USA’s DeFalco/Richard bounce back to move into second round in Porto
The Polish pushed them hard though and played a very clean game. Macura’s great sets gave tall Kmiecek ample opportunities to hammer the ball to the sand, but it was not enough to win the match.
After winning one set each, the tiebreak was point-by-point till, at 7-7, an ace by DeFalco gave the Americans a two-point break. The Polish levelled again at 11-11 and at 13-13, but a great side-out by the Americans and a Polish netball decided the match.
“It definitely tested our mental strength”, said Richard. “But I thought we did a great job after the second game, regrouping and just settling down and executing in a very good way.”
“They are a really solid team as well”, DeFalco said. “They played smooth volleyball, it was tough, but it was also a lot of fun.”
It was a day, or rather a tournament, with lots of ups and downs, Richard confirmed. “Earlier in the tournament our chemistry was not quite good. We had a few things we had to work out, like on and off the court. We fixed it and it definitely showed. We were definitely a different team than before.”
DeFalco won the bronze medal at the U19 World Championships with Lucas Yoder last year, but has been struggling this week. “We had some trouble all over the court, playing different teams, different strategies of teams and we had the same one which did not work for all the teams.”
“All these teams have been great and they have been teaching us lessons”, he continued. “And we are very grateful for that. That’s why we have been progressing throughout the tournament.”
In the second elimination round on Saturday the Americans will play Brazil’s number one team Arthur/George Wanderly. “It will be a good fun match, they are definitely going to test us some more”, said Richard.
“I think as long as we keep up with what we are doing and getting better as we go we should be looking forward to that. Should be a good game.”