USA Volleyball Features Two beach teams lead...

Two beach teams lead pools, one at breaking point for lucky loser

By Corinne Calabro | Aug. 09, 2016, 12:31 p.m. (ET)

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena rolled to a sweep of Mexico, 21-14, 21-17, in the heat of the day at Copacabana Beach on Tuesday. Later in the evening, Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat dropped a two-set match against the top ranked women's team from Brazil.

Dalhausser and Lucena, seeded third at the Olympics, are 2-0 in their pool and have one match remaining in pool play, against Italy on Thursday. Fendrick and Sweat drop to 0-2 and will play Rusia on Aug. 11 in a fight for third.

U.S. BEACH NEWS | USA AT THE OLYMPICS | 2016 U.S. OLYMPIC BEACH VOLLEYBALL TEAM | USA SCHEDULE

FENDRICK/SWEAT LOSS BRAZIL | 21-16, 21-13
Up against the top seed of their pool and the highest women's seed at the Olympics, Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat lost their second pool play match, 21-16, 21-13, to Brazil's Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca.

"I feel like we're slowly getting better," said Sweat. "This is the best team in the world. We just didn't take care of our side of the net. We had some ups and downs; we just never steadied out. We had some big plays, but just not enough of them."

Despite training in the first set, 12-9, the duo battled to hold off dropping the set but ran out of time, 21-16. Fendrick and Sweat opened the second frame trailing 6-3 but held the opposition from running away with it, 16-12.

At 18-13 Brazil challenged a net touch and won the call, boosting their lead to 19-12. They went on to beat the Americans, 21-13.

"As far as the game goes, we've got to steady out our side," Fendrick said. "We have to stop giving up so many runs of points. But there's moments of greatness there, we've got to capture that and have that connection more often."

The pair face Russia on Aug. 11 at 2:30 p.m. ET in the final match of their pool. At stake are two spots automatically advancing for the top two teams in each pool. Among the third-placed team in each pool, the top two of those six will automatically advance leaving four teams to battle for two spots in the lucky loser round. The lowest placed team in pool play will be eliminated.

Fendrick and Sweat are 2-2 against Ekaterina Birlova/Evgenia Ukolova, their last matchup being June 8 of this year, the Americans winning 24-22, 14-21, 20-18.

DALHAUSSER/LUCENA DEF MEXICO | 21-14, 21-17
Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena improved their record against the Olympic field to 36-15 with their win against Mexico's Lombardo Ontiveros/Juan Virgen on Tuesday. The series between the two teams is now tied 2-2 and more importantly, the victory gives Dalhausser/Lucena a leg up in Pool C, with a 2-0 record.

In the first, the U.S. jumped to an early 8-5 lead and continued to hold the cushion all the way until topping it off at 21-14. A run in the second set saw the pair go ahead 11-8 to force a Mexico timeout. Dalhausser and Lucena kept their momentum coming out of the break, 15-11, and though Mexico put up a fight late in the set, 18-16, it was the Americans who closed the set and match, 21-17.

"Our strategy worked, our game plan," said Dalhausser. "We could have won with a bigger margin, but they saved so many points. That's their game. They're so scrappy and they saved a lot of points. They make you earn every single darn point. Nothing comes easy with them."

Dalhausser and Lucena play next on Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. ET against No. 10 Daniele Lupo/Paolo Ciolai of Italy, a team they hold a 2-1 record against.

"I think possibly 20 teams could medal here because its so deep," said Dalhausser. "I think almost every team except Cuba and Tunisia has medaled in a tournament at some point in their career. And Cuba doesn't play the World Tour, if they did, they'd definitely – they're really good. They beat Pedro and Evandro [Brazil] – if they did, they would definitely medal. There's a lot of teams with a chance."

On Aug. 10, April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings (2-0) play their final pool play match at 8 p.m. ET against Switzerland's Forrer/Verge-Depre. Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson (1-1) still have a chance to win their pool, when they close their final pool match against Spain's Herrera/Gavira at 10 a.m. ET.

ABOUT POOL PLAY
After pool play, the top two teams in the pool will advance to the Round of 16. Of the third-place finishers in each pool, the top two of those six will advance, based on match points, then by set ratio. The four remaining third-ranked teams in each pool will play a two-match lucky loser round (3rd ranked vs 6th ranked; 4th vs 5th), with the winners advancing to the round of 16. The fourth ranked team in each pool will be eliminated. Click here for details about pools.

ELIMINATION BRACKET PROJECTION
Should Ross/Walsh Jennings win Pool C on Wednesday, they'll be at the top of the bracket, seeded with one of the top two third-ranked teams in the pools, three second place finisher in the pools, first place in Pool F (Australia or Netherlands), a lucky loser team and first place in Pool B (Spain or Brazil).

DAY IN REVIEW
2016 Olympic Games | Aug. 9
- Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena beat Mexico 21-14, 21-17, to tie the series at 2-2 after the win. They lead Pool C with a 2-0 record.
- Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat lost to No. 1 Brazil Larissa/Talita, 21-16, 21-13 and now need a win against Russia to ensure a chance at the lucky losers matches.

UPCOMING MATCHES | Add to your schedule
Aug. 10, 10 a.m. ET Gibb/Patterson vs Spain
Aug. 10, 8 p.m. ET Ross/Walsh Jennings vs Switzerland
Aug. 11, 2:30 p.m. ET Fendrick/Sweat vs Russia
Aug. 11, 3:30 p.m. ET Dalhausser/Lucena vs Italy

RESULTS
Aug. 6, Gibb/Patterson def QAT 21-16, 21-16
Aug. 6, Ross/Walsh Jennings def AUS 21-14, 21-13
Aug. 7, Fendrick/Sweat loss POL 14-21, 21-13, 15-7
Aug. 7, Dalhausser/Lucena def TUN 21-7, 21-13
Aug. 8, Gibb/Patterson loss AUT 21-18, 21-18
Aug. 8, Ross/Walsh Jennings def China 21-16, 21-9
Aug. 9, Dalhausser/Lucena def Mexico 21-14, 21-17
Aug. 9, Fendrick/Sweat loss Brazil 21-16, 21-13