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“Prime” Pool Play Positioning

Indonesia's Mohammad Ashfiya (right) competes at the Nanjing net against Poland's Dominik Kmiecik in Thursday's Pool F match at the Youth Olympic Games.

Nanjing, China, August 21, 2014 - The last men’s match of pool play for the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics might be the best after teams from Indonesia and Venezuela each improved their group record to 4-0 here Thursday to set up a confrontation of unbeatens at 9 p.m. local time Friday.

With play resuming Thursday at the Beach Volleyball venue at the Nanjing Sports Park Complex after a “rest” day Wednesday for the men and women’s competitors, the teams of Mohammad Ashfiya/Rendy Licardo of Indonesia and Tigrito Gomez/Peter Hernandez of Venezuela posted Pool F wins in the morning over pairs from Poland and the United States, respectively.

The winner of the Indonesia vs. Venezuela match will also secure a “bye” for the first-round of the 24-team single-elimination play that starts Sunday with the brackets being determined at a Saturday morning technical meeting.  The loser of the match might still be awarded a “bye” as the two best second-place teams based on match wins, and set and point ratios will advance to the second-round of elimination.

“We are thrilled to be in position to challenge the Venezuelans for the pool title,” said the 17-year old Licardo after his team’s 2-0 (21-18 and 21-18) center court victory in 35 minutes over Dominik Kmiecik and Jakub Macura of Poland.  “The Venezuelans are one of the favorites in the competition, so we will have to play our best match to defeat them.”

The bronze medalists at the recently-completed FIVB under-19 world championships in Porto, Portugal, Gomez and Hernandez scored a 2-0 (21-17 and 21-14) win in 33 minutes over Torey DeFalco and Louis Richard United States.  The Venezuela win was achieved in front of the South American country’s vice sports minister Jose Teran.

“It will be a great match between two very good teams,” said Poland’s Dominik Kmiecik, “The Venezuelans were expected to be one of the favorites to medal in the competition and the Indonesians are one of the surprise teams.  The Indonesians are very quick and defend very well.”

Kmiecik and partner Jakup Macura, who are currently 1-3 in group play with their lone win over the United States entering Friday’s final match against Rwanda, dropped a 2-1 (15-21, 21-13 and 15-8) decision in 39 minutes to Gomez and Hernandez in their second match of the competition Monday.

The Poles are currently tied for fourth in the group with the United States tandem as Austrians Johannes Kratz and Moritz Pristauz-Telsnigg ranking third with a 2-2 mark.  Rwanda’s Elias Ndagano and Sylvestre Ndayisabye are last in the group with a 0-4 record after losing 2-0 (21-16 and 21-10) to the Austrians Thursday in 29 minutes.

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