Olympic Roundup - Friday, Aug. 15, 2008

Aug. 15, 2008

Women's Soccer
The U.S. defeated Canada, 2-1, in overtime to advance to the semifinals. U.S. sub Natasha Kai scored the game-winner on a diving header in the 101st minute. Lauren Cheney made her Olympic debut, entering the game in the 109th minute. In just 11 minutes of play, she recorded two shots that each missed just wide. Canadian forward Kara Lang started and played all 120 minutes and had one shot on goal.

The U.S. will next face Japan in the semifinals on Monday, Aug. 18 in a rematch of an earlier Group play game that the U.S. won, 1-0. The semifinal game will be televised live on MSNBC at 6 am PT.

Incoming freshman Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs recorded the second-best all-around finish in Canadian Olympic history, finishing 16th in the all-around finals with a mark of 58.375. Only UCLA aluma Kate Richardson finished higher, with a 15th-place showing in 2000. Hopfner-Hibbs' best scores came on the uneven bars (15.425, seventh-best mark of the night) and vault (14.875).

Click on the following links to watch Hopfner-Hibbs' routines: Beam (0:10:45 mark) | Floor (0:30:00 mark) | Vault (1:02:30 mark) | Bars (1:38:40 mark)

Women's Water Polo
Former UCLA standout Natalie Golda scored a game-high three goals to pace the U.S. women's water polo team past Russia, 12-7, in both teams' final preliminary-round match. The victory over Russia (0-3), the No. 3 ranked team in the world, helped propel Team USA (2-0-1) into the semifinals, where the Americans will await the winner of Sunday's Australia-China quarterfinal contest. The Americans beat Italy (2-0-1) in a tiebreaker to win Group A.

Golda, who scored four goals in Team USA's opening match against China, registered three goals on five shot attempts against the Russians. Former UCLA goalkeeper Jamie Hipp recorded one save in her first appearance of the 2008 Olympics. The U.S. women's team is led by former UCLA head coach Guy Baker.

Team USA's semifinal match will take place Tuesday, Aug. 19 in Beijing. Game time is slated for either Monday, Aug. 18 at 11:20 p.m. (PT) or Tuesday, Aug. 19 at 12:40 a.m. (PT). The semifinal match can be viewed live online (www.nbcolympics.com) and watched on NBC-4 (tape delayed) on Tuesday, Aug. 19 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

UCLA women's rowing assistant coach Mark Hunter and teammate Zac Purchase became the first lightweight British crew to qualify for an Olympic final, placing first in the semifinals of the lightweight double sculls with a time of 6:29.56. The British crew will race in the Finals on Sunday, Aug. 17.

Mike Altman and the U.S. lightweight fours crew finished sixth in their semifinal with a time of 6:16.30 and did not qualify for Sunday's Final A. The U.S. will instead race in the Final B on Saturday, Aug. 16.

Natasha Watley hit her second home run of the Olympics in Team USA's 7-0 win over Japan and Andrea Duran had a pair of RBI in an 8-1 comeback victory over Canada.

The U.S. is now 4-0 in pool play and will next face Chinese Taipei at 9 p.m. Friday PT (12 p.m. Saturday Beijing time).

In game one against Japan, Watley staked Team USA to a 1-0 lead with a leadoff home run in the top of the first. Tairia Mims Flowers reached in all three plate appearances, singling and drawing two walks while scoring a run. Duran went 0-for-1 with a walk in two at-bats.

In the second game against Canada, which was halted by rain a day earlier, play resumed with the U.S. trailing 1-0 in the fourth. The score remained that way until the Americans rallied for four runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to win it in a rout. Duran capped off Team USA's scoring with a two-run single in the top of the seventh. Watley was 1-for-3 with a run scored, while Flowers and Stacey Nuveman were also in the starting lineup.

Beach Volleyball
The U.S. beach volleyball team of former UCLA All-American Elaine Youngs and Nicole Branagh easily swept Cuba's Dalixia Fernandez Grasset and Tamara Larrea Peraza on Thursday night in 38 minutes, 21-15, 21-13.

Youngs and Branagh will face China's Chen Xue and Xi Zhang in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 7 p.m. PT (Sunday at 10 a.m. Beijing time).

Youngs and Branagh lost the first point of the first set, but then scored the next two and never trailed for the rest of the match. Up 4-3, the U.S. team scored four in a row, with two of the points coming on a Youngs kill and ace. The Cuban team got to within two points a few times, but could get no closer. Leading 15-13, Youngs and Branagh scored six of the final eight points to win 21-15.

The second set was a wire-to-wire victory for Youngs and Branagh. The Cubans were tied at six and seven, but could not take the lead. Towards the end of the set, Youngs and Branagh were up 17-13 and scored the last four points to win it 21-13.

Track & Field
Bruin alum Jonathan Williams, who competes for Belize, ran 49.61 out of lane eight in heat one of the 400m hurdles. Williams was fourth in his heat and 16th overall, qualifying him for the semifinal round, which will be contested at 6:24 am PT on Saturday morning.

Suzy Powell-Roos posted a first round throw of 190-4 in the preliminary rounds of the discus but will not advance to the medal final. She finished the competition 15th in her flight and 26th overall.

Photo Gallery
View photos of Bruins in action Friday in softball, beach volleyball, women's soccer, men's rowing and women's water polo HERE

News Links

  • Water polo player Natalie Golda uses her strength to her advantage
  • Canadian gymnast Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs ends one chapter of her gymnastics career
  • Assistant rowing coach Mark Hunter is hunting Olympic gold

    Coming Up

  • The U.S. men's water polo team continues preliminary-round play against Croatia on Friday, Aug. 15 at 9:10 p.m. PT.
  • The U.S. softball team will face Chinese Taipei at 9 p.m. Friday PT (12 p.m. Saturday Beijing time).
  • Mike Altman and the U.S. lightweight fours will race in the Final B on Saturday, Aug. 16.
  • In track and field action, Jonathan Williams races in the semifinals of the 400m Hurdles on Saturday, Aug. 16 at 6:24 am PT.
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