CHULA VISTA, Calif. (Oct. 6, 2013) – U.S. teams ran the table on Sunday at the NORCECA Beach Circuit event at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, sweeping gold and silver medals in both the men’s and women’s brackets.
| From left, Roberto Rodriguez, Hector Soto, Theo Brunner,
Nick Lucena, Tri Bourne and John Hyden on the medal stand.
In the women’s gold medal match, Lane Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Heather Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) defeated compatriots Sarah Day (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Kaitlin Nielsen (Santa Rosa, Calif.), 21-12, 21-17. In the men’s final, Theo Brunner (Ridgefield, Conn.) and Nick Lucena (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) held off a challenge from John Hyden and Tri Bourne (Aiea, Hawaii) to win, 21-19, 17-21, 15-12.
The victory was the second straight NORCECA title for Carico, who also won on Sept. 22 in Puerto Rico with Sara Hughes. Carico and Heather Hughes went 5-0 in matches in Chula Vista and 10-0 in sets. Carico said the team got better throughout the tournament.
“I think we kept our game totally consistent at the end whereas at the beginning it was up-and-down,” Carico said.
“It definitely gives us confidence,” Hughes added. “It gives us a boost for St. Lucia where we are going next week.”
In the women’s semifinals, Carico and Hughes defeated Mexico’s Martha Revuelta and Bibana Candelas, 19-21, 21-19, 15-12. Day and Nielsen beat Mexico’s Itzel Santoyo and Stephanie Burnside, 21-15, 21-14.
In the men’s bracket, Brunner and Lucena finished with a 5-0 match record and 10-1 in sets. Lucena hoped the win would set the team on a better course for the final tournaments of the season.
| From left, Bibiana Candelas, Martha Revuelta, Lane Carico, Heather
Hughes, Sarah Day and Kaitlin Nielsen smile on the medal stand.
“I’m hoping to finish the year strong and playing well with Theo,” Lucena said. “Theo has only been playing a couple months and he’s getting better every tournament. This is a good tournament for us because we’ve had two bad tournaments in a row.”
After Brunner and Lucena won the first set, they fell behind Bourne and Hyden in the second set, 10-3 and went on to lose 21-17.
“I figured it would go three. We didn’t play well in the second set and they made a lot of plays,” Lucena said. “We just got lucky in the third set, to tell you the truth. They’re a good team.”
In Sunday’s men’s semifinals, Brunner and Lucena beat Canada’s Michael Plantiga and Cameron Wheelan, 21-16, 21-18. Bourne and Hyden defeated Puerto Rico’s Roberto Rodriguez and Hector Soto, 21-18, 21-15.
The NORCECA Beach Circuit will move on to St. Lucia on Oct. 11-13.
Semifinals: USA-A d MEX-A 2-1 (19-21, 21-19, 15-12), USA-B d MEX-B 2-0 (21-15, 21-14).
Bronze: MEX-A d MEX B 2-0 (21-15, 21-17). Gold: USA-A d USA-B 2-0 (21-12, 21-17)
Semifinals: USA-A d PUR 2-0 (21-18, 21-15), USA-B d CAN-B 2-0 (21-16, 21-18).
Bronze: PUR d CAN-B 2-1 (21-19, 17-21, 15-12). Gold: USA-B d USA-A 2-1 (21-19, 17-21, 15-13)