Day Three ends in second loss for Men’s Volleyball, Other Team USA Sports

Day three in Samsun handed Team USA the second loss for Men’s Volleyball. Cycling and Swimming also experienced challenges reaching the medal standings, while Golf placed in the qualifying rounds to move into the second round.

Judy Nelson reports for Men’s Volleyball:
Team USA Men’s Volleyball played Ukraine on Friday, July 21st, at Mustafa Daglistani Sports Hall. A crowd gathered to cheer on the teams – a small but mighty group of Americans, a large section of Ukraine supporters and many, many local fans who have enthusiastically embraced the games and the spirit of the Deaflympics. Team USA Women’s Volleyball had a day off from play and also came to root for their American counterparts.
The US began their 3rd match of the preliminary round with a combination of experienced players and those who joined the team last summer at the 2016 Pan Am Games and World Championships at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. In the beginning of the 1st set, both teams played well, but Ukraine began to pull ahead. The US men struggled to shut down the strong Ukraine offense. Despite their best efforts, the US was defeated 25-15.

Ukraine continued their strong, consistent play in the 2nd set. The US again was challenged by their tight offense. Ukraine was victorious with the score of 25-10. Despite the numbers on the scoreboard, the US men came back fired up for the 3rd set. But Ukraine again dominated the play and took the set and match win with a score of 25-8. Play was difficult today and defeat is never easy. The fans in Samsun cheered as each American team member demonstrated his own exceptional skills and showed exactly why these talented athletes have been selected to represent our country!

The men will meet Russia 3:00 p.m.

On the other side of town, Cycling held the Individual Time Trial Finals in which John Klish competed in the 50km time trial while Nixo Lanning did the 35km. Both put in their best efforts, however both were feeling out of sorts.

John felt “flat”, meaning no power in his legs. His heart was responding well but his legs just wouldn’t churn. So he ended up finishing it to his body’s best capability and came in 25th out of 42 riders.

Nixo had a rough start, feeling similar to John till the turnaround point. After the turn around, she felt another wave and was able to complete it faster than her way out. She came in 14th out of 14 riders, only 7 seconds behind the next rider! She finished well for her first international cycling competition with only 3 months of training due to an injury.

Sunday is the road race.

Team USA Emily Massengale Breaks 36-Year-Old American Deaf Record in the 100 Backstroke

Reported by Rene Massengale This third day of the 2017 Deaflympics was the second day of swimming which included the Women’s 50 Freestyle, Men’s 100 Breast, the Women’s 100 Backstroke, Men’s 400 Individual Medley, and the Women’s 100 Butterfly in addition to the Men’s 4 x 200M Relay.

Elizabeth Cocker and Emily Massengale qualified for semifinals in the 50 freestyle. In the semifinals, Elizabeth swam a 28.54 for 10th place and Emily Massengale swam a 28.34 to place 9th just out of the top eight. The top 8 advance to finals. Both athletes had career best swims in this event!

The Women’s Backstroke Final was swum less than 10 minutes after the Women’s 50 Freestyle Semifinal due to broadcasting schedules. Despite the short rest, Massengale dropped another 1.38 seconds in finals to place 5th just behind Danielle Joyce of Great Britain. Massengale’s time of 1:07.16 broke the 36 year-old American Record of 1:08.51 set by Laura Barber in 1981.

The Men’s 4×200 Relay of Matthew Hopkins, Tyler Brown, Matthew Zou, and Matthew Klotz dropped almost 13 seconds from the morning swim to place 8th with a time of 8:27.52. What a great drop for the relay! That included a 10-second drop from his best time for Matthew Hopkins.

Women’s 50 Freestyle Semifinal

Emily Massengale, 28.34, 9th place

Elizabeth Cocker, 28.54, 10th place

Women’s 100 Backstroke Final

Emily Massengale, 1:07.16, 5th place**New American Record

Men’s 4 x 200M Relay Final

Matthew Zou, Tyler Brown, Matthew Hopkins, Matthew Klotz, 8:27.52, 8th place

Michael Finneran reported for Golf: Today’s weather at Samsun golf course was ideal for golfing with a full sun and light wind. 19 male golfers minus two from Ghana who unfortunately could not get their visas in time, and 7 female golfers started competing for the qualifying rounds towards match play which commence on Sunday.

Allen John of Germany, who won the world deaf golf championship in Denmark last year, shot two under par 68. WDGC 2nd placePaul Waring of Great Britain shot one over par 71. The sole American representative Mike Finneran completed the round with an 80 and placed 6th. He missed few short putts and made some mental mistakes, but was able to advance to the second round on Saturday. The best 16 scores for men will be eligible to compete in the match play.

In the women’s, Diksha Dagar set a course record for women at Samsun golf course with 68 followed by American Kaylin Yost who shot 3 over par with 73. Kaylin birdied twice in last three holes and lost one ball and two three putts which hurt her total score. Andre Hjellegjerde of Norway was 9 strokes behind with 82. All the women will advance to the match play.


Team USA Tennis competed in the Round of 16 Mixed Doubles event. Amanda Wu of Great Neck, NY and Christopher E. Daniels of Los Angeles, CA faced India’s No. 1 mixed double team seeded No 4 in that MX event.

The first server was India’s Prithvi Sekhar [13th seed in the Men’s Singles] who won the first game. The next game was won by server Christopher Daniels, who is very involved in the varied program under the Southern California Tennis Association. The next two servers, India’s Shaik Jafreen and Amanda Wu, won the third and fourth game respectively. Then servers repeated winning games until the India team broke Wu’s serve and forced a tiebreaker. India won the first set, 7-6.

A few silly mistakes caused USA losing three games in early in the second set. India called for a medical time out and rallied to win the match. The final result was 7-6, 6-2.

The USA tennis team will have one match on Saturday, July 22. Amanda Wu will face No. 3 seeded Jana Janosikova of Slovakia in the Women’s Singles at 2 pm.