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings return to action with one match apiece. The men face Austria and the women, China. Gibb and Patterson topped Qatar on the opening day, Saturday, and Ross/Walsh Jennings won their midnight match versus Australia in the early morning hours of Aug. 7 at 1:10 a.m. Both teams lead the series against their opponents, Gibb/Patterson are 3-1 and Ross/Walsh Jennings 3-1.
ABOUT POOL PLAY
After pool play, the top two teams in the pool will advance to the Round of 16. Of the third-place finishers in each pool, the top two of those six will advance, based on match points, then by set ratio. The four remaining third-ranked teams in each pool will play a two-match lucky loser round (3rd ranked vs 6th ranked; 4th vs 5th), with the winners advancing to the round of 16. The fourth ranked team in each pool will be eliminated.
DAY IN REVIEW
2016 Olympic Games | Aug. 7
– In their Olympic debut, Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat dropped a three-set match to Poland, 14-21, 21-13, 15-7
– Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena beach Tunisia in their first Olympic match, 21-7, 21-13
Aug. 7, 3:30 p.m. ET Dalhausser/Lucena vs Tunisia
Aug. 8, 3:30 p.m. ET Gibb/Patterson vs Austria
Aug. 8, 11 p.m. ET Ross/Walsh Jennings vs China
Aug. 9, 10 a.m. ET Dalhausser/Lucena vs Mexico
Aug. 9, 3:30 p.m. ET Fendrick/Sweat vs Brazil
Aug. 10, 10 a.m. ET Gibb/Patterson vs Spain
Aug. 10, 8 p.m. ET Ross/Walsh Jennings vs Switzerland
Aug. 11, 2:30 p.m. ET Fendrick/Sweat vs Russia
Aug. 11, 3:30 p.m. ET Dalhausser/Lucena vs Italy
Aug. 6, Gibb/Patterson def QAT 21-16, 21-16
Aug. 6, Ross/Walsh Jennings def AUS 21-14, 21-13
Aug. 7, Fendrick/Sweat loss POL 14-21, 21-13, 15-7
Aug. 7, Dalhausser/Lucena def TUN 21-7, 21-13