Olympic Beach Volleyball: Gibb, Rosenthal Win Fast, Win Pool
B.J. Hoeptner Evans, USA Volleyball
The U.S. men's beach volleyball team of Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal ensured they would advance to the next round of the 2012 Olympic Games with a 21-10, 21-16 victory in 37 minutes over Latvia's No. 16 Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Ruslans Sorokins (2-0) on Tuesday the Horse Guards Parade venue.
Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.), who are seeded No. 4 in the tournament and are competing in their second Olympic Games after finishing fifth in Beijing, won Pool D with a 2-1 record ahead of Poland's No. 9 Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel (2-1) and also Samoilovs and Sorokins (2-1). All three teams had 2-1 records and five points. Gibb and Rosenthal won the tiebreaker, which is points ratio (1.337).
Teams will have to wait for the completion of pool play on Thursday to find out whom they will play in the next round. The first round of single-elimination play will begin on Friday.
The team was relieved to be through to the next round after a loss to Fijalek and Prudel on Sunday.
"We're feeling good. That was a big win for us," Rosenthal said. "Poland played great the other night. We didn't play our best game, but they played great so it made us not as good. It's hard to sit there for two days and think about a loss and try to fix it. Normally we get to get out there a few hours after."
Gibb and Rosenthal scored 16 points on Latvia errors while committing only eight.
The U.S. team also led the match in kills (24-15), aces (2-1) and digs (10-7). Rosenthal had 14 attacks and nine digs for the U.S. Samoilovs and Sorokins led in blocks, 2-0, with Sorokins having both.
"We just tried to keep our spirits up," Gibb said of having to wait a day after Sunday's loss. "It's hard to swallow for two days, to be honest with you. It just made us hungry."
Gibb and Rosenthal were leading 6-5 in the first set when the Latvians suffered three straight errors to put the U.S. men ahead 9-5. Latvia pulled to within two at 10-8. But Gibb scored with an attack followed by three straight Latvian hitting errors and an ace from Rosenthal to give the United States a 15-8 lead. Latvia managed to score only two more points as the U.S. cruised to the first-set win.
"What can I say? We lost," Samoilovs said. "They played really well, especially Sean Rosenthal. He was a superman on defense."
Gibb and Rosenthal streaked to an 8-3 lead in the second set Rosenthal had four attacks in the run while Gibb had one. Latvia never closed the gap to fewer than three points. Gibb and Rosenthal reached match point at 20-16 and won on a Gibb spike.
In men's Olympic beach volleyball action on Thursday, Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) will finish pool play on Thursday against No. 14 Petr Benes and Premysl Kubala at 9 p.m. local time (1 p.m. PT).
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