COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 6, 2022) – Six U.S. beach volleyball teams are in Maceio, Brazil this week competing at the World University Championships.
Pool play opened on Tuesday with mixed results for U.S. teams.
On the women’s side, the U.S. team of Maddie Anderson/Lexy Denaburg, seeded third, beat Japan’s No. 19 Noa Kinugasa/Suzuna Fukuda, 2-0 (21-15, 21-7). Anderson/Denaburg had a bye for their second match and advanced straight to the second round on Sept. 8.
“It was a long time waiting after the trials and the flight and then we’re here early and we didn’t play until 2:15,” Anderson said. “All the nerves went away and it was gametime once we got on the court.”
Denaburg added: “Honestly, I feel amazing. I’m just happy to be back playing with Maddie. I think we did better as the game went on, but we still have a lot of work to do. I’m just excited to be here and to continue playing.”
The U.S. team of Torrey Van Winden/Xolani Hodel, seeded 15th, went 1-1 in pool play on Tuesday. Van Winden/Hodel beat Japan’s No. 18 Noa Kinugasa/Maya Kikuchi, 2-1 (18-21, 21-19, 15-13). They lost to Spain’s No. 2 Daniela Álvarez/Tania Moreno 2-0 (21-16, 21-19).
“I’m glad we pulled out the win and we’re ready for the next match,” Hodel said.
Van Winden said: “Today’s second match went much better than our first match. Even though we won our first match and lost our second, it just felt like Xolani and I were really clicking and playing really high-level volleyball. We were finally figuring out our defense and block.”
Van Winden/Hodel will play Argentina’s No. 14 Victoria Pozzo/Carla De Brito in the first round on Sept. 7.
The U.S. women’s team of Julia Scoles/Hailey Harward, seeded 28th, went 1-1 in pool play. The pair beat Portugal’s No. 5 Beatriz Pinheiro/Ines Castro 2-0 (21-17, 21-15). Scoles/Harward went three with Brazil’s No. 21 Talita Calixto/Kyce Mikaele Martins, but lost (15-21, 21-18, 15-12).
“Our first match we had a little bit of nerves playing a good Portugal team,” Harward said. “We were able to communicate well, and our energy was high. It was our first match playing internationally. That was cool.”
Scoles/Harward will face Portugal’s No. 29 Ines Vasco/Matilde Mouta in the first round on Sept. 7.
Men’s teams only played one pool-play match on Tuesday and will finish on Sept. 7.
No. 22 Sebastian Rodriguez/Jack Walmer won their first match over No. 11 Mátyás Papp/Csanád Petik of Hungary, 2-1 (21-11, 17-21, 15-8). On Wednesday, they play Spain’s No. 6 Javier Huerta/Óscar Jiménez.
“It felt like, right when we started, the jet lag and fatigue went away,” Walmer said. “Sebas and I have been playing all summer. We just got in a groove and kept it going.”
“Obviously, there’s really good competition out here,” Rodriguez added. “I was really hungry to get a win. I’m just stoked we were able to win our first game.”
No. 25 Wyatt Harrison/Charlie Siragusa lost their first pool play match to Germany’s No. 8 Maximilian Just/Lui Wüst, 2-1 (21-17, 18-21, 15-10). On Wednesday, they will play Chile’s Martin Sandoval/Tomas Reyes.
“I am a little disappointed that we didn’t win,” Siragusa said. “I think we played really well in the second set. Then in the third set, the affects of your first international tournament and all the unknowns hit me personally. I am proud of the way we fought and I’m ready to refocus for the next match.”
No. 30 Heath Hughes/Ryan Smith lost their first pool play match to No. 3 Tomas Semerad/Jakub Sepka of Czech Republic, 2-0 (21-16, 21-18). They will play Puerto Rico’s No. 19 William Rivera/Arnaldo Torres on Wednesday.
“I think Heath and I learned a lot,” Smith said. “We’re going to fix our passing and setting and adjust defensively and we’ll be ready to take on Puerto Rico.”
U.S. Beach Players Competing at the World University Championships