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Venezuela takes early pool lead at the U19 World Championships

Venezuela's Jose Gregorio Gomez is out to better his 5th place
Porto, Portugal, July 30, 2014 - In a tough pool with teams from strongholds USA and Brazil, Venezuela’s Jose Gregorio Gomez and Rolando Hernandez boldly took the lead on the first day of main draw at the FIVB U19 World Championships.

‘Tigrito’ and ‘Peter’, as they call themselves, booked two straight wins over Peru’s Bramont/Arias-Heredia (21-9, 21-7) and home team Bernardo/Leite (21-10, 22-20).

“Things are turning out good for us so far”, said Tigrito. “From tactics to technical aspects. And thankfully we have been able to resolve the games in the best way for us.”

The 18-year old defence player finished 5th last year with Ronald Fayola. His new partner Peter is experiencing his first international beach volleyball tournament.

“We have been working together for a while now and my previous partner is too old for this championship now”, said Tigrito. “Now I’m here with him and we are preparing the Youth Olympic Games as well.”

“I am truly very thankful for this opportunity and so far, it has been a very good tournament”, Peter added. “There are so many strong teams but we have been working hard and we do what we can to get the far as possible. We really want to improve the fifth place that my partner achieved last year and hopefully to reach the finals.”

USA stumbles

In the same pool last year’s bronze medallist Torey DeFalco and his partner Louis Richard from the USA started the first day of main draw with a 2-0 (21-14, 21-19) loss against Brazilian qualifiers Gabriel Mussi Fichter and Jonas Paixao Fidelis.

“We played as hard as we could, but they are a great team. That’s what happened”, said DeFalco.

They did not hit level yet, said Richard. “We basically need to get used to each other, me getting a feel for him, he getting a feel for me. Once that happens I think we will be in pretty good shape.”

“It’s been about four months since we played together”, DeFalco explained. “We only got to train like a week before this. We had to come from pretty much nothing and try to get everything going.”

In their second match against Peru’s Bramont/Arias-Heredia things went smoother (21-16, 21-17). It was point-by-point in the beginning of each set, but halfway through the Americans took a deciding lead.

While DeFalco grabbed the bronze with Yoder last year at the U19, Richard did not get past qualification. “But it still was fun being able to support them and the rest of our team. It was still a good experience.”

According to DeFalco the level of the teams is as high as last year, if not higher. “There is new guys coming through the system. Guys we haven’t seen before, so it’s going to be a whole new game this year. I am really excited to start playing.”

Regarding the podium Richard said: “I think we have a good shot at it as long as we stick to our system and worry about us, and focus on our side of the court. We should be able to put in a good spot.”

Brazil’s Gabriel and Jonas won their second match, but gave away one set to Latvia’s Pavels/Kliemans (21-18, 16-21, 15-11), so Venezuela ended up on top.

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