Day, Hughes to Play for Pan Am Beach Bronze

Oct. 20, 2011, 4:58 p.m. (ET)

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

To view livestream of Pan American Games volleyball matches, click here.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 20, 2011) – The U.S. women’s beach volleyball team of Emily Day and Heather Hughes will play for the bronze medal at the Pan American Games in Puerto Vallarta while the U.S. men’s team of Andrew Fuller and Mark Van Zwieten finished fifth on Thursday.

Day (Torrance, Calif.) and Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) lost their first match of the Pan American Games on Thursday, falling to Mexico’s Bibiana Candelas and Mayra Garcia, 21-12, 21-14 in 32 minutes in the women’s semifinal round. The pair will play for the bronze medal at noon CT on Friday against Puerto Rico’s Yarleen Santiago and Yamileska Yantín.

“(Mexico) came out really aggressive and served really tough and threw us out of our system,” Hughes said. “We were never really able to find our rhythm today so that didn’t help. They were really scrappy; their block was really good. Bibiana is a great blocker, and we just didn’t swing aggressive enough around her.”

In the opening set, the score was knotted at five before Mexico ran off six consecutive points and never looked back. In the second, Day and Hughes rallied to grab a slim 9-8 lead, but Mexico responded with four straight points to take control of set No. 2.

The U.S. team led in aces, 5-2. However Mexico paced the match in blocks, 5-2, and in kills, 18-13.

Despite the setback, Day and Hughes still have a shot at reaching their goal of earning a medal.

“Our goal has always been to be on the podium getting a medal, so we’re still sticking to our No. 1 goal and going out there and representing the USA as best we can and just being aggressive, having fun and playing good volleyball,” Hughes said.

On the men’s side, Van Zwieten (Pompano Beach, Fla.) and Fuller (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) finished fifth after a 22-20, 21-18 loss in 45 minutes to Argentina’s Santiago Etchegaray and Pablo Suarez.  

Van Zwieten and Fuller gained leads in both sets, but were unable to hold either advantage. They led 16-14 in the first and 14-11 in the second, but Argentina rallied and closed out both tightly contested sets.

The teams were tied in aces, 0-0, and in attacks, 31-31, but the Venezuelan team led in blocks, 7-0.

“They were a really consistent team,” Van Zwieten said. “We had leads in the beginning and middle of both games and we just let them get on a little bit of a run, made a couple of errors on our side in both sets and that was the difference.”

Van Zwieten said his team, which had only played one other tournament together, learned a lot at the Pan Am Games.

“(We gained) lot of experience playing in front of a large crowd and playing at the faster pace of the international game, which we don’t have in the States,” Van Zwieten said. “We learned a lot and we know what we need to work on.”

2011 Pan American Games
Beach Volleyball Results and Schedule  (all times CT)

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: Santiago Etchegaray/Pablo Miguel Suárez (ARG) def. Fuller/Van Zwieten (USA), 22-20, 21-18 (:45)
Women's Semifinals: Mayra Garcia/Bibi Candelas (MEX) def. Day/Hughes (USA), 21-12, 21-14 (:32)

Friday, Oct.21
Women’s bronze medal match: Day/Hughes (USA) vs. Yarleen Santiago/Yamileska Yantín (PUR), noon CT