By Tim Hipps
U.S. Army Installation Management Command
RIO DE JANEIRO, July 20, 2011 – Team USA’s No. 1 men’s beach volleyball squad defeated Lithuania, 2-0, in their opening match of the 5th Conseil International du Sport Militaire Military World Games on Copacabana Beach here July 17.
Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer John Goings of Jacksonville, Fla., and Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Walden of Cape Maine, N.J., prevailed by scores of 21-11 and 21-12 over Andrius Cesnauskas and Tomas Vievesis.
Walden delivered nine aces on his 28 service attempts and Goings converted 12 of his 15 attack attempts as the U.S. duo soared to victory in 38 minutes.
Walden, 26, a Coast Guard firefighter from Virginia Beach, Va., cherishes being a member of the U.S. Armed Forces’ inaugural CISM beach volleyball team.
“It’s huge to be in Rio, the epicenter of beach volleyball outside the U.S.,” Walden said. “It’s the experience of a lifetime and a career highlight already.”
Team USA No. 1 will play the other five countries in their group and the top two teams will advance to the medal rounds.
“I think we have a pretty solid chance” Walden said. “The U.S. and Brazil, internationally on the pro tours, are the premiere teams. That should carry down into our lower levels. We have a pretty good shot against the other countries.”
Air Force Tech Sgt. David Dean of Duke Air Field, Fla., and Army Sgt. Gary Ang of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, will compete as the No. 2 U.S. men’s team.
On the women’s side, Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Kerry Karwan of Alameda, Calif., will team with Navy Lt. Cmdr. Lauren Nilsen of Stuttgart, Germany, as the No. 1 U.S. duo.
Coast Guard Lt. Mary Arvidson of Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, and Air Force 1st Lt. Brooke Cultra of Ramstein, Germany, will compete as Team USA’s No. 2 squad.
Beach volleyball will be played every day on Copacabana Beach throughout the games.