The No. 2 U.S. women's beach volleyball team of Brooke Sweat and Lauren Fendrick have been eliminated from the Olympics on the final day of preliminaries, but the top American men's team advanced after an extra-long victory over Italy.
The United States now has one men's and one women's team playing for medals. April Ross and three-time gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings wrapped up pool play with a perfect record on Wednesday.
Sweat and Fendrick lost to Russia's Ekaterina Birlova and Evgenia Ukolova in three sets: 21-18, 26-24, 15-13. Fendrick and Sweat are first-time Olympians.
The top U.S. women's team of Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross has already advanced to the knockout round with a 3-0 record in pool play. The No. 2 men's team was eliminated after going 1-2 and losing the playoff tiebreaker.
The top men's team of 2008, gold medalist Phil Dalhausser and his partner, Nick Lucena, were 2-0 heading into their final match on Thursday night, and they made it a perfect 3-0 in qualifiers, beating Italy's Nicolai/Lupo in three sets.
The Americans won 21-13, 21-17, 24-22 on Thursday night to finish unbeaten in group play. The third set in a beach volleyball match is supposed to be up to 15 — but the team has to win by 2. The Italians fought off a half-dozen match points before the Americans nailed it down.
They'll wait for the drawing of lots to find out their opponent in the round of 16.
Dalhausser has played the Italian duo before -- Nicolai/Lupo defeated Dalhausser and then-partner Todd Rogers in the Round of 16 at the London Games.