RIO DE JANEIRO — Team USA was given a scare in beach volleyball preliminaries on a chilly Wednesday night in Rio, but still managed to win the game and its pool.
Kerri Walsh Jennings lost a set for only the second time in her Olympic career, but Team USA won its third match of Rio Olympics pool play, 2-1 (21-13, 22-24, 15-12) against Switzerland’s Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Verge-Depre.
The three-time Olympic gold medalist last dropped a set to Austria in the 2012 London Games, back when she teamed with Misty May-Treanor. Now partnered with April Ross, Walsh Jennings kept her 24-match Olympic winning streak alive against a strong Swiss side.
After breezing through the first set, the teams played a 27-minute second set that saw them knotted at 21 apiece before Forrer and Verge-Depre managed to pull ahead.
The third set was a tight one, with the Swiss actually moving ahead 9-8. But that’s when Forrer, the veteran Swiss player, suffered a neck injury diving for a ball, causing a delay of several minutes. When the match resumed, the Americans eventually got it to 12-10 and didn’t give up the lead.
In the end, it was Walsh Jennings and Ross embracing in victory, as their opponents sat on the damp sand, seeing a chance for a monumental upset slip away.
Although it appeared Walsh Jennings did give Forrer a little neck checkup after the match:
Was it a frustrating night for the Americans? Perhaps. One of their mantras is not to judge the result, but judge their own efforts.
“My goal with April is to be at our best, every single match. We don’t think of the end result, we just know how we want to play, how we want to feel out there. If we do that, I think it’s going to be wonderful,” Walsh Jennings said before the tournament.
The Round of 16 in beach volleyball begins Friday at Copacabana.
Listen to Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski podcast from Rio on GRANDSTANDING, featuring beach volleyball’s April Ross: