Team USA has dominated beach volleyball since it was introduced at the Olympics in 1996. But the defending champion men's beach volleyball squad of Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser fell on Friday, 21-17, 21-19 in the round of 16, to Italy's team of Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai.
The Italians, often compared to the Rogers/Dalhausser team that won gold in Beijing, outmaneuvered and outplayed the U.S., but only marginally. Italy withstood a run late in the second set, but led from 8-7 onward in the second set, and converted its first match point.
"Those guys are a good team. They could very well end up with a medal," Rogers told NBC's Heather Cox in a post-match interview.
The loss means the U.S. will not medal in beach volleyball despite having two of the top four seeds entering the competition.