SPORTS

Argentina sweeps Australia as in a father and son volleyball duel

07/29/2012 12:47 EDT | Updated 09/28/2012 05:12 EDT
LONDON - Father and son saved the hugs for afterward.

The opening day of competition in men's volleyball in the London Games featured an afternoon match between Australia and Argentina. Jon Uriarte coaches the Australians, while his son Nicolas is a setter for Argentina.

The younger Uriarte's team emerged with the victory on Sunday with a sweep of the Volleyroos, as they're known, 25-21, 25-22, 25-20.

Any acknowledgment of the familial bond between the two wasn't obvious.

Nicolas Uriarte was used only sparingly. During the pre-match warmups he slightly raised his hand in the direction of Australia's bench following the customary handshake between the opposing players.

But afterward Jon Uriarte put his arm around his son as they faced the post-match television cameras.

Jon Uriarte played 11 years for Argentina's national team and won a bronze medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

It is his second stint as Australia's head coach. He first joined the team in 2001, helping the Volleyroos qualify for the 2004 Athens Games. He was rehired by the team in 2011.

In between, he spent some time as head coach for his native Argentina.

His son Nicolas is a promising 22-year-old setter, voted MVP of the 2009 FIVB Junior World Championship.

Argentina is ranked No. 8 in the world by volleyball's international governing body. Last year the team qualified for the World League finals and finished fourth.

The Volleyroos are ranked No. 22 in the world. The crowd at London's Earls Court was clearly behind the underdogs.

The pair aren't the only father-son combination in the Olympic tournament. Brazil's Bernardo Rezende, known as Bernardinho, coaches his son, setter Bruno Rezende.

But they are used to playing together: Both Rezendes were also at the Beijing Olympics, where Brazil won the silver medal.

Top-ranked Brazil opens the London Games with Tunisia in the final match of the day. The Brazilians play in the same pool with the United States, the defending gold medallists , perennial powerhouse Russia, Serbia, Germany and Tunisia.

Argentina and Australia play in a pool with Italy, Poland, Bulgaria and host Britain.

The men's competition will alternate days with the women's in London, with men's medal matches set for Aug. 12. The top four teams from each pool advance to the quarter-finals.

In early matches on Sunday, Bulgaria swept Great Britain, 25-18, 25-20, 26-24. Russia also defeated Germany in straight sets, 31-29, 25-18, 25-17.

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