U.S. Women's Beach Team Wins Opener
Sep. 11, 1999
SAN DIEGO (AP) _ A two-hour drive down the freeway for a major tournament sure makes life easier for the world's top young women's beach volleyball team.
Jenny Johnson Jordan and Annett Buckner Davis needed just 19 minutes to rout sisters Rebekka Kadijk and Deborah Schoon Kadijk of the Netherlands 15-1 Friday in the opening round of the Oldsmobile Alero Beach Volleyball Series, which is part of the inaugural U.S. Olympic Cup.
Their cheering section included Jenny's father, 1960 Olympic decathlon gold medalist Rafer Johnson.
This is the third stop in the Alero Series, designed to help young teams like Johnson Jordan-Buckner Davis face top teams on U.S. sand and make decent money to help defray the cost of competing internationally.
U.S. teams must play in a minimum number of Alero tournaments this year and next to be nominated into international tournaments, where they earn points toward qualifying for the Sydney Games.
Of the five Olympic Cup sports, only beach volleyball has prize money. The winning men's and women's teams each get $20,000 out of a $150,000 purse.
``It's a blessing for the American players not to have to travel 12 hours in a plane to get to international competition,'' said Johnson Jordan, who like her teammate is from the Los Angeles area.
Which is why Johnson Jordan and Buckner Davis, seeded No. 1 here, wonder why the men's Association of Volleyball Professionals, in a dispute with Alero organizers, would bar its two eligible teams from playing here. No AVP teams means no Karch Kiraly, who won the inaugural Olympic beach volleyball gold medal with Kent Steffes at Atlanta in 1996.
``If we're going to have a team win in the Olympics on the men's side, I think they need to play as much as they can,'' Buckner Davis said. ``I think they need to see the international guys, because that's who they're going to play once they get to the Olympics. I think it's sad they're not here.''
The U.S. teams that replaced the AVP teams of Kiraly-Adam Johnson and Dain Blanton-Eric Fonoimoana were quickly eliminated Friday with two losses apiece.
Overall, it wasn't a good day for the United States, which lost six of nine head-to-head matches with international teams. However, the United States is guaranteed at least one women's team in the medal round: either Johnson Jordan-Buckner Davis or the No. 3 duo of Lisa Arce-Barbra Fontana, who meet in the second round on Saturday.
Arce-Fontana scored an opening 15-7 win over Australia's Natalie Cook-Kerri Pottharst, the 1996 Olympic bronze medalists.
The top U.S. men's team of Robert Heidger-Kevin Wong beat Argentina's Esteban Martinez-Martin Conde 15-7 to advance to the second round.
The No. 2 American men's team of Sinjin Smith-Carl Henkel bounced back from a 15-10 loss to Canada's John Child-Mark Heese to eliminate the No. 4 USA team of Mike Mattarocci-Devin Poolman.
In a loser's bracket match, the No. 4 USA team of Linda Hanley-Nancy Reno eliminated the No. 2 American team of Liz Masakayan-Elaine Youngs 15-13.
In boxing, newly crowned world champion Brian Viloria of Honolulu stopped Russia's Ali Omarov at 1:56 of the third round to win the light flyweight gold medal. Referee Vasyi Kugayer halted the bout after Viloria concluded a series of body blows with a left hook to the kidney.
Viloria, 18, had an 18-4 edge in blows landed, including a hard right that forced Omarov to take a standing 8 count to end the first round.
``Now that I'm the world champion, it makes me feel I have to train even a little harder,'' Viloria said.
Three of the five U.S. boxers to reach the finals won gold medals in a competition limited to the eight lighter weight classes.
Flyweight Gabriel Elizondo, of San Antonio, Texas, used a strong finish for a 22-18 decision over Mexico's Daniel Ponce after trailing 16-5 starting the third round. Lightweight Mahlon Kerwick, of Spokane, Wash., scored an 18-13 decision over Russia's Makhach Nouroutdinov.
Bantamweight Clarence Vinson, of Washington, D.C., lost to Ukraine's Eduard Lutsker 11-9 and light middleweight Darnell Wilson, of Lafayette, Ind., fell to Ukraine's Sergiy Kostanko 17-12.
Ukraine took four gold medals to win the team championship.