Tara Roenicke and Summer Ross capped off a dominating run at the Australian Olympic Youth Festival Sunday afternoon Sydney time, sweeping the Australian duo of Mariafe Artacho and Zina Stone 21-17, 21-9 to capture the gold medal in girls beach volleyball.
Roenicke and Ross didn’t lose a game in their run to the gold, winning all 10 of them en route to the championship.
“We had a goal of coming over here and not losing a game,” Roenicke said. “We felt pretty good about how we matched up with all of these teams and we did it. I’m so excited right now I don’t know what to do.”
Roenicke called me on the tram in Sydney en route to watch the U.S. boys soccer team, which plays Australia in the gold medal game of that event. To get their gold medals, Roenicke and Ross toughed out a tight first game before turning it on in game two.
“Once we got that first game, I think they gave up a bit,” Roenicke said. “It was so exciting. With every point I was just sitting there thinking ‘Just one more.’ It’s an unbelievable feeling and I really don’t even know how to act right now.”
The third time in an international event was certainly the charm for Roenicke. She’s competed the last two summers in the Under-19 World Championships in Poland and The Netherlands, respectively. She didn’t receive a medal in those events, but the experience she obtained in those events definitely paid off.
“I felt real confident going into the gold-medal game,” Roenicke said. “When I competed in Poland (in 2007), the team I was on was able to beat that team. I have a different partner, but I had a good feeling about this match coming in. I felt if we could beat Norway (in the semifinals) we’d have a good shot.”
Roenicke, the United States’ flag-bearer in the opening ceremonies, will hang out in Sydney for the closing ceremonies before flying back to Los Angeles on Tuesday and heading back to Los Osos Wednesday. And even though the resulting jet lag – Roenicke leaves Sydney Tuesday afternoon Australia time and arrives in Los Angeles Tuesday morning California time – will cause her to spend most of Tuesday adjusting, Roenicke knows the first thing she’s going to do.
“I’m hanging up my gold medal in my room,” Roenicke said.