Team USA Has Misfortunes In Nanjing Sand

Aug. 21, 2014, 1:13 p.m. (ET)

NANJING, China (Aug. 21, 2014) - Thursday was a tough day for Team USA at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, as both the men's and women's teams fell to Venezuela and Czech Republic respectively, on the fourth day of pool play.

Torey “T.J.” DeFalco (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Louis Richard (Redondo Beach, Calif.) couldn't stop the recent U19 Worlds bronze medalists Jose Gregorio ‘Tigrito’ Gomez and Rolando Hernandez of Venezuela from imposing their will on the court, as they were defeated in straight sets (17-21, 14-21).

The story went differently for Skylar Caputo (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Susannah “Zana” Muno (Sherman Oaks, Calif.). Up against Czech Republic’s Kristyna Adamcikova and Katerina Valkova, Caputo and Muno were caught up in a very close game and did their best to cope with the center court’s heat (89°F). The U.S. girls dropped the first set (13-21) but fought back in the second set (21-17). The Czech girls proved stronger however, and eventually won in a third-set tie-breaker (15-12).

“It was a slow start in the first set. We came back in the second, but they finished stronger than us,” Caputo said after the match.

“They played a great game. We were there. We were right with them the whole time. This is the worst kind of loss,” Muno confessed. “They just closed. This comes with experience, they have been playing together for a long time. This is only our first tournament.”

With one day remaining in the preliminary round, tomorrow’s matches will determine if Team USA moves on to the playoffs of the Youth Olympics tournament.

In the morning, Caputo and Muno will face Vietnamese pair Tu and Le at 9 a.m. (local time) while the boys will take on Austria’s Kratz and Pristauz-Telsnigg during the night session (8 p.m. local time).

“We just have to go and do it and give all we've got,” Muno explained. “We want to make it to the playoffs. From the moment we make it through to the playoffs, what happened before [in the Preliminary phase] doesn't really matter. It will be a new start.”

Richard said that he and DeFalco would try to put behind all the frustration and disappointment and look to improve, especially in defense, against Austria to keep their hopes alive.