U.S. Beach Team Advances to Gold Medal Match

Jan. 17, 2009, 9:53 a.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800               
E-Mail: bj.evans@usav.org

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 17, 2009) – The U.S. beach volleyball team of Tara Roenicke (Alta Loma, Calif.) and Summer Ross (Carlsbad, Calif.) will play Australians Zina Stone and Mariafe Artacho in the gold medal match on Sunday in Sydney at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival.

Ross and Roenicke defeated Norway’s Linn Lehre and Mari Aase Hole, 2-0 (21-16, 23-21) in the semifinal on Maroubra Beach, despite the Europeans putting up a strong fight in cold, windy conditions.

According to an Australian Olympic Committee press release, Ross and Roenicke took an early lead in the second set, only to have Norway come back thanks to several good serves by Hole.

The lead chopped and changed throughout the second half of the set, with the teams always within two points of each other. The United States finally clinched the victory.

The conditions proved difficult for the players.

“We have to get used to the wind. I’ve never played in winds like this before so it’s good experience. We’ve had training in wind but nothing like this. It’s very difficult,” Roenicke said.

She is looking forward to playing the Australians but hoping for better conditions.

“I’m excited to play them. I played them a couple of years ago in Poland at the world championships. It will be fun to play them again tomorrow.”

The web site for the Australian Youth Olympic Festival is at http://ayof09.olympics.com.au/.