Four U.S. Beach Teams Reach NORCECA Semis

Oct. 05, 2013, 11 p.m. (ET)

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (Oct. 5, 2013) – The United States is guaranteed to win at least two medals on Sunday  when it will send four teams to the men’s and women’s semifinals at the NORCECA Beach Circuit event at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista.

Kaitlin Nielsen attacks
  Kaitlin Nielsen reaches for the ball as partner Sarah Day watches
  during their quarterfinal match on Saturday in Chula Vista.

In the men’s semifinals, which begin at 9:30 a.m. PT, John Hyden and Tri Bourne (Aiea, Hawaii) will play Puerto Rico’s Hector Soto and Roberto Rodriguez while Theo Brunner (Ridgefield, Conn.) and Nick Lucena (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) will play Michael Plantiga and Cameron Wheelan of Canada.

In the women’s semifinals, which begin at 10:30 a.m., Lane Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Heather Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) will play Mexico’s Martha Revuelta and Bibiana Candelas. Sarah Day (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Kaitlin Nielsen (Santa Rosa, Calif.) will play Mexico’s Itzel Santoyo and Stephanie Burnside in the other.

Following the semifinals, the men’s bronze medal match will be at noon, the women’s bronze medal match is at 1 p.m. The men’s final will be at 2 p.m. and the women’s final at 3 p.m. All semifinal matches are free and open to the public at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

Both U.S. women’s teams have 4-0 match records and have not dropped a set.

In Saturday’s quarterfinals, Carico and Hughes defeated Canada’s Claudia Seguin and Brandie Wilkerson, 21-13, 21-13. Hughes and Carico are 4-0 in matches and 8-0 in sets. Carico said the team is challenging itself to improve rather than concentrating on opponents.

“We’re definitely focusing on ourselves and we’re setting goals for ourselves going into each game so it doesn’t really matter as much who our opponent is,” Carico said.

Hughes added that the team is working on “serving aggressively as a team and just communicating to each other about who is doing what.”

Day and Nielsen also had an easy quarterfinal, defeating Costa Rica’s Karen Cope and Natalia Alfaro, 21-13, 21-12.

“We’ve ironed things out this tournament,” Day said. “We’ve really been focusing on our side of the net this tournament to make sure that we are able to create our own points.

“It has been a challenge both on the other side of the net as well as just figuring out ourselves. It’s a new partnership so we’ve got a lot of stuff on our side that we’re focusing on.”

In the men’s quarterfinals, Hyden and Bourne defeated the Canada-A team of Ryan Vandenburg and Andrew Hinchey, 21-10, 21-12. Lucena and Brunner topped Costa Rica’s Julio Alvarez and Diego Alpizar, 21-9, 21-16.

Pool A: CAN-A d CAY 2-0 (21-16, 21-15), PUR d CRC 2-1 (17-21, 21-10, 15-10). Pool B: USA-A d HON 2-0 (21-76, 21-8), MEX-B d ESA 2-0 (21-17, 21-11). Pool C: MEX-A d CRC 2-0 (21-13, 21-10), GUA d SKN 2-0 (21-12, 21-12). Pool D: DOM d GUA 2-1 (21-19, 19-21, 15-8), USA-B d CAN-A 2-0 (21-10, 22-20)
Quarterfinals: MEX-B d PUR 2-1 (13-21, 21-15, 15-12), USA-B d CRC 2-0 (21-13, 21-12), MEX-A d DOM 2-0 (21-13, 21-14), USA-A d CAN-A 2-0 (21-13, 21-13).

Pool E: MEX d NCA 2-0 (21-14, 21-12), GUA d ISV 2-0 (21-11, 21-18). Pool F: LCA d PUR 2- 1 (17-21, 21-19, 15-13), CAN-B d ISV-A 2-0 (21-15, 21-11). Pool G: CAN-A d DOM 2-0 (21-14, 21-12), CRC d USA-C (forfeit). Pool H: USA-A d TTO 2-0 (21-12, 21-7), USA-B d HON 2-0 (21-13, 21-16)
Quarterfinals: USA-A d CAN-A 2-0 (21-10, 21-12), CAN-B d MEX 2-1 (17-21, 21-17, 16-14), USA-B d CRC 2-0 (21-9, 21-16), PUR d GUA 2-0 (21-13, 22-20)

Kaitlin Nielsen attacks