B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
BEIJING (Aug. 14, 2008) – The U.S. beach volleyball team of Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) completed pool play with a 3-0 record on Thursday at Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Grounds, but it wasn’t easy.
Playing the Japanese team of 19th-seeded Kentaro Asahi and Katsuhiro Shiratori, seventh-ranked Gibb and Rosenthal fought off match point to win 21-15, 19-21, 18-16 in 57 minutes.
Gibb and Rosenthal finish atop Pool F. They will have to wait until the completion of play on Thursday night and then a technical meeting to find out when and whom they play in the single-elimination Round of 16, which takes place Aug. 15-16.
“We’re excited. The next match is going to be the biggest of our lives,” Gibb said. “We’re ready.”
The match came down to the third-set tie-breaker and the Japanese reached match point first at 15-14 on a kill by Shiratori. Rosenthal’s kill tied the score at 15-15 and Gibb’s block gave the U.S. team match point at 16-15.
Asahi responded with a kill and tied the score again. Shiratori’s serve went long to give the United States a second match point and Gibb’s fifth block of the match gave the U.S. men the victory.
“I wasn’t swinging very smart (in the second set),” said Gibb, who finished with 17 kills on 31 attempts. “I had to swing higher and away from (Asahi’s) block. He’s a good blocker.”
Rosenthal finished with 18 kills on 40 attempts and 11 digs. Gibb and Rosenthal each had an ace. Gibb and Rosenthal also took advantage of 16 Japanese errors while committing only nine themselves.
The first set started in a light rain and was close until the U.S. led by only one point at 7-6. Shiratori served into the net to put the Japanese down by two, and committed a double hit on the next play to go down by three. A Rosenthal kill made it 10-6 and the Japanese team never recovered.
The U.S. men grabbed a 10-7 lead in the second set as Gibb scored on a block and two kills and Rosenthal had two kills. But the Japanese responded with a 4-1 run to take the lead at 12-11. The teams battled back and forth until the score was tied at 14-14. Asahi used two kills to put the Japanese up by two at 16-14.
A Gibb kill made it 16-15, but Asahi scored on another kill and Rosenthal’s next hitting attempt went long to put Japan ahead 18-15. Gibb and Rosenthal never recovered.
Men’s 2008 Olympic Pool F Schedule and Results
Aug. 10: Brink/Dieckmann GER  def. Asahi/Shiratori JPN , 2-0 (21-18, 21-18) 00:42
Aug. 10: Gibb/Rosenthal USA  def. Boersma E./Ronnes NED , 2-0 (21-16, 21-15) 0:37
Aug. 12: Gibb/Rosenthal  def. Brink/Dieckmann GER , 2-0 (21-15, 21-13)
Aug. 12: Asahi/Shiratori JPN  def. Boersma E./Ronnes NED , 2-1 (21-15, 23-25, 15-11)
Aug. 14: Gibb/Rosenthal USA  def. Asahi/Shiratori JPN , 2-1 (21-15, 19-21, 18-16) in 57 minutes
Aug. 14: Boersma E./Ronnes NED  def. Brink/Dieckmann GER , 2-0 (21-16, 22-20)
Pool F Standings
Name Country Points Record
Gibb/Rosenthal USA 6 3-0
Asahi/Shiratori JPN 4 1-2
Brink/Dieckmann Ch. GER 4 1-2
Boersma E./Ronnes NED 4 1-2