COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 1, 2012)– The U.S. beach volleyball team of Jennifer Fopma and Brooke Sweat won three matches Friday to advance at the FIVB Seoul Women’s International Challenger in Korea.
Fopma (Bellflower, Calif.) and Sweat (Estero, Fla.), seeded No. 26 in Seoul, opened play Friday in the consolation bracket by defeating Kazakhstan’s No. 8 Irina Tsimbaloua and Tatyana Mashkova 21-14, 21-17 in 32 minutes.
In the next match, Fopma’s six aces and five blocks led the way to a 21-10, 21-12 victory in 33 minutes over Austria’s No. 16-seeded team of Elisabeth Klopf and Valerie Tuefl.
The U.S. pair’s match Friday was a high-intensity victory over Australia’s No. 20 Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancey 19-21, 21-17, 15-11 in 51 minutes. Sweat tallied 15 digs in the effort, and Fopma added five blocks.
Beach volleyball coach Jeff Alzina praised the great effort from both teams.
“They were a really good, young Australian team.” Alzina said via e-mail. “They were running 25-foot back sets across the whole court… lots of long rallies and layout digs. It was a well-played, high-energy match.”
Friday’s victories means Fopma and Sweat will finish no worse than seventh. The U.S. duo will look to further improve their standing Saturday when they face the German team of Teresa Mersmann and Cinja Tillmann (No. 24).
Christal Engle (Mar Vista, Calif.) and Tealle Hunkus (El Segundo, Calif.) were knocked out of Seoul by U.S. teammates Emily Day and Heather Hughes, 17-21, 18-21 in 37 minutes. They finish Seoul ranked 17th.
After defeating their U.S. counterparts, Day (Torrance, Calif.) and Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) defeated the Japanese team of Miwa Asao and Keiko Urata (No. 6) 21-18, 21-13 in 38 minutes. The next match, they fell to China’s Fan Wang and Yuan Yue 21-23, 21-17, 8-15 in 56 minutes.
Day and Hughes tallied 13 digs and six aces, but struggled passing and setting in the third set as wind speeds picked up from 0-20 mph. They finish their run at Seoul ranked ninth place.
“I'm very proud of all our players and their efforts.” Alzina said. “Our eliminated teams played well and learned a lot about FIVB events and their level of competition… They'll support Brooke and Jen as they take on Germany and strive for the medal stand this weekend.”