Aug. 12, 2008
The United States softball team got off to a great start to the Beijing Olympic Games, posting an 11-0, five-inning victory over Venezuela on Tuesday. Andrea Duran had a successful Olympic debut, going 2-for-3 with three RBI, while Natasha Watley hit her first-ever Olympic home run.
Watley went 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs batted in, while Duran scored twice and reached in three of her four plate appearances. All four Bruins on the Olympic team were in the starting lineup for Team USA, with Watley at short, Duran at third, Stacey Nuveman at catcher and Tairia Mims Flowers at first base. Nuveman went 1-for-3 with a run scored and picked off a runner, while Flowers drew a walk in three plate appearances.
Duran scored the first run of the game for the U.S., leading off the second inning by getting hit by a pitch. Nuveman followed with a single to move Duran to third and Lovie Jung plated Duran to put the United States ahead 1-0. Watley extended her team's lead to 3-0 with a two-run homer to left-center.
In the third, Duran collected her first Olympic base hit with a single to left. She would drive in her first-ever runs one inning later with a bases-clearing double, eventually coming around to score her second run of the game.
The United States, three-time defending gold medalists, next faces Australia, 2004 Olympic silver medalist, at 9 p.m. PT on Tuesday. Australia lost its opening match to Japan, 4-3. Tanya Harding did not play in the game.
Mike Altman and the U.S. lightweight double sculls crew finished third in its repechage to qualify for Thursday's semifinal. Ireland won the race with a time of 6:21.79, with the Netherlands placing second with a time of 6:25.25. The U.S. recorded a time of 6:27.43.
The U.S. and Canada each booked a spot in the quarterfinals after group play but will have to face each other on Friday, Aug. 15 at 3 am PT. The game will be broadcast live on USA Network.
The U.S. won Group G after a 4-0 victory over New Zealand, coupled with Norway's stunning 5-1 loss against Japan. The U.S. and Norway each finished with six points, but the U.S. won the tiebreaker on goal differential. Canada finished third in Group E after a 2-1 loss to Sweden but advanced as one of the two best third-place teams in the tournament.
Kara Lang played all 90 minutes for the Canadians and had four shots, two on goal. Lauren Cheney did not play for the U.S.
Men's Water Polo
Former UCLA standout Adam Wright registered one goal and one assist to help lift the U.S. men's water polo team past Italy, 12-11, in both teams' second preliminary contest Tuesday at the Ying Tung Natatorium. Italy nearly recovered from a 12-9 deficit in the final seconds, but an errant Italian pass during a 6-on-5 opportunity in the game's final seconds sealed the victory for the Americans. Jeffrey Powers led Team USA with three goals, and Tony Azevedo added two goals. Brandon Brooks did not play.
In first round action, the Polish doubles team of Marcin Matkowski and Mariusz Fyrstenberg defeated China's team of Xinyuan Yu and Shaoxuan Zeng, 6-3, 6-4. Mark Knowles and Devin Mullings of the Bahamas fell to the top-seeded team of Bob and Mike Bryan of the U.S., 6-2, 6-1.
The U.S. improved to 2-0 with a 3-1 (24-26, 25-22, 25-15, 25-21) victory over Italy. The U.S. leads Group A with four points and will next face Bulgaria on Aug. 14 at 10 pm Beijing time (7 pm PT on Wednesday). UCLA alumnus John Speraw is an assistant coach for the U.S.
View photos of the Bruins in competition from Aug. 9-12 in the Olympic Photo Gallery