Youngs and Branagh Sweep Cuban Duo, Advance to Quarterfinals

Aug. 15, 2008

BEIJING, China - 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.

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