Beach Diaries, Open (Brach) 8/25/11 pt2

Posted: August 27, 2011 02:46 PM

We ended our last day of pool play with a solid win against Belgium, a team whose members I've had the good fortune of getting to know and play with and against over the past month in my travels.  They came out hard, as we expected, despite the fact that the pools had already been more or less locked up - win or lose, we were slotted to finish in 2nd place, and the Belgians were slotted to take 5th, just one spot out of contention to advance to the quarterfinal round.
Our offense was cool and methodical - it really does seem that we're a team on the rise, ready to peak at the right time.  Our turnover total for the game was a measly 3 in a 13-6 win.  The final score belies how hard the Belgian squad played, though - at times, their offense seemed almost unstoppable, and their one deep stud, a youngish kid named Pieter, managed to sky a host of our top-tier club players.  So, good work all around there.
With a second place finish, we expected to enter our quarterfinal against Spain, the apparent third place finisher in Pool A, but as the evening wore on, it became clear that there was a wrinkle in the linen.  One team in the A Pool had used an ineligible player - actually, he made himself a fake player ID and played for two teams: the Ukraine open and the Russian coed squads.  Nobody caught this roster violation until after all the games had been played, and this left the tournament directors in a quandary: do they simply eliminate those ineligible teams going forward, or do they vacate all the teams' wins in all the games they played?  The question was not merely academic: because of the Ukraine's record (including losses to Spain and Austria but a win over Great Britain), removing their past history entirely would shuffle the standings in the middle of Pool A's pack, allowing GB to sneak up from 5th place and re-enter the top tier draw.  The TDs decided to let the earned records stand, which makes sense to me, but as often happens in the case of cheating, many people were left rather unhappy with the outcome.
The U.S. ladies took care of business and beat Canada by 3, leading to a three-way tie at the top of the women's bracket, which the U.S. won on point differential over GB.  This gave them the #1 seed going into elimination play.  As the U.S. mixed has remained unbeaten and the U.S. masters continue to look strong (to say nothing of mixed masters and grand masters), the whole U.S. contingent continues to play well, and we're all still positioned as the teams to beat.  That the path to gold continues to appear to run through us was very apparent in jersey trade night as well: everyone seemed to lust after the U.S. sublimated blues.  Trudy Philip and Chicken took particular advantage of this, setting up a Moroccan-style soukh and running deals that would have made Merv Griffin envious.
It's time to get focused for quarterfinals - knowing that we're in do-or-die mode, all of our players are, for the first time, split up and getting themselves psyched in their own individual ways.  Soon, the real test begins. 

Team USA Beach Diaries

Some members of Team USA will be submitting diary entries during the event to keep everyone posted on their experience in Italy.

  Grand Masters
Mixed Masters