RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (July 19, 2007) –
Mexico came into the match with a 3-0 record after wins over Guatemala, Venezuela and Uruguay. With the height advantage of Candelas-Ramirez and the defensive skills of Garcia-Lopez, Mexico proved to be just too much for the U.S. pair.
Set one began with Mexico taking an early lead, up 4-0 before Akers crushed one down the center of the court to put the U.S. on the board. Mexico responded with a kill from Candelas-Ramirez and continued to roll, stretching their lead to 8-3. A kill by Akers and an ace by Niles-Hanson changed the tide and the U.S. cruised for four straight points, tying things up 8-8. Mexico took the next two points and kept the lead from there, rolling to a 21-18 victory over the U.S.
A kill by Akers put the U.S. on the board first in the second set. After a long volley, Niles-Hanson found a hole, giving the U.S. a 2-1 advantage. The lead was short-lived, as Mexico rallied back to score the next three points. A block by Akers tied things up at 5-5. From there, the set went back and forth with each team trading points until Mexico pulled away, leading 17-13. At that point, Akers and Niles-Hanson dug deep and battled their way back to a 19-19 tie, but Mexico bounced back, taking the next two points and the match, defeating the U.S. by a score of 21-19 in the second set.
Following the game, the U.S. duo was extremely frustrated at its early exit from the tournament.
“They played great and we didn’t show up,” Akers explained. “We were not ‘on’ tonight. We didn’t play sharp, didn’t take care of things on our side of the net, and we lost. It’s very disappointing.”
Akers and Nile-Hanson leave Rio with a 2-2 record. They lost to Brazil 0-2 in the opening round of pool play and defeated both El Salvador and Puerto Rico 2-0 before the 0-2 loss to Mexico.