American MVP’s enjoy the sand in Porto
After 2-0 wins over Zimbabwe and Austria they defeated local heroes Bernardo Martins and Francisco Pombeiro 21-14 21-18 on Friday. The second set was more of a point-by-point game in which Portugal more than once took a lead, but in the end DeFalco finished the match with two aggressive spikes.
“We started off slow and slowly found our game as it progressed”, DeFalco said. “The second game was closer, we made too many unforced errors and that’s what put it into more of a head-to-head game.”
It was the first time they played on the centre court in the Porto beach stadium. “The environment was a bit different. We just had to warm up and play our game and then it started working out better.”
The loud and rowdy fans of the Portuguese team did not bother them at all. “We are used to playing in big venues for indoor clubs”, Yoder said.
Yoder (18) and DeFalco (16) both play volleyball and compete in the national junior league. They have both been voted Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the U16 and U18 Junior Nationals.
Beach or volley
They combine volley and beach and have not made any decisions about their future yet. “I have been tossing back and forth”, DeFalco said. “I have played a lot of beach and indoor. I have not completely decided yet.” “I think they are both fun and they help each other”, Yoder said.
“The beach game helps my indoor and vice versa. You have to do every skill on the beach so in indoor that helps a lot. When you are in the back, you really have to read where they are going to hit and play a better defence.”
Both boys agree that their first beach volleyball trip abroad will help them in the future. “It’s definitely a good experience for a later career”, DeFalco said. “It’s a good warm-up for a possibly professional level later in life.”
But the tournament is not over yet and there are more challenges to come. “We had a good pool with good challenges and it was a good warm-up for the play-offs”, Yoder concluded.
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