Aug. 13, 2008
BEIJING, China - The U.S. beach volleyball team of former Bruin Elaine Youngs and Nicole Branagh advanced to the round of 16 on Wednesday with a three-set victory over Cuba's Imara Esteves Ribalta and Milagros Crespo, 21-19, 13-21, 15-12.
Youngs and Branagh move on to the elimination round, which begins on Thursday at 7 p.m. against Cuba's Dalixia Grasset and Tamara Peraza.
The first set was a back-and-forth affair, with neither team leading by more than three points. With the U.S. squad down 13-12, they scored six of the next eight points to go up 18-15. The Cuban duo scored the next two points, but could not even things up, as Youngs recorded the set-clinching kill.
Youngs and Branagh led 4-2 early in the second set, but Cuba scored the next five points and didn't look back. Esteves Ribalta and Crespo's lead got to as high as nine before the eight-point victory.
The U.S. team trailed 4-3 early in set number three, but netted the next three points and never relinquished the lead. On match point, Youngs spiked down the game-winner to finish pool play undefeated.