By Chris Kaftan
SOFIA, Bulgaria – The men’s and women’s beach volleyball teams came away with a split in the win-loss column Sunday at the National Sports Academy in Sofia.
Nancy Moore and Charity Sanders worked to put together a seamless 2-0 (21-19, 21-13) victory against Greece.
“They were aggressive on defense, going after balls, making digs, and keeping the momentum,” coach Dyan Kovacs said. “Charity made several good kills that were the result of excellent passing.”
“We had good teamwork today,” Moore said. “We continued our mantra of ‘play sloppy, relax, and have fun,’ and it worked.”
Also in morning competition, Dmitri Nikiforov and Steven Menegus defeated their Austrian opponents, 2-0 (21-10, 21-9).
“They played very well today, consistently on top of everything during the match,” said Said Souikane, the men’s team coach. “They prepared well the night before and had an excellent game plan set up.”
The afternoon teams had it tougher, though.
Shana Lehmann and Michelle Skowzgird faced a Lithuanian team that won silver at the recent beach volleyball deaf world championships.
Despite losing 0-2, the pair played well.
“The score doesn’t indicate it, but Shana and Michelle really did play well for a team that just started practicing together six months ago,” Kovacs said.
While their coach was optimistic, Lehmann and Skowzgird were not.
“We weren’t happy with our performance,” Skowzgird said. “We know we can do better, and we will.”
Teammates Michael Bruning and Eric Vincent also faced a tough Ukranian pair, considered among the best in the world, and lost, 0-2 (21-16 and 21-15).
“They didn’t pass well today,” Souikane said. “Mike and Eric made more errors than their opponent.”
“I’m a little frustrated at how we played today,” Vincent said. “Things didn’t go the way we wanted, but we will work on things.”
However, “I’m definitely confident we will see them again later in the Deaflympics,” he added.
All teams play again Monday. Bruning and Vincent play at 9 a.m.; Lehmann and Skowzgird, at 10 a.m.; Nikiforov and Menegus, at 11 a.m.; and Moore and Sanders, at 7 p.m.