U.S. Qualifies Team for Youth Olympics

Dec. 09, 2013, 10 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 9, 2013) – USA Volleyball qualified for a position at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games on Sunday when the U.S. beach volleyball team of Suzanne (Zana) Muno and Sarah Sponcil won the NORCECA Central Zone Girls’ Qualification Tournament in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.

Zana Muno dives for the ball as Sarah Sponcil watches
   Zana Muno dives for the ball as Sarah Sponcil watches.

Muno and Sponcil went 6-0 in the tournament and defeated Canada’s Megan and Nicole McNamara in Sunday’s final, 21-19, 19-21, 16-14.

On the boys’ side, the U.S. team of Louis Richard and Torey (T.J.) DeFalco finished second. USA Volleyball will have another opportunity in March to qualify for a boys’ spot at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China (Aug. 16-28).

In the boys’ final, Richard and DeFalco fell in the final to Canada’s Jake MacNeil and Andrew Richards, 17-21, 26-24, 15-12.

For the girls, Sponcil was delighted with her experience in Puerto Rico.

“It was a great experience and we liked the environment,” Sponcil said. “It is the first time we have been in a qualification tournament and we decided to leave everything on the court. We really never thought about the score.”

In the girls’ semifinals, Muno and Sponcil defeated Puerto Rico’s Lina Bernier and Eva Torruella, 29-27, 21-16.

In the boys’ semifinals Richard and DeFalco beat Puerto Rico’s Sergio Figueroa and Luis Delgado, 21-13, 21-14. The U.S. team finished with a 3-2 record.

Canada’s Richards was impressed by Richard and DeFalco in the final.

“The match was even out there and could have gone either way,” Richards said. “They are a great team and I wish them good luck in the next round so they can also get the chance to go to the Games.”