Day, Hughes Win First Pan Am Games Match

Oct. 16, 2011, 7:08 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 16, 2011) – The U.S. women’s beach volleyball team of Emily Day and Heather Hughes won its first match of the Pan American Games on Sunday in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Day (Torrance, Calif.) and Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) opened pool play with a 21-10, 21-7 victory in 30 minutes over Francisca Rivas and Camila Pazlivek of Chile.

Day and Hughes led in attacks, 18-6, in aces, 10-2 and in blocks, 2-1.

The U.S. tandem's aggressive play led to a pair of key scoring runs. A run of five straight points in the opening set gave the U.S. a 12-5 advantage en route to an 11-point victory. In the second and final set, the U.S. pair held an early 4-3 lead before piling on eight straight points to build a lead they would not relinquish.

“When we get on a serving run our goal is to just keep the ball in play and let them make the mistakes,” Day said. “We don’t want to let them off the hook. Getting runs and getting points with our serves is huge.”

Fittingly, an ace from Day ended the match.

Hughes hopes Sunday’s impressive performance will set the tone for the balance of the weeklong tournament.

“That’s definitely key, having a really strong first match,” she said. “Our goal is to keep improving every single match, so this is just a starting match. We’ve got to keep improving at every level and step it up even more for the next one.”

Day and Hughes will continue pool play on Monday at 5 p.m. CT against Maria Jose Orellana and Anna Lourdes Ramirez of Guatemala.

Meanwhile, the U.S. men’s beach volleyball team of Van Zwieten (Pompano Beach, Fla.) and Andrew Fuller (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) will begin pool play on Monday, taking on Igor Hernandez and Farid Mussa of Venezuela at 10 a.m. CT.

2011 Pan American Games
Beach Volleyball Schedule

Sunday, Oct. 16
Women: Day/Hughes (USA) def. Francisca Rivas/Camila Pazlivek (CHI), 21-10, 21-7 (:30)

Monday, Oct. 17
Men: Fuller/Van Zwieten (USA) vs. Igor Hernandez/Farid Mussa (VEN), 10 a.m. CDT
Women: Day/Hughes (USA) vs. Maria Jose Orellana/Anna Lourdes Ramirez (GUA), 5 p.m. CDT

Tuesday, Oct. 18
Women: Day/Hughes (USA) vs. Andrea Carolina Galindo/Claudia Patricia Galindo (COL), 11 a.m. CDT
Men: Fuller/Van Zwieten (USA) vs. Jeovanny Ademir Medrano/David Gabriel Vargas (ESA), 5 p.m. CDT

Wednesday, Oct. 19
Men: Fuller/Van Zwieten (USA) vs. Esteban Grimalt/Marco Grimalt (CHI), 9 a.m. CDT
Women: Quarterfinals

Thursday, Oct. 20
Women: Semifinals
Men: Quarterfinals

Friday, Oct.21
Women: Final, Bronze medal match
Men: Semifinals

Saturday, Oct. 22
Men: Final, Bronze medal match