Clipper Sports Editor
BOUNTIFUL — Bountiful native and two-time Olympian Jake Gibb will move on to the next round of the beach volleyball competition in the London Games, having beaten Latvia 2-0 (21-10, 21-16) to advance to the round of 16.
The win for Gibb and his teammate, Sean Rosenthal, gives the duo its second sweep in pool play following a 2-0 sweep over South Africa to open the Olympics Men’s Beach Volleyball event.
“We’ve done a lot of things really well,” said Gibb to NBC reporters following the team’s initial win over South Africa. “We accomplished a goal by getting here and played well enough today to get the win. We’ve done well so far.”
After Gibb and Rosenthal were swept by Poland in their second match, the duo came back strong Wednesday morning against Latvia in the straight-set win.
In the first set, which took just 17 minutes to complete, Gibb and Rosenthal won nine of the first 15 points to take a 9-6 lead. Latvia twice got the match to within two points in the first set, but Gibb and Rosenthal collected five straight points to lead 15-8.
The duo also took six of the final eight points, capped off by Rosenthal’s kill, to take the first set by 11 points.
The second set began with Gibb and Rosenthal taking a narrow 4-3 lead after alternating the first seven points with Latvia. Rosenthal’s ace gave the U.S. team a 10-4 lead that capped off a 6-1 run. Latvia was never able to rebound.
The closest the Latvian team came to tying the set was when the score was 15-13. Ruslans Sorokins of Latvia blocked two Gibb kill attempts, while Aleksandrs Samoilovs collected two service aces that raised the score from 14-10 U.S. to 15-13 U.S.
For the match, Gibb had 21 service attempts without a service fault and converted on 10 of 14 kill attempts with one dig. Rosenthal committed three service errors on 19 attempts, with 14 kills and nine digs.
The duo also took advantage of five service faults and eight total errors from the Latvian team. That led to the commanding victory.
So far, Gibb said that he and Rosenthal have started getting hot at the right time, crediting their new head coach Mike Dodd for their most recent success.
“He’s been the key to our turnaround,” said Gibb to NBC reporters. “He really put a lot of emphasis on our serving and aggressive hand setting and aggressive transition setting. We owe a ton to him.”
The round of 16 for men’s beach volleyball begins Friday, Aug. 3.
According to Olympic officials, the round of 16 will include teams from the preliminary round – the top two teams from each pool and the best two third-ranked teams.
The four remaining third-ranked teams play a two-match lucky loser round; the two winning teams in the lucky loser round also qualify for the elimination phase.
The winners of the semi-finals eventually go head-to-head for the gold.
For updates and more information about Gibb’s march toward a medal, visit davisclipper.com throughout the week.