| Torey DeFalco (above) and Lucas Yoder went 3-0 in pool play and advance into the elimination rounds.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 11, 2013) – All three remaining U.S. beach volleyball teams advanced from pool play on Friday at the FIVB U19 World Championships in Porto, Portugal.
No. 9-seeded T.J. DeFalco (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Lucas Yoder (San Clemente, Calif.) finished pool play with a perfect 3-0 record. In their last match in Pool H, DeFalco and Yoder defeated eighth-seeded Bernardo Martins and Francisco Pombeiro of Portugal, 21-14, 21-18. Earning first place in their pool, DeFalco and Yoder advance into the second round of elimination and will wait to find out their opponents.
“We started off slow and slowly found our game as it progressed," DeFalco said of their second match in an FIVB press release. “The second game was closer, we made too many unforced errors and that’s what put it into more of a head-to-head game.”
It was the first time they played on the center court in the Porto beach stadium. “The environment was a bit different. We just had to warm up and play our game and then it started working out better.”
The loud and rowdy fans of the Portuguese team did not bother them. “We are used to playing in big venues for indoor clubs," Yoder said.
In the girls’ bracket, the No. 29 team of Skylar Caputo (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Delaney Knudsen (Santa Clarita, Calif.) bounced back after two tough pool play losses, defeating No. 20 Lisa Casimie and Kerin Neptune of Saint Lucia, 21-6, 21-8. With a 1-2 record, Caputo and Knudsen finish in third place in Pool D and advance into the first round of elimination play. On Saturday they will take to the sand against No. 31 Benedicte Maaseide and Cecilie Woie of Norway.
In Pool G, No. 7 Sara Hughes (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Kelly Claes (Valencia, Calif.) won their first match of the day against No. 23 Roukeya Insa Garanke and Samira Abdou Hamadou of Nigeria, 21-0, 21-3. Hughes and Claes then dropped their second match to the 10th-seeded Swiss team of Nina Betschart and Nicole Eiholzer, 21-12, 21-13. Their 2-1 record puts Hughes and Claes in second place in their pool and advances them to the first round, where they will take on No. 14 Joy Stubbe and Marloes Hesselink of The Netherlands on Saturday.
The boys' team of DeFalco and Yoder play both beach volleyball and indoor and have not made any decisions about their future yet.
“I have been tossing back and forth," DeFalco said. “I have played a lot of beach and indoor. I have not comletely decided yet.”
“I think they are both fun and they help each other," Yoder said. “The beach game helps my indoor and vice versa. You have to do every skill on the beach so in indoor that helps a lot. When you are in the back, you really have to read where they are going to hit and play a better defence.”
Both boys agree that their first beach volleyball trip abroad will help them in the future. “It’s definitely a good experience for a later career," DeFalco said. “It’s a good warm-up for a possibly professional level later in life.”
But the tournament is not over yet and there are more challenges to come. “We had a good pool with good challenges and it was a good warm-up for the playoffs”, Yoder concluded.
The three rounds of elimination play conclude on Saturday. Semifinal and final matches will take place on Sunday.
For more information about the FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships, click here.