Men's Olympic Games, Athens GREECE
From 14 August To 25 August 2004

Match Reports Pool F

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Gershon Rorich / Colin Pocock South Africa (No. 19-seeded team) def. Pavlos Beligratis / Thanassis Michalopoulos Greece (6) 21-16, 24-26, 15-10 (78 minutes)

           South Africa's Gershon RORICH and Colin POCOCK beat Greece's Thanassis MICHALOPOULOS and Pavlos BELIGRATIS 2-1 (21-16, 24-26, 15-10) in Pool F of the Men's Olympic Beach Volleyball tournament today.  The South African pair, who qualified second to last in the Olympic Qualification rankings, took a very early 5-0 lead in the first set. Although the Greeks quickly caught up at 5-4, the RORICH / POCOCK combination rallied to widen the gap again and maintained the difference until the end of the set.  The second set was a closer affair, with neither of the two opponents gaining more than a two-point advantage until 18-16. The South Africans made it 19-16, but allowed the Greeks to stay alive and tie the score at 20-20. With some spectacular defending, the Greeks finally forced the game into a tie-break at their fourth set-ball, when RORICH tried to tip, but the ball just rolled along the top of the net and dropped just wide.  Previously, RORICH / POCOCK had blown a total of four match-points.  RORICH / POCOCK took a quick three-point lead in the tie-break and kept MICHALOPOULOS / BELIGRATIS at bay, despite an injury sustained by RORICH at 11-8. The South Africans reached their first match-point at 14-9 and finished the match promptly at 15-10.  The continent of Africa is represented for the first time in the Olympic Games in Beach Volleyball since the sport was incorporated into the Olympic programme in 1996.  The result diminishes any aspirations the Greeks may have had of a berth in the Single Elimination Bracket, and allows the South Africans to keep up hopes for an unlikely entry to the top 16.  ONS cd/nkl 

Mariano Baracetti / Martin Conde Argentina (7) def. Luis Maia / Joao Brenha Portugal (18) 13-21, 21-16, 15-5 (55)

           Argentina’s Mariano BARACETTI and Martin CONDE scored an amazing comeback to edge out Portugal’s Miguel MAIA and Joao BRENHA 2-1 (13-21, 21-16, 15-05), in Pool F of the Men’s Olympic Beach Volleyball tournament.  MAIA and BRENHA, seeded 18th, stunned the 17th-seeded Argentineans when they came away with the first set.  But the South Americans, World Champions in 2001, found the way to come back in the second set, breaking away after 7-7, to lead at first with two points (9-7, 10-8) and then gradually widen the gap (12-9, 16-10).  The tie-break (the first so far in the Olympic Beach Volleyball tournaments) was a walkover, with Argentina gaining an early lead 5-1, which it never relinquished, widening it to 10-4 and 12-5.  BARACETTI and CONDE based their victory on better defending and more successful attacking.  Twice in the last two Olympic Games, MAIA and BRENHA played in the bronze medal matches but failed to get onto the podium. ONS cd/nkl 

Maia / Brenha Portugal (18) def. Beligratis / Michalopoulos Greece (6), 21-14, 21-19 (55)

           Portugal's Miguel MAIA and Joao BRENHA shut out Greece's Thanassis MICHALOPOULOS and Pavlos BELIGRATIS 2-0 (21-14, 21-19) in Pool F of the Men's Olympic Beach Volleyball Tournament.  After trailing 3-10, 6-15 and 9-18 in the first set, MICHALOPOULOS / BELIGRATIS tried to come back, narrowing the gap to 14-18. But the Portuguese responded with a kill by MAIA (19-14), a block by BRENHA on BELIGRATIS (20-14) and a final tip by MAIA (21-14).  The Greeks weren't discouraged, however, and with some good defending kept the pressure up until the end of the second set. But at 19-19 Portugal got the side-out with a kill by MAIA (20-19) and finished the match with a block by BRENHA on BELIGRATIS (21-19).  The result brings Portugal closer to a berth in the 16-team Single Elimination Bracket and leaves Greece with no hopes of qualifying for the next phase. ONS cd/nkl

Baracetti / Conde Argentina (7) def. Rorich / Pocock South Africa (19), 21-13, 21-15 (36)

           Argentina's Mariano BARACETTI / Martin CONDE, the 2001 World Champions, defeated South Africa's Gershon RORICH / Colin POCOCK 2-0 (21-13, 21-15), scoring their second victory in Pool F of the Men's Olympic Beach Volleyball Tournament.  The Argentineans led through most of the match and were never threatened by the South Africans.  BARACETTI / CONDE outplayed RORICH / POCOCK in all actions, finishing the match in a quick 36 minutes.  The victory brings Argentina to the top of the standings in Pool F, with four points.  ONS 

Brenha / Maia Portugal (18) vs. Rorich / Pocock South Africa (19)

Beligratis / Michalopoulos Greece (6) vs. Conde / Baracetti Argentina (7)





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