Aug. 11, 2008
BEIJING, China - 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.