U19 Beach Teams Reach 2nd Round

By BJ Evans | Aug. 01, 2014, 8:31 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 1, 2014) – Two U.S. beach teams have advanced to the second round of single elimination at the FIVB Under-19 World Championships in Porto, Portugal.

The U.S. girls’ team of Zana Muno (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) and Christian Jones (Lakewood, Calif.), seeded No. 4 in Pool D, finished pool play on Friday with a loss to Czech Republic’s No. 9 Kristyna Adamcikova and Katerina Valkova, 12-21, 21-19, 15-12. The U.S. team advanced to the first round of single elimination where it defeated No. 26 Viktoryia Shalayeuskaya and Siakretava Viktoryia of Belarus, 21-14, 21-18.

On Saturday, Muno and Jones will play Lithuania’s No. 30 Simona Vaiciukynaite and Urte Andriukaityte in the second round.

The U.S. boys’ team of T.J. DeFalco (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Louis Richard (Redondo Beach, Calif.), seeded No. 4 lost their final pool match to Venezuela’s No. 9 Jose Gregorio Gomez and Rolando Hernandez (21-10, 21-10), which set them back to third place in the pool.

They bounced back with a 21-18, 13-21, 15-13 win over Poland’s No. 10 Dominik Kmiecik and Jakub Macura in the first elimination round.

After winning one set each, the tiebreak was point-by-point until, at 7-7, an ace by DeFalco gave the Americans a two-point break. The Polish leveled again at 11-11 and 13-13, but a great side-out by the Americans and a Polish netball decided the match.

“It definitely tested our mental strength,” Richard said in an FIVB press release. “But I thought we did a great job after the second game, regrouping and just settling down and executing in a very good way.”

“They are a really solid team as well,” DeFalco said. “They played smooth volleyball, it was tough, but it was also a lot of fun.”

It was a day, or rather a tournament, with lots of ups and downs, Richard confirmed. “Earlier in the tournament our chemistry was not quite good. We had a few things we had to work out, like on and off the court. We fixed it and it definitely showed. We were definitely a different team than before.”

DeFalco won the bronze medal at the U19 World Championships with Lucas Yoder last year, but has been struggling this week. “We had some trouble all over the court, playing different teams, different strategies of teams and we had the same one, which did not work for all the teams.

“All these teams have been great and they have been teaching us lessons,” he continued. “And we are very grateful for that. That’s why we have been progressing throughout the tournament.”

In the second elimination round on Saturday, the Americans will play Brazil’s No. 14 Arthur Diego Mariano Lanci and Geroge Souto Maior Wanderley.

“It will be a good fun match, they are definitely going to test us some more,” Richard said. “I think as long as we keep up with what we are doing and getting better as we go we should be looking forward to that. Should be a good game.”