Olympic Roundup - Monday, Aug. 11, 2008

Aug. 11, 2008

Women's Water Polo
Former UCLA standout Natalie Golda scored a game-high four goals to lead the U.S. team past host China, 12-11, in both teams' first game of preliminary play on Monday. The Americans took advantage of two late power-play goals, one from Kami Craig with 5:07 to play and another from Lauren Wenger about one minute later, to secure the victory. China hit the post twice in the final three minutes, helping the U.S. preserve a preliminary-round victory.

Golda scored the game's first goal, helped tie the contest 3-3 late in the first quarter and scored two goals in the second quarter - one to tie the game, 5-5, and another to hand the U.S. team a 7-6 lead. Goalkeeper Jaime Hipp did not play. The U.S. is coached by former UCLA water polo coach Guy Baker.

Team USA returns to action in a preliminary match against Italy on Wednesday, Aug. 13, at 12:40 a.m. (PT). Wednesday's match can be viewed live online at NBCOlympics.com and watched on television on NBC-4 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. (tape delayed).

Beach Volleyball
The U.S. beach volleyball duo of former UCLA All-American Elaine Youngs and Nicole Branagh improved to 2-0 in the Beijing Olympics with a 21-17, 21-16 victory over Stephanie Pohl and Okka Rau of Germany on Monday.

Youngs and Branagh jumped out to an early 6-3 lead in the first set, but Pohl and Rau netted five of the next six points to go ahead 8-7. The lead changed hands two more times and the German tandem had a 17-16 lead, but Youngs and Branagh scored the last five points of the set to score a 21-17 win. The comeback victory was nothing new for the U.S. duo, who recorded the final three points in both sets of Saturday's opening-round triumph to come from behind.

Youngs and Branagh fell behind early in set two, trailing 8-4, but came back to tie things at 8, 10 and 12 before taking their first lead of the set at 13-12. The U.S. team didn't trail from that point on, scoring four of the final five points to take it 21-16.

"We wanted to play better tonight because we didn't feel that we played our best volleyball against Netherlands (on Saturday)," said Youngs, who had 14 kills, one ace and six digs. "Nicole played so well tonight. I thought she carried us with her serving, with her defense and with her energy."

Youngs and Branagh finish up pool play on Wednesday against Cuba's Imara Esteves Ribalta and Milagros Crespo at 7 a.m. PT.

Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers, who are coached by former UCLA strength coach Bob Alejo, easily defeated the Swiss team of Patrick Heuscher and Sascha Heyer, 21-15, 21-10. They will next face Martin Alejo Conde and Mariano Joaquin Baracetti of Argentina on Wednesday.

Beijing Blogs
UCLA women's soccer head coach Jillian Ellis sends in an update after the U.S. team packed up to go to Shenyang for its final game in group play. Women's track and field assistant coach Jessica Cosby describes a basketball game she played against some Chinese athletes. Water polo player Natalie Golda describes the opening ceremonies, and Nicolette Teo talks about the difficulties in her race over the weekend. To read the entries, visit the Beijing Blogs page.

News Links
The Globe and Mail and Toronto Star have coverage of gymnast Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs after the preliminary all-around competition.

Coming Up

  • The USA softball team begins action Tuesday (9 pm PT Monday) against Venezuela. Four Bruins are on the softball squad - Andrea Duran, Tairia Flowers, Stacey Nuveman and Natasha Watley.
  • The USA men's water polo, featuring Adam Wright and Brandon Brooks, plays Italy on Tuesday (9:10 pm PT Monday).
  • The USA men's volleyball team takes on Italy on Tuesday (9:30 pm PT Monday). Bruin alumnus John Speraw is an assistant coach.
  • In tennis action, Mark Knowles and doubles partner Devin Mullings are scheduled to play the Bryan twins on Tuesday. The matches were delayed due to rain over the weekend. Also scheduled to play Tuesday is Marcin Matkowski, with his doubles partner Mariusz Fyrstenberg, against China's Xinyuan Yu and Shaoxuan Zeng.
  • Rower Mike Altman will be racing in the Lighweight Four Repechage on Tuesday at 2 am PT.
  • The U.S. and Canada both conclude group play on Tuesday at 4:45 am PT. The U.S., featuring assistant coach Jillian Ellis and forward Lauren Cheney, will play New Zealand, while Canada, featuring forward Kara Lang, plays Sweden.

    UCLA Health Sponsor - Event Information
    Saturday, Apr 02
    vs. San Jose State
    Los Angeles, CA
    W, 13 - 6
    Sunday, Apr 03
    vs. Redlands
    Los Angeles, CA
    W, 23 - 2
    Sunday, Apr 03
    vs. Pomona-Pitzer
    Los Angeles, CA
    W, 25 - 3
    Saturday, Apr 09
    at USC
    Los Angeles, CA
    L, 5 - 8
    Friday, Apr 15
    vs. Arizona State
    Los Angeles, CA
    W, 16 - 6
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    vs. Stanford
    Los Angeles, CA
    W, 9 - 8 (3OT)
    Friday, Apr 29
    at CSU Bakersfield
    Bakersfield, CA
    W, 10 - 3
    Saturday, Apr 30
    vs. Stanford
    Bakersfield, CA
    L, 3 - 6
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    vs. California
    Bakersfield, CA
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    vs. UC San Diego
    Los Angeles, CA
    W, 17 - 4
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    vs. Stanford
    Los Angeles, CA
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    vs. Michigan
    Los Angeles, CA
    W, 5 - 4