USA Women Teams Dominate U23 Worlds Heading Into Final Phase

By Tyson Rodgers | June 13, 2014, 5:07 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 13, 2014) – It was a perfect day in the sand for the U.S. women’s beach teams competing at the FIVB Beach Volleyball U23 World Championships in Myslowice, Poland, as all three teams clinched their respective pools.

Kelley Larsen (Jamul, Calif.) and Betsi Metter (Phoenix, Ariz.) continued their dominance at the U23 Worlds after they defeated No. 24 Viktoryia Shalayeuskaya and Siakretava Viktoryia of Belarus 21-14, 21-17 to extend their Pool A record to 5-0. The pair advanced directly to the second round of the knockout stage. Larsen/Metter are set to square off against No. 21 Giada Benazzi and Agata Zuccarelli of Italy, who finished third in the Pool D standings and defeated a pair from Denmark in the first round.

Sara Hughes (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Kellie Woolever (Long Beach, Calif.) also extended their undefeated pool-play streak on Friday, booking a 21-17, 21-18 win against Mexico’s No 35 pair of Gloria Santoyo and Frida Lopez. The USA tandem will face No. 27 Sophie Bukovec and Tiadora Miric of Canada in the second round of the knockout stage on Saturday. The Canadian duo finished third in Pool C standings and won it’s first-round match against a Netherlands duo.

The partnership of Lara Dykstra (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Jace Pardon (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) breezed through their Pool E match on Friday, downing No. 17 Elizaveta Sulima and Dar’ya Udovenko of Ukraine 21-14, 21-9. Dykstra/Pardon will go against Brazil’s No. 10 Eduarda Lisboa and Carolina Maxima in the second round of knockouts, who finished runner-up in Pool C and swept its first-round match against Belarus.

On the men’s side, Alex Jones (Sunnyvale, Calif.) and Kyle Stevenson (Santa Monica, Calif.) lost their final Pool A match on Friday to Canada’s No. 24 tandem of Greg Simone and Gabriel Burlacu 21-19, 21-17. The duo, which finished Pool A with a 2-3 record, was later knocked out of the U23 Worlds after falling to Norway’s No. 10 pairing of Lars Fredrik Tvinde and Hendrik Nikolai Mol 21-15, 21-15 in the first round of single eliminations.

Rounds two and three of the knockout stage will conclude on Saturday with the semi-finals following on Sunday to crown a champion.