Two U.S. Women's Teams In Losers' Bracket
Jul. 25, 1996
JONESBORO, Ga. (AP) _ Gail Castro and Deb Richardson today became the first Americans eliminated from the inaugural Olympic beach volleyball tournament.
Castro and Richardson, seeded third in the 18-team women's bracket, were ousted with a 15-11 loss to Japan's Sachiko Fujita and Yukiko Takahashi, the No. 8 seeds.
``It's very disappointing,'' Richardson said. ``We had expectations. We had a good bracket.''
Castro and Richardson and the U.S. duo of Linda Hanley and Barbra Fontana Harris both lost in Wednesday's second round of the double-elimination event, and were assigned losers'-bracket matches this morning.
Hanley and Fontana Harris responded with a strong performance, scoring 10 of the first 11 points in a 15-6 victory over Japan's Yukiko Ishizaka and Teruko Nakano.
``We've got an uphill battle,'' Hanley said, ``and we're ready to go.''
All three U.S. men's teams were victorious Wednesday at the Atlanta Beach volleyball complex, where the temperatures on the sand reached 121 degrees. The top U.S. women's team also won.
Sinjin Smith and Carl Henkel, the highest-seeded U.S. men's team, won 15-7 over Portugal's Luis Maia and Joao Brenha.
Mike Dodd and Mike Whitmarsh, who won the U.S. Olympic trials, were 15-10 winners over Australia's Julien Prosser and Lee Zahner.
Karch Kiraly, seeking to become the first U.S. player to win three Olympic volleyball gold medals, teamed with Kent Steffes for a 15-7 victory over Italy's Andrea Ghiurghi and Nicola Grigolo.
Holly McPeak and Nancy Reno scored the final 11 points for a 15-6 victory over Germany's Beate Buhler and Danja Musch.
Hanley and Fontana Harris blew an 8-5 lead against Brazil's Monica Rodrigues and Adriana Samuel, who rallied for a 15-10 victory Wednesday.
``Hopefully, this will just put us in a frame of mind of beating in the brains of whoever gets in our way,'' Hanley said.
Richardson said officials gave her and Castro incorrect information about what time to report for their match against Australia's Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst. They arrived with just a few minutes to spare, and their lack of warmup time showed as the Australians bolted to a 12-2 lead on the way to a 15-7 victory.
Kiraly led the U.S. indoor volleyball national team to Olympic gold in 1984 and 1988. He's 35 now and playing mostly against younger competitors. He knows this tournament likely represents his last shot at a gold medal.
``I've been somewhat distracted the last few weeks, and I was anxious to see how I'd react today,'' Kiraly said after he and Steffes dispatched Ghiurghi and Grigolo in 36 minutes.
``I feel nice and loose _ so far.''