U.S. Beach Teams Pick Up Four Wins

June 27, 2009, 6:04 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 27, 2009) - There were four victories and one loss for USA Volleyball beach teams competing at the SWATCH FIVB World Championships on Saturday in Stavanger, Norway.

Olympic gold medal winners Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) opened defense of their 2007 world championship title by posting a 2-0 (21-8, 21-11) victory in 31 minutes over 47th-seeded Morais Abreu and Mario Silva of Angola.

 Dalhausser and Rogers will face 23rd-seeded American rivals, and 2008 Olympians, Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) in their next match Monday for the Pool B leadership.

Gibb and Rosenthal are 1-0 after defeating New Zealand’s 26th-ranked Kirk Lochhead and Jason Pitman, 2-1 (21-17, 19-21, 15-13) in 60 minutes on Saturday. Gibb had six blocks in match, including three in the third set.

It turns out that the two teams know each other quite well.

"We've been playing against that team the last two months. They've been living at our house, training with us every day. So they know us very well, and we know them,” Rosenthal said. "Every game you play out here is going to be hard. You have to be ready to go.”

The U.S. team of Casey Jennings (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.), ranked 17th, also had a battle from Italy’s Matteo Varnier and Paolo Nicolai, seeded 32nd. Jennings and Fuerbringer prevailed, 2-1 (23-25, 21-16, 15-10) in 74 minutes.

Jennings and Fuerbringer will play Austria’s Alexander Huber and Peter Gartmayer, ranked 41st, on Monday.

On the women’s side, U.S. Olympians Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and Elaine Youngs (El Toro, Calif.), ranked fourth, defeated Great Britain’s 45th-seeded Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin, 2-0 (21-14, 21-13) in 37 minutes.

“We started a little slow against a team against a team we didn’t know,” Youngs said. “There’s always a little adjustment at the beginning of the match and then you start to figure things out. And we feel comfortable about our game and that’s going to help. We feel good together. “

Branagh and Youngs will play Canada’s 28th-seeded Marie-Andrée Lessard and Annie Martin on Monday.

Saturday’s only U.S. loss was suffered by Brad Keenan (Westminster, Calif.) and Nick Lucena (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), ranked 21st, who fell to Switzerland’s 28th-seeded Sascha Heyer and Patrick Heuscher, 0-2 (17-21, 16-21) in 37 minutes.

Keenan and Lucena were stung by seven serving errors and seven attack errors.

“We’d never played them before, they just chipped it around us,” Lucena said. “Our ball control was terrible; too many mistakes. Maybe it was (first-match jitters). We started off slow both matches and got down behind really fast.’’

The U.S. pair will try to regroup on Monday against Norway’s Iver Horrem and Björn Maaseide, ranked 45th.

Matches can be seen live at Universal Sports.

More information and complete results and photos are available at http://www.fivb.org/EN/BeachVolleyball/index.asp.

U.S. Schedule for FIVB World Championships

Pool Play
Pool B
June 27: Rogers-Dalhausser USA [2] def. Morais-Silva ANG [47], 2-0 (21-8, 21-11)
June 27: Gibb-Rosenthal USA [23] def. Lochhead-Pitman NZL [26], 2-1 (21-17, 19-21, 15-13)
June 29: Rogers-Dalhausser USA [2] vs. Gibb-Rosenthal USA [23]
July 1: Gibb-Rosenthal USA [23] vs. Morais-Silva ANG [47]
July 1: Rogers-Dalhausser USA [2] vs. Lochhead-Pitman NZL [26]

Pool D
June 27: Heyer-Heuscher SUI [28] def. Lucena-Keenan USA [21], 2-0 (21-17, 21-16)
June 29: Lucena-Keenan USA [21]vs. Maaseide-Horrem NOR [45]
July 1: Cunha-Pedro BRA [4] vs. Lucena-Keenan USA [21]

Pool H
June 27: Jennings-Fuerbringer USA [17] def. Varnier-Nicolai ITA [32], 2-1 (23-25, 21-16, 15-10)
June 29: Jennings-Fuerbringer USA [17] vs. Huber-Gartmayer AUT [41]
July 1: Nummerdor-Schuil NED [8] vs. Jennings-Fuerbringer USA [17]

Pool A
June 26: Ross-Kessy USA [1] def. Aas-Bjørkesett NOR [48], 2-0 (21-10, 21-13)
June 26: Minusa-Jursone LAT [24] def. Fendrick-Ivy USA [25] , 2-1 (21-19, 19-21, 15-10)
June 28: Ross-Kessy USA [1] vs. Fendrick-Ivy USA [25]
June 30: Ross-Kessy USA [1] vs. Minusa-Jursone LAT [24]
June 30: Fendrick-Ivy USA [25] vs. Aas-Bjørkesett NOR [48]

Pool D
June 27: Branagh-Youngs USA [4] def. Dampney-Mullin GBR [45], 2-0 (21-14, 21-13)
June 29: Branagh-Youngs USA [4] vs. Martin-Lessard CAN [28]
July 1: Branagh-Youngs USA [4] vs. Banck-Günther GER [21]

Pool F
June 26: Turner-Akers USA [6] def. Forrer-Schmocker SUI [43], 2-0 (21-13, 21-19)
June 28: Turner-Akers USA [6] vs. Giaoui-Hamzaoui FRA [30]
June 30: Turner-Akers USA [6] Lundqvist-Ljungquist SWE [19]