By Griffin O’Hara
SOFIA, Bulgaria – As round-robin play wrapped up and players began looking ahead to bracket play, the two U.S. beach volleyball pairs who competed Tuesday came out with a win and a loss.
No. 2 pair Dmitri Nikiforov and Steven Menegus played Uzbekistan’s Valeriy Litvinko and Evgeniy Semikin in the “Lucky Losers” bracket, with the winner qualifying for bracket play.
The Americans won in straight sets, 21-8, 21-9.
The match was “good. They came prepared and won,” coach Said Souikane said, adding that they “[had better] ball control, and the [other] team was not at the same level.”
Menegus seemed pleased about the result of the match and optimistic about the pair’s next match.
“It was good to get more reps,” Menegus said. “And our chemistry is getting better.”
Going into a potentially difficult upcoming match against the No. 1 Russia pair, Ekaterina Kireeva and Elizaveta Alexeeva, American Nancy Moore said she and Charity Sanders would continue the same philosophy they’ve had all along.
“Play sloppy and relax. [It’s] worked for us.”
It’s “easy to over-think,” Sanders said. “We’ve studied. Once the match starts, we’ll relax and have that information in the back of our heads.”
The Russians defeated Sanders and Moore in two sets, 21-14, 21-8.
On Wednesday, in round of 16 play, U.S. Men’s No. 1 duo Michael Bruning and Eric Vincent play Austria’s Bernhard Kurzmann and Benedikt Grath at 11 a.m. (4 a.m. ET); Nikiforov and Menegus face Mykola Tsapkalenko and Anton Koshkarov at 6 p.m. (11 a.m.); Sanders and Moore play Turkey’s Kezban Ates and Yeter Yalcin at 1 p.m. (6 a.m.); and women’s No. 1 pair Michelle Skowzgird and Shana Lehmann face Czechoslovakia’s Ivana Votipkova and Monika Teclova at 3 p.m. (8 a.m.).