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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (July 17, 2007) –
Brooke Nile/photo US Volleyball
After losing 21-10, 21-16 on July 16 to host and favorite Brazil, the U.S. tandem (1-1) rebounded with a strong performance to stay in contention for the playoffs. Akers and Niles Hanson face Puerto Rico (0-2) on July 18 at 3 p.m., and a victory most likely would send the duo into the quarterfinals set to start July 19. Brazil (2-0) plays El Salvador (1-1) on July 18.
“We have not seen Puerto Rico play yet, so we will be going into the match blind,” Niles Hanson said. “I know they will be athletic and strong, and I expect that they will compete well against us. For us, we will focus on our side of the net and every touch on our side.”
Niles Hanson totaled 14 points against El Salvador with 11 kills on 16 swings to go with an ace and block. Akers added 11 kills on 15 swings and two aces. As a team, the U.S. produced 22 kills on only 31 attacks. In contrast, El Salvador tallied seven kills on 31 attacks.
“Angie serve was tough, and that allowed me to play up front and block,” Niles Hanson said. “Normally I am not a blocker.”
The U.S. raced to a 4-1 advantage to open the match, then parlayed a 6-1 spurt including four Niles Hanson kills into an 11-5 score. The U.S. used a second 6-1 run with two kills and an ace from Akers to forge ahead 19-9 en route to the 21-11 score.
Team USA left little doubt as to the outcome early in the second set by rolling to a 9-0 start on Niles Hanson’s serve. Akers scored four kills in the opening nine points of the second set, while her teammate contributed two kills and ace. Holding its nine-point lead at 14-5, the U.S. closed out the match by scoring seven of the last nine points as Akers totaled four kills in the run.
“We wanted to put pressure on every point,” Niles Hanson said. “We wanted to start strong and finish strong. On the AVP Tour, we have had the habit of getting the lead but giving it up at the end.”
Playing under the lights with the 8 p.m. start during the Brazilian winter was a rare occurrence. The tandem has played under the lights together just one other time, that being during the AVP season.
The women’s beach volleyball competition consists of 16 teams each competing in round robin pool play with four teams, quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. Pools A (Men) and E (Women) consist of seeds one, eight, nine and 16. Pools B (Men) and F (Women) consist of seeds two, seven, 10 and 15. Pools C (Men) and G (Women) consist of seeds three, six, 11 and 14. Pools D (Men) and F (Women) consist of seeds four, five, 12 and 13.
The quarterfinals and semifinals will be played with single elimination with July 19 quarterfinals matches of Pool E winner versus Pool H second-place finisher, Pool H winner versus Pool E second-place finisher, Pool F winner versus Pool G second-place finisher and Pool G winner versus Pool F second-place finisher. Semifinals follow on July 20 and the championship on July 21 at 7 p.m. ET.
Angie Akers: 11 kills, 15 attacks, 0 blocks, 2 aces, 2 digs
Brooke Niles Hanson: 11 kills, 16 attacks, 1 block, 1 ace, 3 digs
Team: 22 kills, 31 attacks, 41 serves (2 aces, 5 faults), 1 block, 5 digs
El Salvador Stats
Ivonne Soler: 2 kills, 11 attacks, 0 blocks, 0 aces, 0 digs
Laura Molina: 5 kills, 20 attacks, 0 blocks, 0 aces, 0 digs
Team: 7 kills, 31 attacks, 19 serves (0 aces, 3 faults), 0 blocks, 0 digs
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images