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).
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.
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.