|Heather Hughes, left, and Kaitlin Sather Nielsen.|
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 26, 2013) – Both U.S. beach teams competing in the FIVB Beach Volleyball Anapa Open, held in Anapa, Russia from July 23-28, have advanced to the next round of competition.
The team of Heather Hughes (Torrance, Calif.) and Kaitlin Sather Nielsen (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) finished the day going 3-0 in the elimination rounds. Seeded No. 27, they won their first match against 18th-seeded Cindy Treland and Janne Pedersen of Norway, 21-14, 21-14. In their second match, against Argentina’s fifth-seeded Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug, Hughes and Nielsen won a 10-21, 21-10, 15-13 battle. The third match saw Hughes and Nielsen defeat No. 12 Irina Chaika and Ekaterina Syrtseva of Russia, 16-21, 21-17, 15-12.
Hughes and Nielsen have never played in an FIVB semifinal before. Nielsen had never even played in an FIVB tournament or overseas before traveling to Anapa.
"It feels really good, but it's very overwhelming," Nielsen said in an FIVB press release.
Hughes and Nielsen earned a spot in the semifinals and will face off against the tournament’s first-seeded duo, Russia’s Evgenia Ukolova and Ekaterina Khomyakova, on July 27. The finals matches will occur on the same day.
The men’s duo of Will Montgomery (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Avery Drost (Hawthorne, Calif.) won its final pool play match, improving to a 1-2 record in Pool D. Montgomery and Drost, seeded No. 29, defeated the No. 20 Swiss duo of Jonas and Gabriel Kissling, 21-16, 22-20. This nabbed them third place in the pool and a spot in the first elimination round. Montgomery and Drost will take on Ukraine’s No. 5 Popov Sergiy and Valeriy Samoday on July 27.
All three men’s elimination rounds will be completed on the same day. Semifinal and final matches will wrap up the tournament on July 28.
For more information on the Anapa Open, click here.