Americans & Argentineans prevent European YOG sweep

Buenos Aires, Argentina, October 15, 2018 - A three-set quarterfinal win by Americans Devon Newberry/Lindsey Sparks followed by a victory by Argentina’s Bautista Amieva/Mauro Zelayeta here Monday prevented a sweep by European countries of the final four berths at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

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Women's teams from the European continent netted the first three semifinal berths Monday with quarterfinal wins by Claudia Scampoli/Nicol Bertozzi of Italy, Emilie Olimstad/Frida Berntsen of Norway and Maria Voronina/Mariia Bocharova of Russia over pairs from China, Thailand and Puerto Rico, respectively.

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On the men's side, Amieva and Zelayeta stopped the run of European quarte-final victories Monday after the pairs of Bence Streli/Artur Hajos of Hungary, Yorick de Groot/Matthew Immers of the Netherlands and David Ahman/Jonatan Hellvig of Sweden posted opening elite eight triumphs.
Seeded 16th in the women's 32-team field, Newberry and Sparks won their fifth-straight match at the second edition of the Beach Volleyball competition at the Youth Olympic Games Monday with a 2-1 (21-19, 17-21, 15-9) quarterfinal victory in 39 minutes over Daniela Alvarez/Tania Moreno of Spain.

In July, Newberry and Sparks finished fourth at the FIVB Under-19 World Championships where the American pair were defeated by Alvarez and Moreno 2-1 (10-21, 21-18, 15-12) in the 41- minute bronze medal match in Nanjing, China.

Newberry and Sparks will play fifth-seeded Scampoli/Bertozzi in the first semifinals Tuesday before 14th-seeded Olimstad/Berntsen challenge second-seeded Voronina/Bocharova, the reigning U19 world champions with a 12-match FIVB winning streak in 2018. 

The Italy-USA match will be the second this season between the two teams as Newberry and Sparks posted a 2-1 (23-21, 15-21, 15-11) victory in a 48-minute elimination match July 13 at the Nanjing U19 World Championships. While the Norwegians did not compete in Nanjing, Voronina and Bocharova won seven-straight matches enroute to the U19 title.

The men's semifinal pairings will have the third-seeded Ahman/Hellvig meeting 23rd-seeded Streli/Hajos in the first men’s semifinals with the ninth-seeded de Groot/Immers playing the top-seeded Amieva/Zelayeta in Tuesday’s final match.

In Monday's final quarterfinal match, Amieva and Zelayeta sent the host country home happy with a 2-0 (35-33, 21-14) win in 42 minutes over the over the 21st-seeded Bello twins (Joaquin and Luis) of Great Britain.  Like Newberry and Sparks, Argentina pair placed fourth at the FIVB U19 worlds after losing to Filip John/Lukas Pfretzschner of Germany in the Nanjing semifinals.

Mauro Zelayeta (left) dives for the Mikasa as Argentina partner Bautista Amieva follows the action against Great Britain.

Ahman and Hellvig won Monday's first quarterfinal match Monday by posting a 2-0 (21-17, 21-16) victory in 32 minutes over the 30th-seeded John/Pfretzschner, who placed second at July's U19 World Championships. The Swede and Dutch teams did not compete the Nanjing U19s while Streli/Hajos placed ninth.

Following Tuesday’s semifinal matches for men and women at Green Park in the Palermo district in the Argentinean capital, the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games concludes with the medal matches Wednesday.


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