Aug. 14, 2004
By CHRIS DUNCAN
AP Sports Writer
ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Americans Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs skipped the opening ceremony to get some extra rest for their first Olympic beach volleyball match.
They found out Saturday night what a smart decision that was.
McPeak and Youngs, seeded No. 4, cruised past 21st-seeded Norwegians Susanne Glesnes and Kathrine Maaseide 21-14, 21-14 under the lights at the Olympic Beach Volleyball Centre.
Instead of staying up late to participate in the three-hour festivities Friday night, McPeak and Youngs turned in early after watching their opponents on TV marching in the parade of nations.
"I was like, 'All right, they're going to have tired legs tomorrow,"' said McPeak, the sport's all-time winningest female player. "It was nice to get a good night's sleep while everybody else was out until 3 a.m."
Glesnes and Maaseide won the first two points, then lost the next five and never led again.
"Everything we tried to do, they had an answer," Glesnes said.
The Americans kept the Norwegians off-balance by attacking early in possessions - going for points on their second shots rather than using the normal bump, set and spike method.
"It's not easy to defend. A lot of teams don't practice it," Youngs said. "It's hard to practice if you don't even do it yourself."
Youngs finished the first set by tapping a shot over Maaseide at the net. The Norwegians trailed 5-4 in the second set when Youngs and McPeak had consecutive kills to start a decisive 11-5 run.
"We're a confident team, which means we're a scary team," Youngs said. "We're clicking on all cylinders."
McPeak became the first United States player to play in all three Olympic Beach Volleyball competitions.