U.S. Beach Teams Get Important Pan Am Wins

Oct. 19, 2011, 3:48 p.m. (ET)

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

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 19, 2011) – The U.S. men’s beach volleyball team of Andrew Fuller and Mark Van Zwieten and the women’s team of Emily Day and Heather Hughes both won important matches on Wednesday at the Pan American Games in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

In the first women’s quarterfinal, Day (Torrance, Calif.) and Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) defeated Uruguay’s Lucia Guigou and Fabiana Gomez, 21-12, 21-12 in 31 minutes to become the first team through to Thursday’s semifinal round.

In men’s pool play, Van Zwieten (Pompano Beach, Fla.) and Fuller (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) dispatched Chile’s Esteban Grimalt and Marco Grimalt, 21-15, 21-19 in 41 minutes to finish second in Pool B and clinch a spot in Thursday’s quarterfinal round. 

Day and Hughes needed just 34 minutes to move to 4-0 in the tournament. The Americans posted significant advantages in attacks, 25-8; aces, 4-1; and blocks, 5-2. They scored four straight points in the first set to open up a 7-2 lead and never looked back.

“Our whole goal was to start playing aggressively, to go out swinging and keep hitting balls as hard as we can,” Hughes said. “I think we did a really good job in the beginning of jumping on the points from the start and keeping the momentum for the rest of the match.”

Day credited the team’s communication for the victory.

“I think we stuck together really well,” she said. “Heather and I really communicated well throughout that match, and even though we might be missing some serves, we were okay with it because we were aggressive.”

Day and Hughes are scheduled to play their semifinal match at 1 p.m. CT on Thursday against Mexico's Mayra Garcia and Bibi Candelas.

After dropping their opening match Monday, Van Zwieten and Fuller recorded a second straight pool play victory to stay alive in the tournament. For the second consecutive match, Fuller’s presence at the net was key, as he recorded seven blocks on the day. The U.S. had a 27-25 edge in attacks and a 7-0 lead in blocks.

“That was a pretty physical team. In all the other matche,s they were able to swing away against the other blockers,” Van Zwieten said about the Chilean squad. “With Andrew being 6-foot-10, he was able to actually stop them… so I could pick up some of the shots. We scored a lot of points off that.”

After winning the last two matches to move onto the quarterfinal round, Fuller feels the team is well prepared for the win-or-go-home portion of the tournament.

“I feel like we’ve been in single elimination this whole time, so nothing really changes,” he said.

Fuller and Van Zwieten will try to hold off elimination for another day on Thursday against Argentina's Santiago Etchegaray and Pablo Miguel Suárez 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: Igor Hernandez/Farid Mussa (VEN) def. Fuller/Van Zwieten (USA), 21-19, 18-21, 16-14 (:54)
Women: Day/Hughes (USA) def. Maria Jose Orellana/Anna Lourdes Ramirez (GUA), 28-26, 20-22, 15-8 (:58)

Tuesday, Oct. 18
Women: Day/Hughes (USA) def. Andrea Carolina Galindo/Claudia Patricia Galindo (COL), 21-19, 21-14 (:36)
Men: Fuller/Van Zwieten (USA) def. Jeovanny Ademir Medrano/David Gabriel Vargas (ESA), 21-16, 21-12

Wednesday, Oct. 19
Men: Fuller/Van Zwieten (USA) def. Esteban Grimalt/Marco Grimalt (CHI), 21-15, 21-19 (:41)
Women’s Quarterfinal: Day/Hughes (USA) def. Lucia Guigou /Fabiana Gomez (URU), 21-12, 21-12 (:31)

Thursday, Oct. 20
Men's Quarterfinals: Fuller/Van Zwieten (USA) vs. Santiago Etchegaray/Pablo Miguel Suárez (ARG), 10 a.m.
Women's Semifinals: Day/Hughes (USA) vs. Mayra Garcia/Bibi Candelas (MEX), 1 p.m.

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

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